Collin County Politics: Education Under Attack

July 13, 2021

Commissioners Court: The Sheriff’s department released 41 minutes of the 5-hour long video of the time Marvin Scott III spent in the Collin County Detention Center. The parts of the video I saw were deeply disturbing, not only because I knew I was watching a man being killed but also because of how unnecessary it all was. Plenty of us in the mental health profession deal with people suffering from schizophrenic episodes and no one gets hurt or killed. There are ways to handle such occurrences but those aren’t what’s seen on the video. As a psychologist, I find it so damn frustrating that, even after this, no one associated with the sheriff’s department is calling for mental health professionals to be utilized. It makes you wonder if they just don’t care.   

School Board Drama: Although this doesn’t have anything to do with any official school boards, it does have to do with what we can expect from upcoming conservative candidates. Last week, Plano School Board member, realtor Cody Weaver, spoke about Critical Race Theory (CRT) at a meeting put on by Mike Draper at Redemption Point Alliance Church in McKinney. The audience of about 100 people seemed to be mostly from Frisco. This makes sense as Mike Draper is a Frisco parent as is Stephanie Elad, another speaker at the meeting. She may be running for Frisco School Board. So a Plano School Board member spoke at a meeting in McKinney for mostly Frisco people? This guy must be working for Hydra because he seems to have tentacles everywhere. Or he’s running for a larger office.

Weaver took great care to mention that while Plano School Board policy doesn’t prevent him from speaking at such a meeting, he wasn’t speaking on behalf of the Board. That’s good to know but it’s still deeply problematic. I suspect the reason so many people came to hear him speak is because he’s a school board member. In the publicity for the event, Weaver was billed as a Community Leader. As far as I can tell, he has no public service accomplishments other than being on the school board. How many people will make the distinction that he’s speaking purely as a citizen? I also wonder about the ethics of a current school board member encouraging parents to not only complain about teachers but also refuse to allow their child to complete a given project. This seems unwise.

There’s a lot of rhetoric about CRT right now but the main thing to know is that CRT isn’t being taught at the K-12 level. CRT is a way to talk openly about how America’s history with race has had an effect on today’s society and institutions. It’s being taught at universities and law schools because the systemic underpinnings of our current institutions are an advanced concept. However, educational groups like the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, are suggesting (and rightly so) that high school and middle school social studies topics include comprehensive and truthful accounts about slavery, oppression, and discrimination and how those impact current society. The angry crowd is worried their children will learn that the United States hasn’t always treated everyone equally. In other words, they’re scared of the truth. Boo hoo.

As you might expect, Weaver had a lot of his facts wrong and didn’t respond well to being questioned by those unfriendly to his position. Some white men (Of course, most of the people at the meeting were white. Did you really think otherwise?) in cowboy hats or gimme caps tried to physically intimidate people from asking questions out loud although the white men could ask questions any way they pleased. This would be humorous if it weren’t so scary as it clearly demonstrates the underlying privilege of white men.

Speaking of white male privilege, it’s obvious to me that Weaver is angling for a larger office. He’s young and was guided by Dr. Yoram Solomon, a former Plano ISD trustee, who served as his policy mentor and campaign treasurer. Weaver also was financed by the Plano Citizens PAC and the DFW PAC, so he likely has some dark money from Empower Texans in his corner. And he’s using red meat for the base as a way to gain a larger following. This is how Republicans build their bench. School boards are looking like their next training ground.

Another way the Republicans build their bench is to have message discipline. Just like they do on FOX News, having multiple people continuously repeat the same message will cause some listeners to believe the propaganda they’re hearing. This is how cults operate. Fascists too.

The current message discipline for the school boards appears to be that public board meetings are purely for citizens. Elected officials who refuse to allow public speakers to disrupt the meeting aren’t being “transparent” or “demonstrating good leadership.” That exact message showed up in McKinney’s school board meetings during municipal elections via then-candidate Joy Booth (thankfully, she lost) and is now being said by Mike Draper and Stephanie Elad in Frisco.

The reality, of course, is that public meetings can’t allow constant disruptions or nothing will ever get done. But the goal for the conservatives (per usual) is not about the services to be provided but how they can take control. We can’t let them do that. If you’ve ever considered running for the school board, now is the time to step up!

Comments 1

  1. It’s unnerving how organized and disciplined this is. From school board to city council to state house to federal office … the Republicans want control so they can shove their antiquated ideals down everyone’s throats. When will it stop?

Share Your Thoughts