Commentary: So you think you want a progressive school board?

What you thought your school board was going to do and what they are actually doing are two different things.


You weren’t like your conservative friends. You were enlightened. You weren’t racist or  transphobic. You were taught inaccurate history, and you want your kids to know the truth. America is a systemically racist country. You didn’t want to ban books. You scoffed at your friends when they pulled their kids out of public school. They’re not letting their kids experience the real world. Besides, your kid’s teacher and school were great.

You thought that outrageous stuff your conservative friends talked about was just that: talk. Of course, you wanted safe schools, and you didn’t want kids to be bullied. That’s what this was all about. It wasn’t an agenda.

You thought your conservative friends were heartless. They didn’t care about black kids or trans kids. You wanted a school board that looked out for all kids: a progressive school board.

You were all for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). You even had a Black Lives Matter sign in your yard. And you totally bought into social-emotional learning (SEL). Who doesn’t want their kid to be kind to others and the world around them?

You were making the world a better place for all kids.

But something’s wrong. State test scores are the lowest they’ve been in years, and now more kids, including your own, are not proficient in math and reading than are. You remember reading somewhere that 75 schools in the state have zero kids proficient in math.

What you thought your school board was going to do and what they are actually doing are two different things. You and your friends thought public school behavior and standards are the same as they were when you were there. But they’re not. You realize you’ve been misled by progressive ideology — that sounded good — but actually hurts your kid.

You got your first inkling something might be wrong from something your kid said. Something about a kid having a bad day and the teacher taking the class outside. You dismissed it at the time. But your kid has become depressed and moody, so you decide to find out why.

Then you see an article in a local paper written by incumbent school board members who are “concerned about the avalanche of unreality” some candidates are spewing. You notice two of the authors, Bianca Virnig and Avonna Stark, are far left progressive operatives. The other authors, Tamara Grady, Lucy Payne, Curtis Johnson and Michelle Pettyway, are all progressive members of school boards who have ignored parents as they voted in social policies that don’t improve academic performance. They say in the article that CRT isn’t in schools, but you now know that’s a play on words. There’s no curriculum or textbook called CRT. It’s a worldview — all white people are racist and all black people are victims — and it’s woven into lessons. A lot of them.

They also talk about “disinformation,” which you now know means truth that they don’t want you to know about. Your kid has done exercises where he’s had to acknowledge his white privilege and apologize for it. Your kid has taken surveys that have asked questions that have nothing to do with academics. It’s not some wild conspiracy theory. It’s happened to you.

You trusted these candidates, even voted for them. But you found out the hard way, they think you should mind your own business and stay out of education. You get the feeling  they think your kids belong to them.

You talk to your kid’s teacher. She’s afraid, but she tells you what’s really happening in school. You’re shocked to find out that kids call teachers “f–ing b’s” without consequences. You do a little research and discover that equity means doing away with honor roll and national merit scholars, and no one fails. It means they close the achievement gap by dumbing down lessons instead of getting underperforming kids help. It means allowing biological boys to compete against your daughter in sports. And you find out your daughter doesn’t use the bathroom at school — all day — because she’s afraid of encountering a boy. After all, boys and girls now share locker rooms and bathrooms.

You thought Alpha News was a right-wing, white-supremacist rag. You threw out the message with the messenger. If it was coming from them, it couldn’t be true. But your conservative friends might have been right.

You didn’t realize your elementary school kids would be asked to take a morality test and read books that are so graphic and lewd they make you blush. You’re shocked to find out  your middle schooler is learning how to have oral sex and anal sex. And you didn’t know the books your conservative friends want to “ban” are chock full of graphic depictions complete with images of boys having sex with boys or adults having sex with minors.

You didn’t know your little Johnny’s teacher is calling him “Jennifer” at school and referring to him using female pronouns. You didn’t know they allow him to change into a dress when he gets to school and teachers keep it a secret … from you. He’s only eight years old! Some days he wakes up and wants to be a potato chip. You didn’t know that your child is bringing home A’s and B’s because grades are inflated. No one fails. You assumed he was learning.

You realize the incumbent school board members are trying to scare liberals by saying conservatives are telling people schools will put pills that turn kids gay in free lunches. Do they think we’re dumb enough to believe that? You wonder, “Are they crazy?” No, they’re not crazy; they’re afraid of losing control.

All of this is the result of progressive school board candidates who ran on a platform of improving education. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about: improving education. Just last week, the Star Tribune ran an article revealing that Minnesota ACT scores are the lowest they’ve been in a decade. You are beginning to believe there is an agenda at work, even though your friendly progressive school board candidates deny it. You now understand what they meant by “transformative” change.

Now you realize you were wrong. You thought that “forward thinking” candidates would enlighten your child and help him become a better adult.

You’re not conservative. You’re pro-choice and anti-gun. You want to save the environment. But most of all, you’re pro-education. You’re realizing the progressive platform is not cafeteria style. You don’t get to pick the issues you like. You get the whole meal. You now know your conservative friends weren’t making this up.

You might not agree with everything they say, but you agree with your conservative friends that you want safe schools for your kids and you want them to get a good education. You want them prepared for the future.

You now decide to look closely at the candidates. You didn’t know Education Minnesota is the teachers union, and they only endorse candidates who are social justice warriors who are more concerned with social issues than teaching your kids to read and do math. With them in control, all our schools will be like Hopkins, Minnesota’s first school of excellence, but now parents are fleeing the district because of violence and low academic performance.

You understand what “elections have consequences” means. Now is your chance do something different. Break away from the ideological tribe and vote to improve your school. Your vote counts, and remember it’s secret.


Sheila Qualls

Sheila Qualls is an award-winning journalist and former civilian editor of an Army newspaper. Prior to joining Alpha News, she was a Christian Marriage and Family columnist at and a personal coach. Her work has been published in The Upper Room, the MOPS blog, Grown and Flown, and The Christian Post. She speaks nationally on issues involving faith and family.