School Boards Next Frontier in Redistricting Power Grab for Far-Left Groups
With legislative redistricting wrapped up, far-left groups are taking aim at school boards.
School boards have become one of the most contentious battleground in American politics in the era of COVID-19. They've also become one of the most important voting issues in races up and down the ballot, as Virginia's recent elections showed.
Tonight, the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board will be taking up one of the most contentious issues Louisiana school boards will face this year- redistricting. We've previously reported on progressive groups using the decennial redistricting process to gain power at the Congressional and Legislative level, under the guise of "fair districts". With that process wrapped up, at least legislatively, they are now taking aim at school boards.
Groups such as the "Progressive Social Network", "Step Up Louisiana", "Restore the EBR School Board", and the "Power Coalition for Equity and Justice" have joined together to advocate a radical change to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board- adding additional districts. These organizations do not hide their political beliefs- they are radical, far-left organizations who push ideas such as a $15 minimum wage, getting rid of charter schools, and a host of other liberal policy priorities.
Their goal with redistricting is simple, "promoting a progressive agenda in the greater Baton Rouge area". This is why tonight, they will show up in force to push board members to add additional districts. They know their radical ideas cannot win broad support, so they are pushing redistricting plans that will help them game the system in their advantage.
The board voted just 8 years ago to reduce from 11 members to 9, amid complaints from the public and long time school board advocates that meetings were chaotic and inefficient. While some of these issues still remain on the current board, meetings have generally been more orderly and wrapped up in a more timely fashion under the new, smaller board.
There seems to be logic behind smaller boards: The Wall Street Journal studied corporate boards in 2014, the same year the EBR School Board voted to downsize from 11 to 9 members. They found that companies with smaller boards produce better returns and, perhaps most importantly for an underperforming school district, are more likely to hold CEOs accountable, or dismiss outright, for poor performance. They found that smaller boards were more collaborative, more likely to engage in robust debate to find solutions, and quicker to make decisions. Many of these findings echo the reasons the EBR School Board originally downsized in 2014.
Meanwhile, progressive groups have focused their arguments around "fairness" and "equity", not efficiency or results, much like they did during the legislative and Congressional redistricting processes. Once again, for them, this is an opportunity to use the process to gain power and advance their out-of-step agenda. Board members should be wary of falling for it.