Linswritings

“MAD” moms taking on local School Boards

Posted on: July 1, 2011

There were “soccer moms” who changed the political tone many years ago as well as Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Now there may be another set of moms who may be changing the local school board political tone. They are called “MAD”(Mothers Against Debt) moms.

This organization was started by Amy Oliver of Golden, Colorado. The organization’s stated mission is to get moms worried about the
government debt their children will inherit and encourage them to ask questions against government spending in their communities. Founder, Amy Oliver, is a popular conservative morning radio talk show host in the Denver area and works at a Golden-based libertarian think tank, the Independence Institute. MAD was her idea, and it’s funded by the libertarian group.

She is trying to change the paradigm about government debt. Take for instance the numerous fees that public schools are charging for kids to “just walk in the front door,” with no accountability as to where the money really goes. She is encouraging moms to confront their school boards and demand that they become more fiscally responsible. She sees this issue as a child welfare issue and calls the problem as fiscal child abuse.

As a result she is inspiring moms to get more involved in local school spending. While school board budgets and federal spending involve two different pots of money, the core issue is the same.  So MAD has a project called “Citizen Auditors,” in which concerned community members learn how to read city budgets and file Freedom of Information requests.

Take for instance, one MAD mom found out about a $3,000 cell phone bill in her district. She also found out that her school district  collects $676,000 in parking permit fees annually. With these fees what are they getting and where is the money going from all this money?

Unfortunately, Moms who question schools boards often find they are met with “intellectual bullies,” who scoff at supposedly naive questions posed during school board meetings. What these bullies should know is that they shouldn’t mess with MAD moms. Look what the “soccer moms” did politically.

Now you may think that MAD moms sound like the Tea Party, but Oliver says that with ballooning debt and a mother’s concern for her kids’ future, this is a non-partisan issue. In addition, all this government spending for education has been promoted for “the kids.” Oliver found that this is not true. The spending is for the people in the system and not for the kids. Our country spends more money per capita on schools and the results are dismal.

She further states that at every level of government, the real costs are fixed, through long-term teacher contracts, long-term retirement and medical promises. These are structural problems that can’t be fixed overnight. That is why many states such as Wisconsin and Ohio are reigning in the teachers union by taking away their power to negotiate wages, medical and pensions. The states cannot afford it and neither can the tax payers.

If every “mom” would get involved in this project, perhaps they can help control or even fix the escalating cost of education.

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