Op-Ed: Befuddled SuperintendentBy Chad Christensen • February 14, 2023
At times, District 93 School Superintendent Scott Woolstenhulme doesn’t know if he is a politician or a school administrator. He continues to write opinion editorials opposing school choice options for parents and students, among other things. Woolstenhulme has decided that anyone who takes money for their children’s educational savings account from “public funds” must adhere to the same laws, regulations and expectations as the public school system. It is obvious that he loves government and thinks you and your children must adhere to the government’s terms of state standards and expectations if you want to take your tax money elsewhere to educate your child. Woolstenhulme has proven to be the quintessential government bureaucrat, extreme loyalty to the system.
PhD Woolstenhulme has a really hard time comprehending a simple section of the Idaho Constitution. He would like you to believe that the required “free education” portion of the Idaho Constitution means that taxpayer dollars cannot support anything else. This is absolute manipulation. Article IX Section 1 requires the state to maintain a free public education system. Great, I can support that without the current top heavy administrative costs. For example, we don’t need two district administrations in the Idaho Falls area. The Idaho Constitution doesn’t prohibit tax money supporting school choice. If taxpaying parents wish to take their taxpayer dollars to a private school; there is nothing abhorrent about that. It is their money, not the government’s. I liken Woolstenhulme’s thoughts on taxpayer dollars to Obama’s ideology of taxpayer dollars. Bureaucrats, such as Woolstenhulme and Obama, love to think of taxpayer dollars as the property of the government and anything associated with that money must adhere to government regulation. This ideology puts the government in charge, not We the People. Apparently, We the People is a hard concept for Woolstenhulme. He has a hard time understanding that legislators represent their constituents and if these constituents want school choice; then it is the duty of those legislators to support and/or sponsor such bills.
School choice has gained a lot of traction in Idaho. My word, Utah just adopted it into law. Sadly, Idaho is usually catching up to other state’s conservative legislation. Idaho might be a red state, but we are not a conservative state. This was verified to me during my time in the legislature. I was often referred to as the most conservative legislator in the state for 4 years. I was a target because of it. If we were truly a conservative state; the establishment would have protected me.
It is very apparent that Woolstenhulme doesn’t want competition with his public-school empire. He doesn’t want his inflated salary of 155k a year to be jeopardized. No one is proposing getting rid of the public school system, but school choice could very well downsize their monopoly and that terrifies Woolstenhulme and the industrial educational complex. School choice advocates are not wishing to violate the Idaho Constitution by exterminating the public school system, but Woolstenhulme and even his wife wish the general public to believe that taxpayer funded school choice is a violation of the Idaho Constitution. Again, this is classic manipulation. Parents are tired of the woke agenda in our public-school systems. School choice will help put this woke garbage in check within the public school system. If parents become exhausted with their children being bombarded with woke garbage; they can choose to go somewhere else. I firmly believe that Woolstenhulme understands this. If he focused on his job, not politics, and kept the woke agenda out of our school system; then he wouldn’t have the competition that he clearly fears.
Last year, a concerned constituent came to me and showed me evidence of a gay pride flag hanging in a Black Canyon Middle School classroom. I could care less that a teacher supports gay pride or LBGTQ activities, but the children in his/her classroom do not need to know about it! Woolstenhulme has proven to support this woke agenda and allows such activity in the district he supervises.
The reality is that parents are exasperated with this woke agenda being pushed upon their children. However, Woolstenhulme still expects these same parents to fund a monopolized system. My former political opponent, Josh Wheeler, also does not support school choice. He gives homage to the beast of a system.
My advice to Woolstenhulme is to cut out the politics. Do your job as an administrator and stop criticizing those lawmakers that are pushing school choice for their constituents. Your job is to follow the laws that those lawmakers create, not criticize. Since when is the job description of a school superintendent to be a political lobbyist? How many op-eds has Woolstenhulme written in his school administrative office? Are taxpayers paying him to be a lobbyist? Enough is enough, Woolstenhulme!
Former Representative Chad Christensen
This Op-Ed was submitted by Chad Christensen. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
Tags: Chad Christensen, Education Funding, Idaho Constitution, Idaho Falls, Public Schools, School Choice, School District 93, Scott Woolstenhulme, Woke Agenda
18 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Befuddled Superintendent”
More good stuff from Chad. Thanks for all you do and have done for Idaho
So , as I’ve read the Idaho news this morning I’ve come to a few new realizations of what it means to live in a “red” state. The legislature and governor are going to spend the state into conservatism. The establishment class will keep Idaho red , by supporting democrats in general elections . Idaho Republican Party Committee delegates , even though one of them didn’t live in Idaho at the time of the election ,will vote for a national committee chair that we didn’t want , because they know better than you . School superintendents know how to spend your money better than you do and the government will buy their votes with $400,000,000 more of your money , because the men and women elected to “represent” the common man , don’t really care what you want.
Sounds about right
Time for a massive home school collective.
