Intimidation comes in many forms and often serves as a deterrent to civic engagement. A Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) District 6 candidate forum at East High School 4/13/15 featuring incumbent Katie McLeese Stephenson and Matt Schulte, quickly steered away from student learning. McLeese Stephenson supporters thrust sexual orientation and gender-identity issues front and center in an attempt to intimidate and smear Schulte. He was accused of being intolerant and further on the right than other board members. Matt was questioned as to how he would be able to work with them. “Matt Schulte remained composed and humble as he withstood the attack…” (Julia Kercher, Lincoln Journal Star (LJS) 4/27/15)
Matt explained to me, “At Campus Life (a non-profit organization he runs for before and after-school care) we have a saying that ‘everyone is welcome’. We try to create an environment that is safe for kids from all different walks of life… whether that teen is in jail, the captain of the football team, pregnant, or an awkward 7th grader. We want kids to feel safe. That’s the same environment I’d like to see in our schools. Every kid is welcome no matter what. I would find common ground and move forward.”
Taxpayers expect board members’ concern for students to extend to learning and achievement. McLeese Stephenson has served on the Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) board since 2011. During that time, the LPS 2013-2014 annual report reveals LPS average ACT scores were below the state and national average ACT score in EVERY subject. (link) Less than 8% of LPS students who took the Advanced Placement Calculus (AP Calc) class in 2012-2013 passed the AP Calc test with a grade of 3,4 or 5. (link)
Ironically, activists for ‘diversity’ demand groupthink. This angry, below-the-waist special-interest group is expert at distracting citizen/voters from serious issues facing our school district and nation. In addition, public education’s focus on sexuality and sexual behaviors (as discussed in previous columns-link) serves as a great transformer of values. Sexual orientation and gender-identity issues are used widely to divide, punish and smear Americans. Small food and floral businesses have been forced to close and fined 6 figure sums for failure to accommodate same-sex nuptials, which violate their religious beliefs.
America must do a better job of preparing her youth for protecting the republic with liberty and justice for ALL. Education leaders who prioritize a sexuality agenda, as opposed to student learning and achievement, impede student success. McLeese Stephenson has had four years to improve student learning. For the children’s sake, she should step aside.
“We don’t want any thinking men….Teach them to conform.”
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead 1943