Minnesota School Boards Association Terminates Membership With NSBA, Announces Creation Of New National ‘Consortium’

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The Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) terminated its membership with the National School Boards Association on Tuesday, according to a statement released by the organization.

Minnesota is the latest state to leave the National School Boards Association (NSBA) following backlash for a Sept. 29 letter that asked the Biden administration to use statutes, such as the USA PATRIOT Act to stop alleged threats and violence directed toward school board members over actions that could be “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” according to the now-deleted letter that the organization has since apologized for.

On Oct. 4, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum that called on the FBI to “use its authority” against parents who threaten or use violence against public school officials.

“The MSBA Board of Directors acted last week to terminate our membership with NSBA,” a Jan. 4 letter from Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind, addressed to state school board chairs and superintendents said. “Prior to the letter to the Biden administration, we had ongoing concerns regarding the value of membership with the NSBA.”

The MSBA announced plans to form a new Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA) along with the other 18 state school board associations that have also ended their membership with the NSBA, according to the statement. The “consortium” will be a “voluntary, non-partisan federation of state school board associations.”

“The executive directors and staff from the 18-state associations have already created a structure with enormous opportunity,” according to the statement. COSSBA will allow MSBA “to design and build a multi-state association for today and the future”

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In addition to the 19 states who have withdrawn membership, participation, or dues from the NSBA, 28 states have distanced themselves from the NSBA’s letter, according to Parents Defending Education.

The new organization’s goals include supporting the work of state members through collaboration and networking, governance and leadership opportunities, as well as “legislative advocacy on federal educational issues and policies,” according to the letter.

“We are confident that this new opportunity, through a multi-state association, will support and strengthen our efforts in building high performing school boards in each of our school districts,” the statement concluded.

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