Arizona announced Friday it has withdrawn from the National School Boards Association (NSBA), citing members’ concerns over a letter written by the state organization.
The Arizona State Boards Association (ASBA) said its members called on the state organization to end its affiliation with the NSBA after the national organization sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) categorizing parents as domestic terrorists, according to the Arizona Daily Independent. (RELATED: National School Boards Association Executive Reportedly Knew About Attorney General’s Memorandum Targeting Parents Before It Was Published)
Biden’s DOJ was criticized for targeting concerned parents with FBI investigations by the House GOP, who alleged Biden uses the DOJ to punish parents for opposing his “agenda.”
“President Biden is now weaponizing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to go after parents that oppose the Far-Left Socialist agenda he is attempting to impose on America’s children,” the GOP said. “Make no mistake about it, this is unconstitutional and an assault on Americans’ First Amendment right to assemble.”
I am pleased to partner with parents by taking on the heart of the problem and sponsoring SB1011. This is a small step toward recovering schools for our kids. https://t.co/1jvwFeNRfc
— Senator Kelly Townsend (@AZKellyT) February 18, 2022
ASBA executive director Dr. Sheila Harrison-Williams cited the NSBA’s letter as the reason there were so many calls to leave the organization but said she recognized the NSBA board has “realized the enormous error of employing this type of language when referring to the parents and guardians of public schools,” according to the letter obtained by the ADI.
“Despite these efforts, it has become clear that ASBA’s continued membership in NSBA has become a hindrance to the work we are undertaking here in Arizona on behalf of Arizona’s public school students,” Harrison-Williams wrote, according to the outlet.
Harrison-Williams said the ASBA board still sees “value” in a national school board association but that the actions taken by the NSBA prevented the state organization from advocating for its students to have “strong, quality public schools,” reported ADI.
“We are unable to do that if we are continuously called to account for the actions of NSBA,” ADI reported Harrison-Williams said. “Therefore, I must inform you that the ASBA board of directors has voted to discontinue membership in the organization.”
The decision to leave the NSBA comes a month after the Arizona Senate Education Committee passed SB1011, a bill that prohibits school districts from making membership payments to state or national school boards associations using taxpayer funds, according to the bill’s summary.
“I am pleased to partner with parents by taking on the heart of the problem and sponsoring SB1011,” said Arizona state Sen. Kelly Townsend on Twitter. “This is a small step toward recovering schools for our kids.”
Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas remarked on the ASBA’s “5 months of silence” before praising the state organization’s decision to withdraw from the NSBA, reported ADI. She said the national organization “declared parents’ domestic terrorists’ for asking questions and attempting to hold their elected representatives accountable,” the outlet reported.
“Sadly, ASBA has been supporting radical agendas and leftwing members for decades since my days as a governing board member,” said Douglas, the Arizona Daily Independent reported. Douglas also called for local school boards to end their financial relationship with both the national and state school board organizations, according to ADI.