Friday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of 47. Sunrise is 6:49 AM and sunset 7:12 PM for 12h 22m 40s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 10% of its visible disk illuminated.
The Whitewater school board race has attracted attention throughout the district of 20,444 residents, leading to a large number of candidates (12 on the ballot for the primary, 6 remaining on the general-election ballot for three board seats). In an an election like ours, of high interest and intensity, where the candidates comprise roughly two ideological blocks, the out-of-office block could choose a few big issues or instead advance many issues, to see which ones gain traction.
The candidates running as challengers to the board’s existing alignment, as it turns out, have advanced fewer issues than some of their supporters. Indeed, it’s obvious that two challengers (Stephanie Hicks, Christy Linse) would do as well or better on their own than with the help of some of their professed supporters. Indeed, their own efforts served them well in the primary, and at the candidates’ forum on March 11th it was clear yet again that both are more disciplined than their most ardent backers. (Both Hicks and Linse present as candidates of the center-right, but some of their supporters are much farther right, as is the third conservative candidate, Mills.)
Three of the questions from the candidates’ forum attracted less interest from most candidates (and notably Hicks and Linse) than presumably for those who posed the questions. The question about future referendums was one of those three, and I posted about that question yesterday.
The other two were about dual-language learning and CRT:
Whitewater Schools’ Candidates’ Forum 3.11.23, video at 42:17 for a question about dual-language learning (“Would you support a dual language program in schools? And does our district and community have the resources to put in dual language learning?”).
Whitewater Schools’ Candidates’ Forum 3.11.23, video at 1:05:45 for a question about CRT (“What is CRT to you? How does it differ from teaching the real and sometimes harsh truth of American history? And what is your opinion of having CRT, woke, and D E I in the Whitewater United Unified School District schools (DEI standing for diversity, equity and inclusion)?”).
Candidate Lisa Huempfner spoke in support of dual-language learning, video at 46:55, while recognizing that a program like this takes time and should be an elective. (She is the only candidate in the race with professional experience in this field. Her remarks on the subject were informed and balanced.)
No candidate voiced outright opposition to dual-language learning as an elective, and that’s the tell: they’re not as exercised over the topic as are some members of the community, whether strongly for or strongly against.
CRT, critical race theory, drew neither passionate embrace nor rejection, as its not been taught in our schools, isn’t a K12 topic, and isn’t about to become one in Whitewater regardless of the composition of the next board. But CRT has become something like beauty (or, to detractors, ugliness) in the eye of the beholder: the eyes see what the heart wants them to see. (The people who believe they can find CRT in ordinary texts in Whitewater are the sort of people who think the Illuminati, the British Royal family, the Trilateral Commission, the Rothschilds, and George Soros run the world. They don’t, and in any event not one of them could find Whitewater, Wisconsin on a map.)
And so, and so… these topics (like the topic on future referendums) saw less critical commentary from the candidates than from some in the community. This begs the question, however, whether what the candidates profess now will be what officeholders do months from now. That’s a topic for later in this series.