Submitted by John Arbeeny.
The Clover Park Education Association (CPEA-local teachers’ union) May 2021 update letter had a entry that was subtle yet profound regarding the District’s relationship with “kids”:
“5. ……….Ron (Banner-District Superintendent) was clear that the district is getting a lot of pushback on adopting this (equity) policy. The district’s philosophy is that we need to move forward with their work in order to best support our kids.”
Did you catch it? It’s the word “OUR” kids. Indeed the District’s “philosophy” includes the idea that once kids pass through the portals of education the District “owns” them. This ownership, if even for only 7 hours a day, 5 days a week excepting summer months, apparently according to their philosophy, gives the District the right to teach them what educators deem appropriate, to front load “stakeholder” groups with sycophant supporters while excluding the very parents pushing back against the implementation of critical race theory as in this case. Apparently the District thinks its “intellectual elite” know what “best supports” kids, not the kids’ parents.
Yet those kids are your kids, parents, 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Parents don’t give their children to the District; they entrust them temporarily to the District for the purpose of educating them! They are not “our” kids belonging to the District which should be calling them “your kids” to acknowledge whose kids they really are. This is a subtle but profound distinction. As “your kids,” you as parents have the right to tell the District what is appropriate in educating and supporting “your kids” not the other way around. Your conduits into the District for your direction are through the elected Board members. However that only works to the extent that Board members maintain contact with you. It’s what a “servant” (Board member) does in their serving relationship with their “masters” (parents).
How many doorbells in this election cycle have Schafer and Pearson rung? How many did they ring in the last 4 years for Pearson or 16 years for Schafer? But they have their telephone numbers posted on the District website? So what: that’s not good enough! How many doorbells have David Anderson and Jeff Brown rung in this election cycle? Collectively over 3000! Now that’s how you listen to the voters. You come to them and meet with them eye to eye and have a conversation which runs as long as the parent deems fit rather than the 3 minutes the Board allows at its meetings. David Anderson and Jeff Brown will always recognize that every student is “your kid” and that you as the parent are the drivers behind the District’s educational policy.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.
Jeff Brown says
Thank you for the well written and insightful article John!!
YES, the ‘Kids’ belong to families of various configurations. These family’s are headed by loving parents and guardians whose primary focus is the critical years of their kids, and their development.
They entrust their kids to the CPSD to provide professional and fundamental education training in math, science, language arts, history and civics. These parents and guardians need a School Board that is ‘transparent’ in CURRENT ISSUES of the the District and is ‘proactive’ in listening to parents thoughts and positions on these very topics.
A CURRENT ISSUE I have heard most often from parents an guardians is: What is your position on CRT? That may be a CURRENT ISSUE in CPSD in the form of their new Equity Policy. All parents should be asking about this policy and understanding how it effects their kids education. And we need to HEAR THEM.
Thank you for your clarion article on Kids and Parents!!
As a candidate for the CPSD school board I expect more. Your response is filled with grammatical errors. What an embarrassment.
Our community deserves better.
– a CPSD parent
mandy Candler says
I am sorry, Kathy, and not to be trivial, but your sentence started with a dangling participle. Can we please stay with the candidates’ qualifications? Thank you
Jeff Brown says
Your comments regarding grammar are irrelevant and avoid the subject at hand.
good grammar here was NOT part of the conversation.. whose side are you on Left or right??
John Arbeeny says
Personally I’m on the side of facts. That’s not a right or left position and school Board positions are non-partisan. Ultimately it is about what parents want for their children and in support of their children. Without a voice in District decisions like its “equity policy” those objectives will likely not be met.
Another cheap and free political advertisement. He said “our kids” because unlike the 3 stooges Banner has a kid in the district. He says our kids because for five days a week he spends more time with “our kids” than we do. I don’t know about you but I prefer someone to whom I entrust my kid to every day to think of them as their own. This article says a lot. You just told us Banner cares about “our kids” he is pushing to do what is best for our kids even when people in the community are fighting against what is best for our kids because of people like you lying about CRT. Tell us what is your understanding of CRT? How is the CPSD’s equity policy CRT? And how is the CPSD’s equity policy divisive? Don’t give us far-right propaganda and what they are doing in other districts and states but specifically CPSD and how is their policy divisive specifically? We are all ears.
Thank you, SM. I’ve yet to figure out what this fear of teaching the history of our nation is a bad thing. When I found out about Greenwood’s history I was so upset I’d never been taught or even heard about it. It is relevant and the fear of the relevancy of history is so typical right-wing, ultra white-ism (not a word I know). I’m sick of hearing it. If they don’t care about “our children” there is a problem.
John Arbeeny says
……….what Banner himself thinks is best for “our” kids; that rather than what parents think is best for their kids. That’s the issue. Do you trust the Board and employees to figure out what’s best for your kids or yourself? Your answer determines ownership of those kids.
