February 14th, Oklahoma will vote on school board races across the state. February you say? Isn't that a fairly cold month here in Oklahoma - making any but the firmly ideological and/or patriotic sure NOT to go to the polls? Of course! Partly because of this factor, school board races tend to suffer from lack of turnout, at times causing school board seats to turn on less than 60 votes.
Unfortunately, school board races aren't deemed ‘sexy’ by the media. School board elections rarely gain much media attention and usually fly so far under the radar that many citizens have no idea a school board race is even ensuing in their neighborhood (district) at all - ever.
ROPE has recognized these frustrations from our beginnings. Last year we assisted both Piedmont and Edmond with school board candidate forums, in attempt to bring light to the process.
This year, we would like you to be aware of a particular school board race here in Oklahoma City. It is the Oklahoma City School Board seat in district number 4 previously held by Steve Schafer. Here is the map you can use to determine whether or not you reside in district 4.
As you can read in this article from the Oklahoman covering a recent candidate forum held by Friends of Egemere, there are three candidates running for this particular seat; Patrick Gaines, Laura A. Massenat and Crystal Hodges. As you can imagine, we have done a bit of research on these three candidates and we are happy to share that information with you.
All three candidates are registered with the County Election Board as "Republican", so this should be a very difficult race to judge, right? Well, not so fast. There are, some could say, EXTREME differences among the three Republican candidates in this race.
Let's start with Patrick Gaines.
Mr. Gaines is the owner and proprietor of Gaines Government Services, LLC - a local lobbying firm. Mr. Gaines is a registered lobbyist in Oklahoma for medical and insurance providers. He has a candidate Facebook page where he can be seen with Representative (and candidate for SENATE) Al McAffrey. Mr. Gaines also has an Al McAffrey For Senate sign in his front yard as can be evidenced here:
Here is a screen shot from the Al McAffrey For Senate webpage:
While Al is "FIGHTING EVERYDAY FOR OUR PROGRESSIVE VALUES", ROPE continues to fight AGAINST his progressive values – particularly in education.
Please also note McAffrey’s voting history, where he voted AGAINST preventing the use of Sharia law in Oklahoma court cases (against the will of 70% of Oklahoma voters) and the repeal of collective bargaining requirements for cities (which continue to cost Oklahoma taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars OUTSIDE what we pay for public services themselves.)
I don’t know about you, but my momma used to tell me, "You are known by your associates".
Yes, we should be cordial to all people and definitely attempt to hear all sides of an issue. Yes, school board races are considered non-partisan (which is how Progressives took control of school boards under the radar long ago). However, when one person says one thing, “I’m a Republican”, and acts another way by promoting the candidacy of a PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT, (outside his job as lobbyist which requires him to elicit support from both sides of the isle) while also publicly appreciating that PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT’S support for his campaign, ALL voters should be concerned.
In that case, we can glean the following about Patrick Gaines:
- He is a registered Republican backing a Progressive Democrat for Senate.
- He has had this self-same Progressive Democrat at one of his fundraisers as evidenced on his school board candidate Facebook page where he is happy to tell the world that this Progressive Democrat supports his school board candidacy.
- Patrick Gaines is a lobbyist. “To lobby”, according to Merriam-Webster, is: to attempt to influence or sway (as a public official) toward a desired action.
Thus, we could conclude that Patrick Gaines will lobby the Oklahoma City School Board (as a board member) toward more Progressive Democrat ideals.
Let's now turn our attention to Laura A. Massenat:
Mrs. Massenat has, to her credit, been very active at the Oklahoma City School Board meetings where she frequently “lobbies” for more nutritious lunches. Mrs. Massenat is also registered with the County Election Board as a Republican and also has a candidate Facebook page where she appears with Al McAffrey AND Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid at a recent campaign fund raiser.
For the uninitiated, Ed Shadid has been one of the more ‘controversial’ councilmen on the Oklahoma City Council. Though he has thankfully attempted to stand firm in the face of the cronyism that IS the Oklahoma City Council, he is also on record as a supporter of Agenda 21-based incentives such as “preventing urban sprawl”. In a blog written last June, he states,
“As social beings we are designed to function “as part of a herd” as my mentor, Dr. Billy Stout, frequently reminds me.”
WHAT?! Sorry, I don’t baaaa during any part of my day thank you, and I am – like a lot of you – more likely to kick the sheepdog as run with the pack away from him!
What about Mrs. Massenat’s ideas on school function or programming? A recent poll posted to her Facebook page can give us some idea of her thoughts.
Granted, the poll was peopled with votes from Facebook ‘friends’ and certainly can’t be construed as a statistical poll of any kind, but if her constituents are more concerned about school lunch choices than how often kids are tested and to what/for what result, how will actual issues dealing with the education (or un-education) of Oklahoma City district 4 kids fit into her agenda?
This question, combined with the issue of her political supporters, certainly raises a lot of concerns. Thus, we would be unable to consider Laura Massanat’s candidacy for the position of school board member.
This leads me to Crystal Hodges, who, as you might imagine, ROPE endorses wholeheartedly for this seat.
Crystal is a former Navy Nuclear Electronic technician who received a degree in Elementary Education following her honorable discharge from service. She and her husband Peter have 3 children whom Crystal schools at home. You can read more about Crystal’s thoughts and qualifications on the “about me” section of her candidate Facebook page.
Not unbelievably, concerns have been expressed about the legitimacy of Crystal’s candidacy simply because of the fact that Crystal chooses to school her children at home. In fact, it has even been posited that Crystal should not be ALLOWED to sit on the school board in her district for this reason. Please, allow me to make a few points here:
· Home schoolers (such as me) often choose to opt their children out of public school for religious reasons. Many of us prefer to school our children using a Biblical world view which, sadly, has not been available in public schools since 1965.
· Many home schoolers (such as Crystal and I) often either have education backgrounds themselves, or take part in a co-op or other program to assist in the schooling of their children (our family, for example, participates in a local Classical Conversations program).
· Many home schoolers (such as Crystal and I) have advanced degrees - as evidenced in a very large study done on nearly 12 thousand home school families in 1998.
· Like my own sister, and others who choose parochial and/or private schooling, home schooler’s PAY PROPERTY TAXES TO FUND PUBLIC SCHOOLS in their neighborhood and across the state of Oklahoma though they do not use the services for which they pay. To say that a home schooler can NOT occupy a school board seat in their district is tantamount to consigning these individuals to TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.
· Home schoolers are often more aware of the issues surrounding public education than those parents whose children attend public school simply because we have studied the issue prior to choosing a method of schooling for our children.
Consequently, due to Crystal’s outstanding qualifications and experience – and the obvious concerns about her opponents – ROPE has chosen to endorse Crystal Hodges for the Oklahoma City Public Schools District #4 Board of Education seat.We ask YOU to do whatever you can to support her as well!