Politics

School Board 101: A Carolinas Collaborative

New project to aid school board members focused on academics, not indoctrination …

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A trio of limited government groups in North and South Carolina are collaborating on a project that aims to empower school board members across both states with the tools needed to facilitate better academic outcomes in their district’s classrooms – and push back against pernicious “outside agendas.”

This is no ideological exercise, though … it’s all about the nuts and bolts of governance: Training board members in parliamentary procedure, sound budgeting practices, networking, mentoring, communications, legal rights and responsibilities and other management functions.

The John Locke Foundation – a Raleigh, N.C.-based “independent, nonprofit think tank” – has joined forces on this “collaborative initiative” with a pair of Palmetto State organizations, Palmetto Promise Institute and the S.C. Policy Council. The project is called “Carolinas Academic Leadership Network,” or CALN.

According to a news release from the Locke Foundation, “CALN’s goal is to foster a commitment to student achievement, parental empowerment, and academic excellence among school board members and prepare them with the tools and skills to be effective, improving student achievement in their districts.”

The Locke Foundation formed in 1990. It is named after English philosopher John Locke, whose views on limited government and individual liberty inspired American Revolutionaries including Thomas Jefferson.

According to the group, school board members have been facing a myriad of new challenges due to “disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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“Parents’ frustration is tangible, and their desire to be actively engaged in their children’s education is commendable,” the release noted. “Some of these concerned parents have themselves become school board members, leading to a wave of 2022 candidates who campaigned on parental rights, academic achievement, and transparency.”

Providing fellowship, training and support to these board members is the objective of CALN – which seeks to meet “growing demand” from school board members eager to focus their districts on education “without the outside agendas that have co-opted so many educational institutions.”

You know, outside agendas like this … or this.

“We established CALN to support new and existing board members who are rising to meet these challenges,” said Amy O. Cooke, chief executive officer of the Locke Foundation. “School board members are knowledgeable and passionate about education. However, we’ve heard from members looking for professional development in areas like management, budgeting, communications, and leadership. CALN will provide opportunities to help both incoming and veteran board members so they can focus on student achievement and excellence in education.”

CALN launched its efforts at a kickoff event in Charlotte, N.C. this past week. That gathering was attended by U.S. congressman Ralph Norman of South Carolina’s fifth congressional district and congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina’s fifth congressional district. State senator Wes Climer also attended the gathering, as did former S.C. superintendent of education Mick Zais.

“CALN is a force multiplier for the grassroots movement to reclaim our schools from the radical left,” Climer told me. “The partner organizations supporting CALN have long and storied records of delivering conservative policy outcomes, and their coordinated investment in advancing conservative policy at the school board level will pay dividends for generations of students.”

According to the group, its leadership will initiate training events in both states in September.

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Palmetto Promise Institute president and CEO Wendy Damron (Palmetto Promise)

“It has become abundantly clear that there is a need for an organization to provide support for school board members who want to work with parents to focus on academic excellence and student achievement,” said Palmetto Promise president Wendy Damron. “Palmetto Promise Institute is a proud partner in CALN, an initiative to assist these school trustees in their difficult and often unappreciated work.”

Originally from Michigan, Damron was tapped to lead PPI earlier this year after its former leader – Ellen Weaver – was elected state superintendent of education.

Count on this news outlet to keep our audience up to speed on CALN’s efforts …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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