The Texas Republican Party has long trumpeted a defense of “local control” for communities and school districts against what it sees as the abusive authority of federal and state government. In fact, the state party’s official platform makes it explicit, particularly when it comes to public education:
We support school choice and believe that quality education is best achieved by encouraging parental involvement, protecting parental rights, and maximizing local independent school district control. District superintendents and their employees should be made solely accountable to their locally elected boards. We support sensible consolidation of local school districts. We encourage local ISDs to consider carefully the advantages and disadvantages of accepting federal education money.
But State Board of Education member David Bradley, R-
Beaumont Buna, a ringleader of the board’s far-right faction, thinks local communities don’t know how to run their own school districts. Here’s what he had to say at a candidate forum on Monday:
“Everyone likes to say ‘local control,’ but left unchecked, sometimes people don’t always do the best jobs.”
Bradley has served on the state board since the 1990s and is seeking re-election this year. He certainly hasn’t been shy over the years about criticizing the federal government for supposedly meddling in local decisions about education. But he seems all in favor of a top-down approach when it comes to the relationship between the state board on which he sits and local school boards. Apparently, Bradley thinks local folks are fools who just can’t be trusted to know what’s best for their own kids.