What parents? Certainly not you, Jeff Brown, Dave Anderson. I think you you parents referring to me. News flash, none of you have children in OUR district you all are so out of touch with reality it is pathetic. I never appointed you to be a spokes person for me or my children. I am a parent with children in the district and now that Banner is here I am so grateful for his compassion and empathy and the level of care he puts towards students and families. So come again what parents are you referring to?
Paul Nimmo says
While lately I have disagreed with many district decisions, I do look at it a bit differently. I believe the term “our” refers to the community in general. We all play a part in “our” kids education
John Arbeeny says
True but ultimately it is the parents’ responsibility for their children: not schools, not government and not community. To the extent that parents abrogate that responsibility, others will step in and exert authority over those areas. However, while you can delegate or cede authority you cannot delegate or cede responsibility. Ultimately it is the parents’ responsibility. When the District locks parents out of something as far reaching as its equity policy then it is the District that has failed in its responsibility to the parents.
The push to elect far right wing candidates for school boards is frightening. Fortunately, this political campaign screed is transparent. Why I want my children to go to a school where the educators did not consider them “our” children?
Agreed, thank you Brent!
Agreed, thank you Brent! A culture of fear bating.
Dave O'Keeffe says
I am weary of the misinformation regarding CRT and the harsh judgement on the Clover Park School District. As Director of Communities In Schools of Lakewood for 11 years, I saw first hand the heroic efforts of teachers and administrators striving to help students succeed despite the debilitating effects of poverty related barriers in their young lives. Likewise, I saw heroic efforts of students graduating and being the first person in their family history to go college, Our whole community needs to work together to remove poverty related barriers to the educational success for OUR kids.
As SM mentioned above, before you criticize CRT learn what it really is: an effort to teach kids the truth about what really happened in history. I hope the information on this article from Crosscut (an offshoot of KCTS 9), will broaden your understanding of CRT in the context of the Washington State, and help to dismantle the misinformation and right wing conspiracy tactics being wielded against teachers and school leaders. Here are two links to paste into your browser regarding CRT and the source of the article:
John, please explain your statement, “…to front load “stakeholder” groups with sycophant supporters while excluding the very parents pushing back against the implementation of critical race theory as in this case.”
John Arbeeny says
Do the math. Here are the people making up the 83 alleged stakeholders for CPSD’s equity policy.
CPSD staff: 24% (20)
Teachers: 19% (16)
Community members: 31% (26)
Students/Alumni: 15% (12…..4 current and 8 alumni)
Parents/family: 8% (7)
The obvious begs the question: “Why are 43% of the stakeholders CPSD employees and what exactly is their stake in CRT?” The answer is obvious: it is about keeping their jobs! None of them are going to say “peep” about any disagreement with the District’s CRT program. So we have nearly half the stakeholders “front loaded” in support of CRT even though the impact will be felt most heavily on parents (7) and current students (4): a total of 11 real stakeholders out of 83 appointed.
I also found that many of the 31% (26) “community members” have deep ties to CRT as private consultants, office holders, CRT related government and education employees and community board members. You can bet that these stakeholders aren’t the ones “pushing back” on CRT implementation in CPSD. Indeed the parents pushing back were the ones totally excluded from the alleged stakeholder representation.
To front load the alleged stakeholders with CRT proponents in an attempt to appear as though community representative in the absence of true community representation is deceptive and invalidates any recommendations that they make. It’s also a tacit admission that CRT wouldn’t pass if the community were really represented.
I also found that many of the 31% (26) “community members” have deep ties to CRT as private consultants.
Where did you find this info about “Deep Ties” or did the Tangerine Turd tell you?
John Arbeeny says
Look up the names of people on the alleged stakeholder’s group as provided by the CPSD in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request 21-47 which is still open.
You do understand, teachers, parents, and community groups can be intersectional right? A teacher can be a parent and community member.
So, I have worked for many School Districts, and I have recently moved here to the Lakewood area.
I found this article to be petty and a political gain for one agenda. As mentioned in the article the Superintendent referring to the children of the community, “ours”, is in fact enlightening. The fact that he did not say “his children”, or “the children of the School district,” appears to me, IMHO, that he deeply cares about what’s going on with the children in this district. Not once did he ever say he “owns” the children.
Yes Mr. Brown, as a public official, Grammar is everything because it shows you proof read your own work and care about what you are saying. Otherwise you might as well tweet and text emojis. Education starts with Grammar and pronunciation. Perhaps we can back to the education of our children and not the political gain of one. Been reading these jabs at the District over CRT, Discrimination, and so-called ownership. What’s next? Can’t wait to read the next political agenda for one. If the author was so concerned about our children, perhaps the author should consider that most of our community families like myself are a single parent raising our children in the best fashion we can. Don’t need someone knocking on my door to ask if what I feel is right, I know what my values and my views are and that is why I live in our community.
