A Hermon third grade teacher who also heads the Hermon Teachers Association has a message for parents who are upset with the content of classroom instruction: Buy a new house and get out.
“To the citizens of Hermon, the fact is, we work in a public district, our schools are for every child, educators here know what’s best for our students, we have the training, we have the knowledge, we have the experience, please trust us,” said Hermon Education Association President Erin York in an October 3 public meeting.
“And those of you that don’t trust us, you can take your children elsewhere. If you think there is a better fit for your family, do it,” said York, who is also a third grade teacher in the district.
York made the combative as part of a defense of teachers in the face of escalating criticism over the presence of explicit sexual content in schools, as well as instruction involving left-wing theories on race, gender, and human sexuality.
Although York makes it sound as simple as selecting the best school for your child, it’s not as easy as shopping around for school supplies. Under Maine law, a child’s school is determined by the zip code of their home rather than parental choice. So what York is effectively telling parents is: If you don’t like what we’re doing, go enter the highly competitive housing market, take out a mortgage with skyrocketing interest rates, and move away from all your friends in Hermon.
York’s solution might be available to wealthy families in the district, but getting your child into a choice school isn’t that easy for middle class or lower income families who find it harder to vote with their feet. In recent years, advocates for education reform have pushed changes to public school funding that would make York’s suggestion less regressive and more feasible for all income levels. Those reforms follow the general practice of funding the students rather than the school systems. Under this model, schools would compete for students — and the funding that follows — whereas presently there is little competition between schools.
The Hermon school district has been locked in a bitter dispute with parental rights activist Shawn McBreairty over sexually explicit content the district has made available to young students.
York’s remarks were flagged in reporting Jackson Elliott of The Epoch Times.