RBB: Tea party types taking down Gilbert school district

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings


It's been well-known for a while that tea party types don't play well with others; turns out that they don't play well with each other, either.

Here in AZ, that fact has been evident nearly from the start. 

In 2011, tea party types in the then-LD20 Republican district organization were apoplectic over the fact that the majority of that district's GOP activists elected a supporter of Sen. John McCain*, Anthony Miller, as the district chair.  The threats, while marginally veiled, were extreme enough for him to fear for the safety of his family and himself, and he ended up resigning the post.

* – I'm sure the fact that Mr. Miller is African-American had absolutely nothing to do with their outrage over his election as chair.  /end sarcasm

Just this year, Andy Biggs, the Republican president of the state senate, declared the seat of Sen. Rich Crandall, a fellow Republican, vacant.  Crandall had announced that he was resigning to take a job in Wyoming, but tried to time his resignation so that his children would have continuous health insurance coverage (they have pre-existing conditions, and a gap in insurance coverage would give any future insurance providers an excuse to deny coverage.

Now, Mike McClellan, a blogger at AZCentral.com has the scoop on what some tea party types are doing down in Gilbert.

…Since the November election created an ultra conservative majority, the [Gilbert] school board has taken these steps:

Forced the resignation of the superintendent.

Decertified the teachers’ union.

Withdrew from the Arizona School Board Association (ASBA) . . . sort of.

Cut the salaries of school janitors and cafeteria workers and other classified staff.

Threatened to end an anti-bullying campaign.

Claimed that Gilbert’s high AIMS scores could be the result of “gaming the system.”

Argued that a curriculum adopted by the district was “socialistic."


But board member Julie Smith has been the busiest recently. After examining the new curriculum for language arts, Smith argued that the curriculum was “socialistic.” Her evidence? Well, it included the suggested writing assignments teachers could use. Assignments like, “Should schools stop selling pop?”

She also argued that the World of Difference anti-bullying program should be stopped. Why?   It’s sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League?

So what, you ask? Well, from Smith’s view that’s the socialistic camel’s nose in the tent. Because, you see, the Anti-Defamation League supports gay marriage. Ergo, an anti-bullying campaign somehow is a de facto support of gay marriage.

Her opposition to the anti-bullying is ironic, given the actions of her husband, David Smith.

Seems that the school board president, Staci Burk, began receiving anonymous threatening text messages this summer. Ms. Burk was rightly frightened, so much so that her health was damaged. Eventually, she learned the texts came from the Julie Smith home.

Burk is a tea party favorite.

Smith is a tea party favorite.

Burk endorsed Smith during Smith's last election.

It'll be interesting to see what the endorsement lists look like during next year's campaigns…

…BTW, am I the only one to notice that the welfare of children is usually placed at risk when tea party types get "rambunctious"?


One response to “RBB: Tea party types taking down Gilbert school district

  1. Great catch, Craig. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in an affluent area with what sounds like good public schools when the crazies take over. I’m betting most of them get voted out next election — unless they piss some people off enough to get a recall going.

    This is a terrible situation. But if more people see how destructive these clowns are with their outrageous, inflexible ideology, that could do some long term good.