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Anti-endorsement: Do not vote for these reptiles. Courtesy of Twitter

As a rule, in politics, you can’t trust anyone without some skin in the game. Rule No. 2 is, you can trust them only as much as that skin is worth or how expendable it is. As anyone who’s been to a casino can tell you, money comes and goes. There’s no emotional attachment there, so to see how much skin a politician really has in a school board race, it’s best to do some emotional accounting. Children, friends, time spent serving the community — all that is irreplaceable. When choosing school board candidates — the trustees we trust to protect the future of our children — that’s the money to follow.

Given the heated controversy involving book bans, gun control, vouchers, and teacher shortages, there is much at stake in this year’s election, and it’s even more pronounced since at least one far-right company pumps tons of dark money into local school board elections. In last year’s vote, cell phone provider Patriot Mobile and its Super PAC Patriot Mobile Action spent $2 million supporting far-right candidates, and 11 of them won. Following the national trend, Patriot Mobile’s goal is to dismantle public schools so that privatizing education is the only option, which would severely limit or completely thwart upward mobility for millions of mostly minority students. Because racism, duh. All these Patriot Mobile clowns and their trustees/minions are whiter than rice.

People in the business of buying and selling property are also playing a role in school board elections. The Texas Ethics Commission says Realtors donated more than $390,000 to right-wing candidates last election cycle alone. Apparently, when test scores influence where families choose to live, Christian Nationalists would rather sabotage their own public schools than expose what’s been really going on in the classrooms. Or, y’know, help their kids score higher on tests, but that would require a respect for knowledge and information that has somehow eluded these fake Christians/non-fake Nazis thus far.

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Vouchers were not popular in the lege this session, so now the right is focused on the “Guardian Rule” that would require all teachers to carry handguns in class. Never mind that nearly every school shooting is conducted with an assault-style firearm that sprays clouds of bone-shattering bullets. But, sure, a handgun fired by a fortysomething mother of two who just learned how to load the thing should do the trick.

Since conservatives never offer any solutions, just hot air, the book bans and the CRT nonsense are just distractions from real problems. One of the biggest is that Texas spends $4,000 less per pupil than the national average. The state is to blame for this, not the federal government. Fed funds make up about 7% of per-pupil spending whereas state and local governments comprise more than 90% of the total. It makes sense that in a red state, public school students would be so underserved. The right’s entire philosophy is “Fuck them poor darkies, we’re eating.” Though there’s no way to verify, we’d bet a shiny gold bar plucked from the belly of the Titanic’s remains that every Republican politician’s kid goes to a private school. Every one. Private schools as private businesses mostly have no standard of education/accountability, so it seems we have entered into a new era, one where the rich get richer but also dumber at a steady pace until the meaning of capitalism has gone entirely through the looking glass into a postmodern definition of theft, indifference, and lethargy.

One school district taken over by Patriot Mobile’s Christian Nationalists is Carroll. Grieving parents in Southlake are now watching their children suffer as the second richest town in Texas crumbles under the weight of a massive debt created by Patriot Mobile’s hand-picked trustees and their imaginative bookkeeping. The school district recently sent out a newsletter to middle-school parents stating that their kids would be double-blocked this year, meaning they will be forced to learn the same accelerated math and language arts curriculum in half the time due to a teacher shortage. As expected, Carroll teachers actually make disturbingly less than their peers in surrounding areas like Fort Worth. According to job posts on Indeed, Carroll teachers start out at $15/hour whereas Fort Worth’s bring home a whopping $36. For all the money flowing in and around Southlake, you’d think the city would take care of the people in charge of their most prized possessions for most days, every day. But you would be wrong. It’s no wonder educators are resigning en masse from Carroll.

The Fort Worth school district is not immune to the Patriot Mobile virus. The company sent out mailers endorsing Patricia Carlson for District 2, Valarie Navarez for District 3, and Josh Yoder for District 5.

If you have a brain and a heart, do not vote for any of them under any circumstances.

Carlson is running against incumbent Tobi Jackson, who has 13 years of experience as a trustee and a high-transparency public presence. She is highly involved with the district and runs the after-school program SPARC. In a recent print interview, the 74-year-old Carlson, who co-owns a business with her husband but would not disclose its name, believes in vouchers a la Greg Abbott and, when asked how she would resolve disagreements among fellow trustees, said, “Absolutely!” #uhwhat?

Quinton Phillips is the incumbent in District 3. He is a professor at TCU and runs an empowerment after-school program for kids in the community. He has a high-transparency public presence and is a proud graduate of his district. Patriot Mobile-backed challenger Navarez is 22 years old, has no experience, and has a mostly private social media account, showing only church endorsements. Martayisha James, 27, is also running against Phillips. She is president of an environmental coalition and has lived in the district for 18 years.

In District 5, Carrie Evans is the incumbent. Evans, 45, is a lawyer and has served on the board for five years. She is being challenged by Kevin Lynch, 41, who has very little public presence and is the dad of five kids not enrolled in the district. The Patriot Mobile-backed Yoder wants to make sure all teachers are packing heat. The only thing on his social media is bragging that his PAC outspent the Dems and advocating for book bans and Jesus.

In Keller, incumbent Beverly Dixon will defend her place against yokel Chris Coker, who is proud of pulling his kids out of the district when COVID happened and is a fan of book-banning, guns in schools, and, yes, vouchers. Dixon is the ideal candidate. She is a Navy vet of 21 years, mom of two kids in the district, and is heavily — and we mean heavily — involved in the Keller community. She has countless endorsements by administrators who vouch for her work and love her generous spirit on her social media page as well as many videos and pictures of her being honored by the community for her volunteer work. Coker sent out a message about her letting kids get hurt by “woke” politics, and everyone in the community had a good laugh about that.

Basically, there are some red flags when considering which locals will represent us on our school boards. No public service experience? Red flag. No public presence? Red flag. No kids in the district that the trustee hopes to represent? Yewj red flag. Endorsed by Patriot Mobile? Don’t even go there.

The election is Saturday. Get movin’.

 

This column reflects the opinions of the editorial board and not the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at Anthony@FWWeekly.com. He will gently edit it for clarity and concision.

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