Monday, March 27th, 2023

Baton Rouge, Louisiana


 School board elections in Louisiana used to be rather sleepy affairs, with generally a small turnout on election day.  Yes, there were often controversial issues considered by local boards.  School libraries have been the recent focus of heated debate, particularly in Lafayette and Livingston parishes.  What books to allow our kids to read and when should school administrators be required to obtain parents’ permission, or what books should be banned all together.

But these decisions have always been made on a local or parish level.  If parents were dissatisfied, their options were to vote those school board members they opposed out of office or even start a recall petition. In fact, Republican legislator Paul Hollis from Covington plans on filing new legislation in the coming session of the legislature to make it easier to recall elected officials. And as former chief election’s officer during the time I served as secretary state, I agree with the representative that it is presently too hard to recall any elected official.

One of the hallmarks of our educational system is to keep it local.  Homegrown control on how and what are kids are taught.  No meddling from those in congress who overspend, get us into unnecessary wars, and jam hundreds of mostly unnecessary laws down our throats every year.

 But wait!  We now have congress directly interfering with the job of local school boards and state legislatures. Proposed federal legislation, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives just last week, would direct all local school boards to meet newfangled national requirements, whether local citizens agree or not.

Actually, most of the new requirements are not all that bad.  “The measure would require schools to publish their curricula publicly, mandate that parents be allowed to meet with their children’s teachers and make schools give information to parents when violence occurs on school grounds. It would also require that parents who ask to receive a list of books and reading materials accessible at the school library and give parents a say when schools are crafting or updating their policies and procedures for student privacy, among other tenets.”

But do we now want bureaucrats in Washington, D. C. second guessing decisions made on a local level? This legislation gives more authority and expands the oversight responsibilities of the Department of Education, which is ironic because conservatives have been pushing to eliminate this federal agency for years. 

“I don’t love going down this road,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said Friday. Roy said education policy ought to be left to the states.

Congressman Mike, Johnson of Shreveport warned: “The radical left is infiltrated nearly every institution in the US. Our educational system is one of the most glaring examples.” So Congressman, who are the radical left members that actually run school boards all across America? A study by the American Educational Research Association found that a strong majority of school boards are most likely to be white, wealthy, and Republican.  Hummm!

Not to be out done with inflammatory rhetoric, US Rep., Clay Higgins, a Republican from Lafayette, wrote on Twitter: “The libraries regular Americans recall are gone.  They’ve become liberal grooming centers.” I’m sure glad the congressman let me know that. I go to the library here in Baton Rouge once a week or so with grandkids and grand nieces. I’m going to really have to rethink exposing my family to such an ultra-liberal bastion.

So get ready folks. We are going to have the US Department of Education calling shots on local school board decisions, with the Department of Justice investigating any lax enforcement of federal law. Or so a large number of our congressional members in Washington apparently want to see happened. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at You can also listen to his regular podcast at


Print Friendly, PDF & Email