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School districts in Texas are independent of other political entities. While the state board of education sets standards, districts are completely free of any authority from local political entities. Bravo, right? Local control, closer to the people, is certainly an ideal to which we should all aspire. The COVID pandemic has revealed just how many local leaders really aspire to authority without responsibility.
In our (Kendall) county, the local bigger school district (Boerne ISD) spills over into adjacent Bexar County (San Antonio). The Bexar County judge (elected administrator) and San Antonio mayor decided to give their county health department complete authority over closures and other COVID rules. Step one in abdication of authority. Their health department decided to order schools to delay in-person opening. Boerne ISD has two schools within Bexar County and decided to open anyway as planned. The county judge whined to the state, and Governor Abbott and the attorney general declared that health departments have no authority over school closures. So now they can’t even make Bexar County schools stay closed, thereby putting authority back in the hands of local school boards. Great, right? But guess what really is happening.
“It really is the responsibility of and the necessity of the locally elected school boards that are responsive to the teachers, to the parents, to the students, to the public, to make the decision that is best for the school,” Abbott said during a news briefing at a warehouse in San Antonio used for shipping personal protection equipment to school districts across Texas to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
Abbott said the school boards can take input from local public health officials, but if there is a disagreement, “the local school district will prevail.”
His remarks met with a sharp rebuke from the Texas State Teachers Association, which represents 60,000 teachers and support staff.
The governor needs to stop passing the buck to local school boards on when to reopen and should mandate no district start in-person instruction before Sept. 8 and then only when it is safe to do so,” said the group’s president, Ovidia Molina, in a statement.
So please, save us from our own locally elected leaders. If the COVID cloud has a silver lining, it’s in showing how many Americans actually hate freedom.Published in