Below is a letter of encouragement from one of our supporters.
School Board Election Considerations and Endorsements
Prominently displayed on the Great Seal of the United States is the Latin phrase
“E Pluribus Unum” that is commonly translated as, “Out of many, one.” Though
we have experienced internal struggles and problems over our nation’s history,
this motto has reflected that we are one nation that has risen and is comprised of
people who come from many nations and cultures. Today, people from nations all
over the world choose to come here to be a part of our nation for the
opportunities and liberty it offers.
November 8th, Election Day, is at hand and with it, voters have a critically
important decision to make that will affect the focus of leadership within the
Rochester Public School system and the quality and value of the education
students in our community will receive going forward.
People in our nation, and in our community, are divided ideologically, politically,
spiritually, and morally along many lines. In contrast our present school board is
comprised of seven members who reflect a seemingly uniform moral and social
view that does not reflect the diverse moral values in our community. The board
members vote unanimously on matters that violate values and convictions of
large segments of our community. Though this may be mistaken at times for
consensus which seems good, the decisions do not represent a healthy consensus
of the families in the community our schools serve.
By promoting things that violate moral values of people in our community our
school board has in effect excluded such people and the values they hold. The
schools have effectively taken the place of parents, families, and even God in
deciding what values are modeled, taught, and promoted. This is especially
evidenced by what our school board has allowed in the realm of sex education,
and in signs displayed that directly insult the sacred values many of us hold and
are afraid to express because of the ugly backlash that comes when we do. One of
the worst tragedies among the sexualization and gender perversions going on is
the concept of transgenderism and gender affirming care. This is especially
dangerous to children and minors because of the lifelong infertility and
irreversible genital mutilation it can lead to. It has led to deep regrets and
damaged lives of people who have gone on that path.
This is not a place our schools should be and the incumbent candidates, along
with the new candidate (in my opinion based on how I have heard him speak of
his opponent) who is endorsed by the incumbents, offer no respect of these
values and no protection to the families or teachers who hold them. No teachers
or families should ever be required to be trained, to act, or to affirm anything that
is in violation of their conscience, moral convictions, or religious values. But that is
the direction leaders in our schools have taken under the banner of Diversity,
Equity and Inclusion. DEI is a Trojan horse for all manner of things not universally
acceptable in our community or nation.
In anticipation of backlash people get for speaking as I am, please know that I
fully support civil rights and the nondiscrimination laws of our nation. I respect
the First Amendment that protects our right to freedom of speech and worship. I
also support giving all students all the help we can within our means to meet their
academic needs. I want all of them from every race, gender, creed, religion, and
culture to succeed in life, liberty, and their pursuit of happiness. This includes all
people who hold different ideologies, political persuasions, religious beliefs, and
moral values than I do. They should never be excluded from or discriminated
against in our schools. This is in the spirit of the motto “E Pluribus Unum” which
all of us should aspire to. Sadly, that is not the case today as I stated above. There
is a severe blind spot in the three incumbent candidates and the new one running
with them. I am one of multiple people who have tried to work through this with
the incumbents and found them unwilling.
For these reasons and the declining academic performance of our students under
their leadership, I support and will vote for Kim Rishavy, Elena Niehoff, Rae
Parker, and John Whelan to be our new school board members. I have had both
the privilege and pleasure of meeting and getting to know each of them over the
past 18 months. They’re people of great integrity, character, and values who care
dearly for all our students, families, and teachers. They have been
mischaracterized as often happens in campaigns. They are unique individuals with
diverse backgrounds, cultural experiences, and talents, and gifts that meld well.
They have each demonstrated their ability to do the research necessary and to
learn what is needed for understanding and solving problems. They have
demonstrated their individuality and ability to disagree with and contrast their
ideas with each other and others. They have demonstrated the ability to work
through problems and reach mutually acceptable solutions which is a necessary
skill needed to effectively lead our schools. I have confidence they will do so with
all they work with and all the families they serve in the schools.
You may have heard others, as I have, saying that the 4 Your Children candidates
have less experience and knowledge of how schools work. I will vehemently
disagree that they lack anything on the experience level. They bring needed
experiences and perspectives that the present board sorely lacks. You would
expect them to have some learning curve to go through considering that three of
their opponents have served a combined 24 years on the board. In spite of their
time served, our students’ academic performance has declined over that time
span and more steeply in recent years because of decisions they have made. It is
better to have new leaders who recognize the problems this has caused and are
willing to change course to correct this. We need new leaders who will respect all
parents’ rights, teachers, and students while ensuring that schools are open and
transparent in all their operations. Parents should never have to fight to find out
what is happening in our schools.
If this is what you want to see in Rochester Public Schools, I hope you will join
with me in voting for Kim Rishavy, Elena Niehoff, Rae Parker, and John Whelan.
All four of them will be on your ballot if you live within the Rochester School
District. Please vote for all four of them if the values I expressed matter to you
and you want to see the changes necessary to respect them and improve our
Sincerely and respectfully,
Ray Hicks, Rochester