The COVID pandemic of 2020 exposed many fault lines within the education system. What became apparent during this most difficult time is that Democrat politicians and teachers’ unions have been openly politicizing our children’s education. Their influence led to harmful policies like school closures and mask mandates, which continued well into 2022, even once the threat of COVID had passed. It’s time for this politicization to stop.
Parents who had never really given much thought to things like curriculum and the political leanings of teachers were suddenly awakened. Through virtual learning, they began to see and hear things they had previously not been aware of. They also began to realize how much local political positions, such as school director, impact their lives. Prior to 2020, these unpaid elected positions mostly focused on mundane policies like busing, lights on sports fields, and whether high school start times should be pushed back.
But COVID restrictions woke many of these silent parents up. In many cases political affiliation didn’t matter. They were now seeing how important these positions are in dictating if children should be masked while playing sports, tested for COVID to attend in-person school, and a myriad of other dictates.
This was no better exemplified in Central Bucks School District (CBSD). This district of close to 18,000 students and 3000 teachers and staff is the largest suburban district in Pennsylvania. During the election of 2021 (peak COVID) the people elected a solid Republican majority school board (6-3). This caught the attention of not only local and state elected officials but their partners in the media such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times and of course the local online newspapers.
During this current 2023 election the Democrat party sees this district as a lynch pin to maintaining control of Bucks County. So, they have rained money down on the Democrat candidates PAC. This PAC has also received $25,000 from the teacher’s union PSEA. It should be noted that school board directors vote on the union contract. The conflict of interest is hard to wrap one’s mind around.
Just this past week a series of signs began to pop up in the district. These signs were paid for by the Democrat candidates running for the CBSD school board as CBSD Neighbors United. The signs boldly claim, “teachers and staff endorse,” followed by the names of Democrat candidates. Then in very small lettering next to the “teachers and staff” statement, it specifies, “of CBEA and CBESPA.”
This suggests that all teachers and staff endorse the Democrats. This tactic is misleading and ultimately cowardly. Not all individual teachers back candidates who supported school closures, mask mandates, legal actions against our district, reporting our health directors medical license for keeping schools open, and are currently suing our district for $119 million dollars which result is defunding programs for our kids.
The real endorsement comes from a political public sector union that prioritizes teachers over students, as is often the case with unions run by Democrats. Worse, this will potentially make things uncomfortable for children of Republican parents, or young Republican-minded students themselves.
Now the really wild part. Joe Kirsche, as president of CBEA and a teacher at Warwick elementary had fostered improved relations between the school board and the union. This weekend, it was revealed that the signs were never approved by him or the union. He stated so in an email to Superintendent Abe Lucabaugh and Board President Dana Hunter.
In a stunning turn of events, just hours after the public release of his email, Kirsche “resigned” from his union position under suspicious circumstances. This was seemingly due to harassment for speaking out about the unapproved signs and worries of politicizing his teachers. This type of behavior has no place in a teachers’ union and may strain the board-union relationship if a partisan leader takes Kirsche’s place. This is bad for teachers, bad for students, bad for our district, and bad for public education.