Heidi St. John issued several calls to action for those in attendance
For Clark County Today
On Friday (Sept. 8), the Clark County Republican Women (CCRW) hosted a dinner event titled “Standing in the Education Gap.” The two keynote speakers of the well-attended event were local author, speaker, and homeschool advocate Heidi St. John and 2024 Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) candidate Brad Klippert.
St. John, who recently celebrated the grand opening of the new Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center (FPHRC), spoke first and issued several calls to action for attendees.
“Be the people you want your children to be,” she said. “Get involved. Do something!”
St. John spoke on the deterioration of the American family, saying, “It started when parents began dropping their children off on the doorsteps of the schools without knowing who they were leaving them with.” She added that 33 percent of college students think that Communism is better than the Capitalist economy on which our nation was founded.
“I hear politicians constantly talking about natural resources. Well, our children are the most precious natural resources I know of,” she said, adding that many elementary-aged children aren’t familiar with the basics of America, such as the Founding Fathers. She said many of the schools are more concerned with students’ pronouns than helping them learn about true history and other academic subjects. One of the main purposes for FPHRC, St. John said, is to teach children what it means to stand for freedom by their parent’s examples.
The center started with 150 students when it moved into the building on NE 112th Avenue in Vancouver. Over 1,700 students have registered for classes during the 2023-2024 school year, which starts for the center on Monday (Sept. 11). Aside from classes for school-aged children, it will also offer parenting and marriage workshops.
“The family is under assault right now…the family is the cornerstone, the bedrock of the culture. If the family is torn down, the culture will cease to exist. That’s exactly what the Marxists are trying to do,” St. John said.
St. John also announced the beginning of a new project for Firmly Planted Family, which is Firmly Planted Action. “We are launching this 501(c)(4) with the goal of bringing integrity back to civic engagement,” St. John said, “and to encourage people to get involved, use their voices, and begin again to show our children what Thomas Jefferson implored us to do, and that is to train up the rising generation so that we don’t let freedom slip away.”
The kickoff of Firmly Planted Action will be celebrated on Mon., Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the new resource center building.
During Klippert’s presentation, he brought up the Washington OSPI report card issued in April of 2023. According to the information gathered by OSPI, 50.7 percent of students enrolled in public schools meet English Language Art standards, 37.7 percent meet math standards, and 42.7 percent meet science standards. Additionally, only 67.2 percent of students regularly attend school.
“It used to be when I was a School Resource Officer [SRO], attendance was much higher,” Klippert said, “But that’s because parents would call if their kids weren’t wanting to get out of bed to go to school and then I would show up to their house. I would give them two options: they could get up and get dressed and I would give them a ride to school, or they could get up and I would take them to juvenile detention, because it’s against the law to not go to school. Guess how many of them I drove to juvenile detention? Zero!”
Klippert also brought forth data reported by the State Board of Education, which showed a significant decline in public school enrollment. Private school enrollment has “jumped” 25 percent in three years, and homeschooling has seen a 42 percent increase in the same time period.
He discussed the newly enacted Senate Bill 5599, which allows the state of Washington to withhold children and their location from their parents if the child says they want to transition their gender or get an abortion.
“This bill has got to go,” he said. “Republicans, Democrats, Independents, it doesn’t matter – they all care about their children and they all agree this bill is egregious. It’s another example of completely partisan legislation passing.
“I want to empower teachers to teach academics, empower parents to parent their children, and see nothing but transparency,” Klippert said, adding that it’s important to encourage technical training as well as traditional academics, ensuring that all students can earn a family wage. “We don’t need to lower our expectations for students. Our children can rise to those expectations.”
“I believe in equality of students, not equity,” he continued. “Like the great Martin Luther King, Jr., I believe people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Children can learn no matter their skin color- we should be treating all children equally.”
Klippert indicated that his goal is to have the above-mentioned statistics all reach 100 percent. “People tell me that’s impossible. I say, why would you want a superintendent who doesn’t want every single student to meet expectations and excel?”
Jennifer Heine-Withee, who is running for a seat with the Washington State Board of Education, also spoke briefly during the dinner meeting. She spoke about the general assembly, which takes place in September every year and is when every school district across the state is supposed to come together to vote on policies, positions, etc. Many smaller school districts have stopped attending due to the weighted vote system, which allows the larger school districts to have as much as 30 votes, while smaller districts only get one.
Heine-Withee said it’s extremely important for all districts to attend the meeting this year, as the weighted vote actually has the potential to vanish from the assembly. The process will be voted on this year, and that vote will not be under a weighted system, meaning each district will receive one vote to pass or fail the removal of the weighted vote for the foreseeable future. She also joined St. John and Klippert in encouraging teachers to steer clear of the unions.
- WA congressional delegation votes for continued funding of federal governmentWashington state’s entire congressional delegation on Saturday voted in favor of legislation that will temporarily continue federal government funding through mid-November.
- Opinion: Small districts vote to restore democracy to their statewide associationLiv Finne believes an increasing number of parents and local school board members want schools to drop partisan political causes and focus on providing a good education to their children.
- Fight over freedom of speech heads to state Supreme CourtA lifelong conservation officer in Idaho is being taken to the Idaho Supreme Court for expressing his opinion in opposition to a rich landowner’s plan to build his own private airport.
- Clark County interim fire marshal lifts county wide burn banClark County Interim Fire Marshal Curtis Eavenson has lifted the ban on outdoor debris-burning fires in unincorporated Clark County effective immediately.
- October schedule set at North Clark Historical MuseumVolunteers at the North Clark Historical Museum invite area residents to attend and participate in the October schedule of events at the museum.
- Area businesses, community members to be honored for commitment to individuals with developmental disabilitiesBusinesses and individuals who are making a difference in the lives of people with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities will be honored at the Disability Employment Awareness Awards.
- Letter: ‘(Kevin) Peterson himself ultimately is responsible for his death’Vancouver resident Ann Donnelly shares her perspective on the lawsuit filed by the family of Kevin Peterson against the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and others.