Concerns Over Academics and Critical Race Theory Lead to Recall of Mequon-Thiensville School Board | WUWM 89.7 FM
As you drive through the Milwaukee suburbs of Mequon and Thiensville, there are visual signs of a divided community.
On Cedarburg Road outside City Hall, blue and white signs opposing a Nov. 2 school board mark the election line on one side of the street. Red and black pro-recall signs line the other side. Supporters from each group sit at tables to answer questions.
âYou hear a lot of horns as people beep for the table of their choice,â said Nancy Urbani, one of the local parents who run the anti-recall table.
Parents and political groups unhappy with the virtual school, mask mandates and “critical race theory” are increasingly targeting school boards with recall campaigns.
In Wisconsin, most recall attempts failed to secure enough signatures to take off.
But in the Mequon-Thiensville school district, an impeachment attempt of four of the seven board members obtained enough signatures and was passed on November 2. The other members were not targeted as they had not been on the board for a long time. sufficient to be eligible for the recall.
Urbani is the treasurer of the Coalition to Support MTSD, a support group for the current school board.
“We do not agree with this recall,” said Urbani. “We support the incumbents for a wide variety of reasons, one of which is simply because they haven’t done anything wrong.”
Across the street is Kris Kittell, one of the candidates vying to overthrow the incumbents.
“We are not satisfied with – they [opposing side] seem to be happy that we’re in the top 30% of the country with our test scores, âKittell said. “I don’t think that’s good enough for a district like this, which has these [many] resources and parental involvement. We should be doing better. “
The organizers of the recall say academic decline is the main reason they campaigned for this special election. The latest DPI report card for the school district gives it the highest ranking of “significantly exceeding expectations.”
But another problem resonates with voters. Mequon resident Dick Fischer voted early at town hall last week.
“I am not a fan of CRT [critical race theory]”Fischer said.” I don’t think this should have a place. You can tell the story of the country’s history, but you don’t need to point out the parts that one group distrusts or hates another group. “
Critical Race Theory is a concept sometimes taught in higher education that racism is woven into American institutions. The Mequon-Thiensville school district says CRT is not taught in the classroom. But recall organizer Amber Schroeder said the CRT’s “ideology” had caught on in the district through contracts with equity consultants.
âWe started to implement equity instead of equality,â Schroeder said. âWe want kids to reach for the stars, we don’t want to limit their learning, we don’t want to bring kids to the top and bring them to the middle so that we can close the gap. And that’s what they’re trying to do. with the implementation of equity in the district. â
This backlash against equity efforts is occurring in school districts across the country – with the support of national Republican groups and donors. Candidates for Mequon’s recall are backed by conservative billionaire Dick Uihlein and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch.
>> Conservatives organize in school battles, including in Wisconsin
“This, I think, is politically motivated,” said Wendy Francour, one of the school board members affected by the recall. “It is an indicator of where we are as a country.”
Francour is adamant that she hasn’t done anything wrong and that the recall is motivated by misinformation.
âThe community needs to get this vote because this recall process cannot become the norm; for our community, for any of the other communities that are undergoing exactly the same challenge in our state or our country,â Francour said. “We have to learn to listen to each other because our children are watching us.”
The election takes place on November 2, with ballots open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Elected members will have short terms before their seats are renewed for another vote: two of them in April 2022 and the rest in April 2023.
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