Pulling Back the Curtain: Who is Behind the Rochester School Board Election?

Below is another letter from one of our supporters.

Rochester School Board Voters Be Aware

The cycle described in the attached article (link here) is operating in full force
in the current Rochester School Board elections. The local teacher union, Rochester
Education Association (REA), has been funding campaign mailings and organizing
campaign activities in support of our opponents. They have chosen to do so because
they believe that our opponents are aligned with their own interest and initiatives
more than we are.

Things you need to be aware of are:

1) The union, REA, does not represent you or the values, needs, and rights of

parents, families, and students. They represent themselves and teachers first.

2) REA does not answer to you in any way.

3) The school board is supposed to always represent family, student, and community

interests, even when that is at odds with the interests of unions and other unelected


4) You are electing school board members not a union.

5) REA has a monopoly in our district representing the teachers in all manner of

labor and benefit issues with the school district.

6) REA is funded by union dues that teachers pay.

7) REA is using union money to support our opponents even though some of the

teachers, that they are supposed to represent, support us.

8 ) REA chooses to support candidates they believe will operate our school district as

they want even when that differs with what you want.

9) If REA endorsed and funded candidates are elected, they will face temptation to

manage the schools as REA wants even when that is not what you want and not

what is best for students and families.

10) Teacher unions were a major force prolonging school closures when officials said

it was safe for students to return to in person school. Unions kept teachers out as

bargaining leverage making your students pawns.

11) Students suffered serious academic losses and mental health effects from this.

Some families suffered financial losses because of it too.

12) Good School Board candidates are those who will prioritize the values of all

families, the needs of all families and students, and the rights of all parents and

guardians above union wishes. The school board is an essential check on the union

for this.

Note: In fairness, points 10 & 11 are not things we all agreed on at the time they
unfolded. They serve as an example though of how unelected organizations such as
unions can have an inordinate adverse influence on things that harm many. The
school board is the local organization we elect that is supposed to help us with our
school concerns. They are the group we entrust to lead and the group we should be
able to appeal to, not just speak at. Many tried and were not treated well for doing
so. Compromise solutions were possible but we did not see our board considering
our appeals and needs to find or implement them. They were a “one size fits all” “do
as we say group”. Trouble is that their decisions did not fit all and they harmed
many. A lot of us knew that as it was happening. We need board members who are
able to perceive this and willing to do much better than they were willing to do.

If what I shared concerns and troubles you, please consider and vote for the parent
endorsed, Minnesota Parent Association (MPA) candidates JOHN WHELAN, KIM
RISHAVY, ELENA NIEHOFF, & RAE PARKER who are not funded by union money and
not beholden to the union. JOHN, KIM, ELENA, & RAE support teachers and respect
the values, needs, and rights of all families. They will represent you. They will work
for and with you to return Rochester Public Schools to the top notch academic and
support stature that all students and families deserve.

Sincerely & Respectfully,

Ray Hicks

Click link below to see article:

School board races have a history of being political – American Experiment

School board races have a history of being political – American Experiment

The American Experiment story below is another view behind the curtain of how the teacher’s union is pulling the strings.

Rochester teachers’ union in meltdown over school board election (americanexperiment.org)