Remember that game?

1-2-3, NOT IT?!

We'd play it fervently to avoid being IT, in Marco Polo, Hide and Seek or even when your mom asked you to do the dishes.

If you yelled IT first, no matter what it was, you didn't have to do the work.

The Alabama Association of School Boards fall district meeting for District 5 was held on August 30 at Hoover High School. 

And it felt a lot like that game. 

Sources said that during a presentation, the comment was made that "LOCAL Alabama is responsible for disinformation that is leading to a low view of public schools in Alabama."

Essentially, the Alabama Association of School Boards declared themselves NOT IT regarding what's happening in our schools. Whatever else is going on, they are not responsible. Instead, they blamed parents. 

They shifted any accountability away from their association, despite the state of Alabama’s schools’ test scores and rankings. 

They refused to do the hard and humble work of allowing parents to voice concerns and ask questions. 

Even though according to the AASB's website, part of a school board member's job is to inspire a parent or other stakeholder's confidence in a local school. 

Look. I'm sure the AASB didn't mean to yell, NOT IT. 

And I'm sure they didn't mean to shove the blame on the shoulders of a group of parents seeking the betterment of their schools.

I'm sure. 

But what about this? Does this inspire confidence?

Amiebethschoolboards

Also, why on God's green earth is anyone in any school asking any of these questions? 

Or is this another NOT IT moment? Where we're the crazy ones spreading misinformation? 

Because these two questionnaires, used in local schools during the last three weeks, set a terrible tone, which is also part of the job description for a board member with the AASB. 

Again, from their website: "The dedicated public servants who serve on the school board are on the front lines, using their governance role to ensure the best possible outcomes for the students and families they serve."

So. Does asking a student about their pronouns or investigating a child's relationship with their parents qualify as the best possible outcome? 

Is this okay with the AASB? Does this inspire confidence?

Because it seems like schools are invasive with their questions.

And yet, we can't ask ours. 

There is good news. 

It turns out that Alabama parents aren't alone in their concern about what's happening in public schools. 

A new poll says that nearly every one in four American adults is unsatisfied with the state of their nation's K-12 public education.

The latest Gallup poll, released September 1, reports that just 42% of respondents said they're at least somewhat satisfied with the quality of education offered at K-12 public schools in the United States, marking the lowest reading since 2000 (36%).

At the same time, 23% of respondents said they were "completely dissatisfied," and 32% were "somewhat dissatisfied."

And from Ballotpedia: Most voters (56%) believe public school boards do not respect the role of parents. On that point, 34% disagree.

So, Alabama Association of School Boards, will you take all parents' concerns seriously? Or just the ones you feel like answering? 

Because this is just an ad nauseam refresher here, but they are our kids, and y'all are using our money.

And, believe it or not, we want to work with and be heard by you. We do not want to be at odds. 

And yet here we are. 

Dealing with what y'all said. 

That parents are the reason for a low view of schools.

And that we're to blame for promoting disinformation. 

Again, Allison Sinclair: "What they did by pointing out a grassroots parent organization is very reminiscent of what the National Association of School Boards did when they labeled parents being involved and coming to school board meetings as domestic terrorists. Parents shouldn't be seen as the enemy or as a threat. If you want to have good schools, you need to have parents involved."

AASB, you do bear responsibility for what goes on in schools. 

You do set the tone. You are responsible for inspiring confidence. 

So, saying that parents are arbiters of disinformation isn't okay. 

It is disingenuous. It is dishonest. It needs to stop. 

Because at some point, AASB, y'all have to say, we are IT, we are accountable, and we will do whatever it takes to address parents' concerns. 

Because that's what grown-ups do. 

Amie Beth Shaver is a speaker, writer, and media commentator. Her column appears every Wednesday in 1819 News. Shaver served on the Alabama GOP State Executive Committee, was a candidate for State House District 43 and spokeswoman for Allied Women. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.

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