Letter: ‘Nothing will change in our schools if we keep electing union-backed candidates who are there to work for the union and teacher, not the students they were elected to work for’

Vancouver Public Schools student Melanie Gabriel offers her endorsement for Michelle Belkot for Vancouver School Board Position 2

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com 

Melanie Gabriel
Melanie Gabriel

My name is Melanie Gabriel and I will be a freshman in high school in the fall at either Columbia River or Skyview if I get accepted to the magnet program. I am the co-founder of Open Schools USA, the founder of Clark County Student/Parent Union and the founder of Clark County Parents for Education Reform. 

I am writing to endorse Michelle Belkot for Vancouver School district position 2. All three of my grassroot education groups will be endorsing her as well. I met Michelle on December 17, 2020 at the Vancouver School district office at a rally to open schools for in person learning. Michelle and I have been advocating together ever since that day. 

Michelle knows the challenges students and parents faced last year during school shutdowns. She actively attends board meetings on zoom with me. She also has a passion for helping students and looking out for their best interests. She will be a board member who works for her community and always puts students’ best interest first. 

I would like to mention that multiple candidates for 2021 school board positions are backed by the local teachers unions. The teachers union protects teachers. A school board member’s most important role is to work with their communities to improve students’ achievements in their local public school. Having members on the board that are endorsed by teachers unions is a conflict of interest; it is not in the best interest of students. Please have students’ best interest in mind when you vote. Vote for someone who wants to work for your student. Nothing will change in our schools if we keep electing union-backed candidates who are there to work for the union and teacher, not the students they were elected to work for. 

Vote to save students’ futures! Vote Michelle Belkot for Vancouver School Board Position 2.

Melanie Gabriel
VPS Student


  1. Jack Burton

    I applaud a young citizen in our area getting involved and attempting to change the world around them for the better. However, I do have some questions. An endorsement does not mean a candidate works specifically for those endorsing them, it means that whoever provides their endorsement believes that they are the best candidate. Does the author genuinely believe that any candidate with the endorsement of a teacher’s union is automatically anti-student? It is my experience that a vast majority of teachers want what is best for students. Is it possible that there are solutions to problems in education that are best for BOTH students and teachers? Or do we need to simplify things for our local constituency to the teachers versus students claim? Here is the official vision of the Vancouver School Board : “We inspire student success by providing an innovative, caring and responsive learning environment.” Isn’t it possible that teachers may have a role in realizing this vision?
    Here are links to two of the mentioned “grassroots education” groups (couldn’t find anything on the third):

    The extent of the discussions on education consists of the evils of remote learning, masks, and teachers/districts in general. Nothing about pedagogy. Nothing about resources. Nothing about solutions at all really. Education is an extremely complex subject. Running an entire school district cannot be done with sweeping generalizations and blatant partisan agendas. All stake holders should be involved: parents, students, other community members, and yes even teachers.

    Finally, what qualifications does Michelle Belkot possess other than not being endorsed by the unions? You don’t mention any and her campaign Facebook page also lacks any easily discoverable qualifications.

    Keep advocating for the people and causes you believe in. There will always be people that disagree with you, but that’s life.


      I agree with Jack Burton — I too applaud you for your involvement. As a retired Union member I think you might want to do a little more research on the subject. Unions created the rise of the middle class in the 50’s only later to be vilified starting in the Reagan years. I worked in an industry that has over 40 unions and guilds. Labor Relations and the company didn’t have a problem with unions. Just saying.

    1. Melanie

      I’m not union bashing, I’m saying a union endorsed member does not belong on the school board. It’s a conflict of interest! The teachers union influenced the CDC this year. The teachers union taught to keep our schools closed when it had been proven safe to open them. The teachers union does great things for teachers! They protect them and support them and that’s great for teachers! But their interest is only to protect teachers, school board members are elected to work for students! So again all I’m saying is this is a huge conflict of interest.


Leave a Reply

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

buy viagra online where can i buy viagra
buy viagra online where can i buy viagra