Submitted by Paul Wulfestieg.
The Clover Park School Board recently passed the Focus on Equity plan for the school district. The plan was studied and worked on by a group of outstanding educators and parents over many months. The vote of the board was 4 to 1 in favor of approval. The lone dissenting vote was from board member Paul Wagemann, who is frequently in the minority. The Equity plan is centered on the commitment to create and foster learning environments that support student achievement and empowerment through equity, diversity and inclusion. It is about improving the opportunities for ALL students to succeed. The Equity plan has received strong support from both the Lakewood City Council and the Commander of JBLM. Powerful statements were given underscoring the goal of our community and schools to better address and meet the needs of our very diverse community. Clover Park has one of the most diverse student populations in the state. If our goal is to improve academic achievement, we must do a better job of understanding the needs of our students, and the challenges they face every day.
Many letters, followed by antagonistic and inflammatory comments, have been written in the Suburban Times personally attacking our current school board members, our outstanding Superintendent, and their efforts to establish a positive and equitable learning environment.
Many are written by the very same donors and supporters of the two candidates opposing our current board members Marty Schafer and Alyssa Anderson Pearson. Some of the misleading letters have been written by discredited individuals who don’t even live in our school district. The challengers and their supporters have cherry picked facts and used old statistics to misinform and bias voter perceptions. They wrongly claim that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is part of the curriculum that is being taught to Clover Park students. IT IS NOT NOW AND NEVER HAS BEEN! A well organized group of extremists are calling any plan dealing with equity, diversity and inclusion a Marxist idea with the intent of turning students into communists. They claim that anything having to do with race is in itself “racist”. They claim Equity for students will result in minority students turning against the white race. Nothing could be further from the truth! They also claim that white students will be made to feel guilty and ashamed of their race. This fearmongering is intentional and comes from well organized influences within our community, and outside our community, whose intent is to make CRT a cultural war by scaring white voters. CRT is a trigger word for their base of supporters. These tactics, lies and claims to gain control of school boards are creating chaos all across the country. Fox news commentators, supremacist groups and others associated with radical extremists are making the exact same claims we hear spoken by the supporters and donors of the two candidates challenging our board members. Their goal, along with Paul Wagemann, is to capture a majority on the school board in order to achieve the objectives of the group of individuals that is really supporting them.
We should all have deep concerns about the welfare of our students and schools after hearing board member Wagemann say that Equity was a Marxist concept and that he was strongly against the Equity plan. He suggests that if you give additional help to students in need then, as a result, other students would receive less. This is a false assumption. If Marty Schafer and Alyssa Anderson Pearson are not re-elected, Mr. Wagemann and the two challengers he endorses, along with other extreme elements, will gain control of our school board! They will then be able to influence the selection of text books and curriculum to conform to their misguided interests. They would also have the opportunity to fire our dedicated and highly respected Superintendent. It is clear that this is a very well organized, and well funded, aggressive political attack against our current outstanding school board.
If you are concerned about the success of our students in our schools, become informed voters! Don’t listen to the negative rhetoric and attacks against our school board. Talk to your friends and neighbors here in Lakewood and alert them to what is happening. MARTY SCHAFER and ALYSSA ANDERSON PEARSON need your support, and your vote, in order to be re-elected. These two current board members have shown that they are prudent conservatives, but not extremists. They refuse to make their voluntary positions political! They will continue to stand up for what is needed for students and families in our school district. PLEASE VOTE by November 2nd for MARTY SCHAFER and ALYSSA ANDERSON PEARSON.