Letter to Superintendent Arntzen: Keep up the good fight


We are writing to rebut the unauthorized “no trust” letter recently sent to you by some rogue principals. These superintendents have spoken without permission from their local school boards or the parents and students they claim to serve. We remind you and the media that Superintendents are nothing more than unelected bureaucrats who do not represent the people of the State of Montana. The people elected you twice and we are delighted that they did. We sincerely thank you for the compassionate, professional and unwavering support you provide to local school boards and, above all, to parents and students. We are so proud of you and the work you do.

The people have elected you for the second time as a token of our approval of your superb performance during your first term. As parents and administrators, we wish to affirm your overwhelmingly positive response to the interests of parents and students. You showed courage and endurance in receiving an avalanche of public commentary last year. You have responded with commendable vigor to parents asking for your help in pushing back on unelected school officials and their hugely unpopular agenda. You have helped parents resist the Superintendent’s forced masking programs and fairness policies. You have helped parents display and ban pedophile grooming materials like “Gender Queer” and “Lawn Boy”. You brought to the attention of the Montana Attorney General the concerns of parents about racist critical racial theory programs, which said the hateful material and messages violate Montana human rights law. Despite the hatred of the left, you have taken on these burdens on behalf of the vast majority of parents in Montana who oppose the radical agenda of the school bureaucrats. Montana has rarely seen a more effective advocate for parents and students.

Not satisfied with these accomplishments, you also spent enormous resources and time responding to parents with committed commitment, tirelessly traversing the state, in all weather, speaking face to face with parent groups about what is happening. is most important to them. You have been a strong advocate for parents’ rights over Superintendents and their radical agenda. You are a true pioneer and champion of parental rights and parental choice.

Thank you for the hard work of eradicating waste, fraud and abuse from the tired and entrenched OPI bureaucracy. Yes, the reform in the name of the people who elected you has indeed caused upheaval. Reform, however, was not only long overdue, but absolutely necessary. You have shown “true courage” in refusing to be intimidated by defenders of the failed status quo. Montana’s educational institutions have struggled for at least 20 years with established unions and minority party bureaucrats. The clear majority of Montanais – who elected you – now expect and demand change, not only in failing policies, but also in failing staff. This is called “accountability”. And you delivered.

Whenever a particular school board or commissioner needs advice, assistance or direction, whether it’s on the niceties of the board or legal compliance or how best to approach a local problem, you have faithfully helped anyone who has asked for your advice. You have worked tenaciously to help parents and school counselors with the range of tools available to you. You have been successful in securing and securing funding for local schools from a variety of state and federal resources. You have always focused on parents and students – and you have put the power in their hands, not in the hands of unelected school bureaucrats. Your success in putting parents and students first, and administrators and teacher unions second, is why these bureaucrats have now attacked you with such crude venom.

In the end, the superintendents targeted you because of the idea that got you elected. Superintendents hate the idea that parents have the basic right to direct the education, education, health care and mental health of their children. Shame on them.

Keep up the good fight, Elsie. You shine as an example to all of us.

Michael Gehl is a Trustee of the Missoula County Public Schools. Jim Riley is administrator of the Smith Valley School District in Kalispell. This letter was sent to State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen and signed by 21 Republican lawmakers in the state, five school board administrators and more than 500 citizens.

About Natalee Broderick

Natalee Broderick

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