Unionized teachers are not the best value for their cost to the taxpayers.
Great exposé! It’s so terrific to see you back, Chad. You are my hero.
I have sit and listen to hours of Testimony on S-1038 Education Savings accounts most of the opposition came from older teachers and Presidents over all the School districts and Presidents over school Boards some are older retired teachers are known for their support of sexualization of our Children all asking for more money for public schools in my opinion we need to education the all the Children in Idaho even the ones that are pulling Children daily from a failing Public School System and deciding to Home school, As the Education monarchy scream there is no accountability in In Bill S-1038 from what I read in the Bill it has more accountability then our Public Education Districts,Not all want the help but in my area there is a lot of people with out deep pockets to Homeschool that this will be a blessing to to them and the Children,From all the highly Skilled Educators not one gave a answers to what to do with the Parents that chosen to Home school I guess there answer is leave the Children behind ,This is Idaho and not one Child deserve to be left behind,Thank you Former Representative Chad Christensen
My homeschooled children in the elementary grades had better grammar and punctuation than Steve Burch. How did this obviously uneducated man get into office? If he is an example of what our public schools produce, then we are heading for disaster at breakneck speed! With school choice, parents whose children are getting his kind of education can pull their children out of public schools and put them in a school, either charter or homeschool, where they will truly learn to read, write and do their math, as well as think for themselves!
Jean, I got by popular vote Jean I think we are both for S-1038
I got in by popular vote
After listening to most of the last 2 days of testimony, at least 95% of the public school teachers are against this bill. Why??? Test scores of Idaho students say that less than 50% of the students are proficient of their respective grade levels. Teachers should be ashamed of that benchmark. What is the solution? More money to the public schools? School choice with ESA available to all students?
What do you do when you have a failing entity? Throw more money at it or let people take their business elsewhere. Currently private schools are only for those that can afford them. ESA’s will let the lower income parents make the best choices for their children to get the best education.
I testified the 1st day of Testimony for SB 1038 in favor of School choice. I was surprised to learn that not all government school system Teachers are in Favor monopoly education. Unfortunately, most of the current school teachers of public education appear to be against this bill for fear of job security And not concerned with quality education for all students. I’m glad to see the Senate Education Committee made the right Decision to send this Issue to Senate floor for Full Debate. Being a retired substitute teacher for VHS, with 7 years of tenure, I found the same opinion of Other Veteran school teachers, Nothing has been mentioned about the real quality of government education is failing. Most of us have found that elementary years in public schools have been successful in quality education for younger students. When these same students reach middle school or high school The quality of education diminishes. The biggest problem at this level of education is becomes A large percentage of kid’s are bored and disconnected from academics. For whatever reason at this level, teachers fail to connect With these kids why we are learning these skills for future life. In Public Education where the real rubber meets the road, ask the Students why this Bordem and disconnect happens. You will find too
Many times the Common answer from students is they don’t understand how they’re going to use this in future life. I’m not sure if the problem layes with to large classroom sizes, lack of real life experience Among new teachers or Lack of teaching the importance and understanding of How students will use this education in their future. This is the main reason that School Choice is becoming and will continue to be more and more of an issue. If government run public education can’t fix this problem, School Choice is a very good alternative for competition to improve education, Not Destroy it. As I said in My testimony it is a win win for everyone.
I sent my kids to a private as a citizen who ofttimes wondered how we were going to pay the bills. When I first heard about this bill I thought it would be a good thing. Some states have this bill in their state. They are saying that now with this bill, the government is regulating the parents much more. For example, with the money, you have to buy
their recommended computers, their recommended homeschooling programs, their recommended textbooks, their recommended piano teacher for music, etc. the recommended computers etc are triple the money. Are you seeing the picture? Now everything to educate the child is more expensive. If you look around at any entity that the government runs you will see many examples of this like fire equipment, any kind of equipment used for the government. Unfortunately this trickles down to the people. It takes away our liberty and enslaves us economically. One mother was heard to comment, “All well, it’s free money.” No, like so much we are seeing around us today. It will catch up with us.
SB1038 has a few problems. ANY money requested and granted WILL be under the auspices of the Dept of Ed and the State Treasurer. ANY MONEY. The government has the RIGHT to audit quarterly, and/or annually to make certain the money is being spent properly. It will only be allowed for use at a “qualified schools” which means either Home schools are disallowed OR they must NOW make a new law that forces home schools to register with the state to become “qualified”. It creates departments within 2 departments to administer (more taxpayer funded employees?) and has other issues. Though I believe the intention is good, it actually opens the door for MORE GOVERNMENT CONTROL of non-public schools. There have to be other ways of taking the burden of the public schools OFF of the taxpayers that need to be explored. SB1038 is not the answer.
What, Chad, no more “bromance” with Scott? Say it ain’t so.
The author is correct. Idaho is a Republican state not conservative. I finally figured this out when all the zombies turned out to vote for Nonbianary Brad Little.