TASB Monopoly Challenged by New School Board Assn.

TASB Alternative
Student walking with parent | Image by VesnaArt/Shutterstock

A nonprofit is launching several alternative services for local school boards looking to leave the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), marking a significant moment amidst a growing schism in Texas public education.

Texans for Excellence in Education (TEE) announced in a press release that it would be offering group insurance, legal services, policy templates, school board trustee training approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and cooperative purchasing agreements, among other services.

“For years, school boards and trustees across Texas have grown increasingly frustrated with TASB, but they haven’t had an alternative in the marketplace until now,” said Hava Armstrong, the executive director for TEE, per the release.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Carroll ISD’s school board voted back in late March to allow its TASB membership to lapse, citing the trade group’s alleged left-leaning bias and ideologically-infused policy guidance and training. It was the first school board to do so, a decision praised by some state lawmakers.

Following the announced impending departure of the Carroll ISD school board from TASB, the latter shot off a letter advising school attorneys that any use of TASB proprietary materials by nonmember school boards would constitute copyright infringement.

“Basically it’s just a threat letter. They’re trying to figure out how to hold on to the business that they have,” Frisco ISD Marvin Lowe previously said to The Dallas Express.

The organization had also previously garnered criticism for its slow response to the National School Board Associations’ controversial letter to the Biden administration, which referred to parents who were showing up to protest at school board meetings in 2021 as “a form of domestic terrorism,” as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

TASB ended up leaving the national group more than four months after the letter was sent.

In an emailed statement to The Dallas Express from early May, TEE’s Armstrong said:

“Over the last few years, Texans have been in shock over the disdain TASB has shown towards parents and their voices. Texans revolted as TASB’s umbrella organization called parents ‘domestic terrorists.’ Parents, school board members and trustees across Texas are hungry for a non-partisan alternative which gives parents a voice again and prioritizes educational outcomes free from political indoctrination. TEE will do just that.”

TEE’s press release also argued that it could serve as a more cost-effective alternative to TASB.

“School boards are tired of the poor service, low return on investment of taxpayer dollars, and the far-left politics masquerading as so-called ‘model policies’ and ‘legal guidance,'” Armstrong said. “The truth is TASB is a bad deal for Texas public schools and has used its position of influence to push a political agenda into our kid’s classrooms.”

The Dallas Express reached out to TASB for comment on its new competitor. TASB President Debbie Gillespie wrote back in an email:

“[T]here are already alternatives to some TASB services and training, and I do believe it is always good for school districts and school boards to have options in the marketplace. I myself have taken advantage of other training opportunities either in person or online,” Gillespie said.

She went on to note that it is unclear how competitive the new organization will be in terms of pricing.

A TASB spokesperson commented further, claiming that it could not determine whether TEE has registered with the Texas Secretary of State yet.

“We always encourage school districts to go out to the market for competitive proposals on any type of service or solution to ensure local tax dollars are being spent wisely. It’s especially important, however, for school districts to do their research when evaluating a new business that has no track record in Texas public education,” the spokesperson said.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *