John McCroskey Commentary: Parents Need More Choices for Childrens’ Education


In a Sept. 4 commentary in The Chronicle, Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center wrote “the systems and policies of public education have failed, despite the best efforts of teachers and principals.”

That quote got my attention and made me wonder: Have they? I agree that many systems and policies have failed, but have teachers and principals given their best efforts?

I’m sure some have but there are others we read about almost daily that have not. As a parent — and now a grandparent — I have always wanted to know why, at every attempt to give parents school choices, the teachers union fights it? And friendly judges — at the behest of teacher’s unions — overturn options passed by voters for charter schools, or options that dictate that the money follow the child.

But here in Washington, choice is not possible given the political climate we have.

Recently, the Chehalis School Board passed some state-mandated gender identity policy drivel. It was done under the threat of the state withholding some funds, not for failing to produce good readers, writers and arithmetic solvers, but requiring bathrooms be open to whatever gender a child identifies as.

And apparently there isn’t anything parents can do about it. 

But there could be if the money followed the child and parents had a choice.

Sometimes I feel like the school district owes me a refund for teaching me in school that science — and we must follow science — says there are only two genders. Boy and girl. Now, we’re being told that there are all kinds of possible combinations of genders with new ones coming up all the time. 

And we must embrace them all.

To be fair, school districts across the state and elsewhere had to pass the same model policy in the name of inclusiveness and other liberal language. In some places kids are told not to tell parents what they are being taught — which is not only wrong, but nuts.

But it does beg the question: What is the value of locally elected school boards if the state and federal officials can dictate on matters outside reading, writing and arithmetic? And when the state says it will withhold funding, does anyone remind those political hacks (especially unelected ones) it’s the parents’ money in the first place and not theirs to withhold? 

Someone should.

If COVID-19 shutdowns taught us anything, it’s that parents deserve options including private school, many of which never closed. The monopoly that is public education needs to compete especially if our kids are going to and are captive to social engineering and not just reading, writing and arithmetic.


It’s been widely reported that President Joe Biden has issued a mandate on getting vaccinated to federal employees and others. Few, if any, exceptions are allowed, but who is exempt from this? Congress, courts and their staffers of course because “what’s good for thee is not for me,” as the saying goes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in April said it would be a “matter of privacy” but you and I are not going to be afforded that privacy.

Businesses with over 100 employees must comply, but how does the virus know if the company has 100 employees or not? What if they have 99 employees? Does the virus not enter the building? What if there are 100 employees but they work from home? What’s the science that makes 100 employees the magic number? 

From the very beginning, much of this pandemic made little sense. Churches were nonessential, but pot shops, liquor stores and abortion providers were.

Remember during the presidential election when many Democrats condemned the vaccine because President Donald Trump was responsible for getting it done? Many said they wouldn’t take it just because of that, but today it’s a mandate. Despite differing scientific opinions, only the government’s opinion is valid.

Maybe if the politicians who condemned the vaccine during the campaign had not bad mouthed it, people wouldn’t need to be bullied to take it today. Or maybe if they’d stop talking out of both sides of their mouth they’d have some credibility.


John McCroskey was Lewis County sheriff from 1995 to 2005. He lives outside Chehalis and can be contacted at