Friday, January 14, 2022
The group apologized for the letter in late October but by that point the damage was done. Within days, five state associations canceled their membership in the national group. By early December the number of associations who’d left had climbed to seventeen. As of today the number who have left is at nineteen and the continued survival of the national association is very much in doubt.
Until this fall, the National School Boards Association was a noncontroversial, bipartisan lobby group. Then its leaders wrote President Biden a letter. It alleged that the threatening and aggressive acts against school board members across the country might be a form of “domestic terrorism” and asked for federal law enforcement intervention.
Now, the association is at risk of total collapse…
Nineteen mostly GOP-led states have withdrawn from the association or promised to when this year’s membership expires, and six members of what was a 19-person board have left. Several states are discussing forming an alternative association for school boards. A new executive director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is working to save the organization, lobbying individual states to reconsider, but so far he has not persuaded any of them to change their minds.
“I hope they’ll give us a chance,” John Heim, the newly installed executive director, said in an interview.His goal, he said, is to “rebuild trust” in the association, which critics believe took sides in a partisan debate.