Good day to you all and to our children
John Arbeeny says
I personally understand what it means to be raised in a one parent family. It’s tough. However, census numbers dispute your claim “…..that most of our community families….are a single parent raising our children in the best fashion we can”. Take a look at:
and you’ll see that 69% of Lakewood’s families are married. This does not detract from what you have experienced but puts into factual context the number of married/single families in Lakewood. Another revealing statistic is that 35% of births are to single mothers. Perhaps that’s a problem that needs to be dealt with as well.
Wake up Clover Park citizens! Our school board, which is a non-partisan position, is under a very coordinated political attack. FOX News, the GOP and radical fringe groups seem to be the “go to” sources of misinformation about CRT for Jeff Brown, David Anderson, their supporters and donors. Critical Race Theory is not being taught in our schools as Brown, Anderson and Arbeeny would have you believe. Just Google “CRT and FOX News”, CRT and Tucker Carlson”, “CRT and Proud Boys”, “CRT and School Board Elections”, “CRT and the GOP”, “CRT and QAnon”, “CRT and the 2022 elections” and you will see the very same rhetoric and organized nasty attacks on school boards across the country that mirrors what is currently going on in Clover Park by those wishing to gain control at the local level. It’s no accident. It is a dangerous right-wing political agenda that threatens public education and our democracy.
John Arbeeny says
“Critical Race Theory is not being taught in our schools….” no, it’s being taught to our teachers, staff and Board members as decreed by the Legislature and Governor and implemented within the District under the pseudonym “equity policy”. Children aren’t stupid: they know how they are being treated better or worse better than anything they read between the covers of a text book. Parents aren’t stupid either: they know CRT when they see it in CPSD’s “equity policy” which dances around CRT without mentioning that 800 pound gorilla in the room! Opposition to CRT is a national and local movement based upon common sense: the CRT “emperor has no clothes” despite all the protestations to the contrary. Anyway: whose kids are they?
So teaching something to What you just said is not the lie you all have been spreading throughout Lakewood. I asked you specific questions regarding the CPSD equity policy and you tap-danced around the answer. Because you can’t answer the questions. Post after post you have written letters about CRT in CPSD attacking everyone who is against your lie and now YOU are saying they are not teaching CRT to the students as you have been saying, but now it’s the teachers. Just stop! We have had enough of your lies. This for you has been about winning and at any cost. The people who are repeating your lies because they trust you all are probably the ones who need equity the most. I read a post that said you all will lie cheat and steal to win and you just proved them right. Stop hurting OUR kids with your political BS. Darwin Peters and Marty Shafer get my vote. If you will lie to win I can only imagine what they will do if seated. No thank you.
Teaching something to educators who have the tools process and analyze is a very different narrative than the lie you have been spreading.
John Arbeeny says
No the “lie” is the semantical parsing of the word “teaching” by supporters of CRT. I certainly haven’t claimed CRT is part of the curriculum or being taught as a subject in any class formally. It doesn’t have to be: it’s “taught” through implementation by administration and staff who have been trained. Even the union has encountered problems implementing the “equity policy” in just one program English Language Learners (ELL). That does not portend well for the equity policy which affects a lot more than just ELL. Here’s the quote from the Clover Park Education Association May 2021 update:
“Thirty minutes in each classroom per day is not possible with the number of students needing services. How will this look with class capacity sizes? What about ELL teachers who support more than 1 school? Common planning or release time should be provided on a regular basis. Training needs to be done as well with techniques and strategies for students. CPEA asked for teacher input from elementary school ELL/resource/intervention teachers, but district did not seem interested in discussing it with them. Some schools have chosen to put ELL kids in the same class, creating classes of all white students and all BIPOC students (segregation?). The district has not been involved in making decisions, but telling teachers to “figure it out.” CPEA is placing a request that this be discussed further with a panel of actual staff members.”
John, I often referred to my students as my kids. Yes, they were not my biological kids, but we were a family all the same. Many students come to school under fed, poorly clothed, and in need of love and support. I’m not putting blame here, its an unfortunate side effect of an economy that caters to those with greater assets. CPSD has many students who live in homes with very limited resources and having a “second” family is a positive for many.
CRT is used in law school, not in k12.
John Arbeeny says
I understand your concern for kids in your classroom, that is admirable and I don’t have a problem with that concern. The point I’m making is that these kids are actually those of their parents. The concern I have is that those parents have been locked out of the equity policy deliberative process. Any time you deliberately isolate parents from the development of school policy you risk getting it wrong and generating the backlash that Ron Banner has encountered. When you support the value that parents best know their children then you bring in parents up front in any policy, not within a month or two of the District’s adoption without their input.
Jim B says
Keep it up. You can tell by some of the replies that they would like to silence you. Education has devolved into indoctrination as apposed to education. The problem is not new and CRT is only the latest order to push ideas and ways of thinking into the heads of students.
Education as it was delivered forty years ago was to present information and teach students to think not what to think.
I am afraid the ship has sailed that held out any hope of saving education from government and teachers’ unions.