Dues-paying state school boards running from national group

Dues-paying state school boards running from national group

Dues-paying state school boards running from national group

Coast-to-coast backlash against the National Schools Boards Association is hurting the group’s bank account months after it targeted irate parents with a provocative letter that compared them to terrorists and asked the FBI for backup.

The NSBA represents state-level school board associations, which pay tens of thousands in annual dues, but their memberships have been dropping like national test scores  after the national group sent the letter to the White House asking the President to investigate the “immediate threat” of hostile parents at school board meetings.

Fierce debates over mask-wearing, “anti-racism” indoctrination, and transgender-friendly policies have turned otherwise sleepy school board meetings into standing-room-only confrontations that often turn raucous. Faced with that environment, the NSBA described the hostile crowds as “domestic terrorists” in the letter that triggered backlash across the country.

Jumping ahead to December, a National Review Online story reports 17 state school board groups have completely withdrawn from the NSBA and have taken $1.1. million in dues with them. Those state groups contribute tens of thousands during the year for conferences and other projects, too, so those funds have dried up, too.

Talking about the backlash on the "Washington Watch" radio program, Meg Kilgannon of the Family Research Council said the national group is going to be hit financially for another reason.

Kilgannon, Meg (FRC) Kilgannon

"They also raise money from organizations particularly, interestingly, health insurance companies,” Kilgannon, an education analyst, said, “because of the access they have and the policies they can suggest to public schools.”

As if the letter wasn’t bad enough, it was learned weeks later the White House not only knew the letter was coming but had coordinated with NSBA staffers about the content of letter before it was sent to President Biden. That behind-the-scenes planning was uncovered by Fox News thanks to emails it obtained.

That backroom coordination helps explain why the notoriously slow-moving and bureaucratic federal government ordered FBI offices across the country to investigate terrorist threats at school board meetings just five days after the letter landed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The president of the NSBA, Viola Garcia, got picked by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to serve on a federal board weeks after the letter landed at the White House. 

Kilgannon said FRC Action, the political arm of FRC, has drafted its own model letter that parents can use to press their local school board over the actions of the National School Boards Association.