There is a difference between reading a bill and reading
about a bill
At a recent City Council meeting, Escondido’s Council Majority appeared to have gained its understanding of Senate Bill 54, also known as the “Sanctuary State” bill via an email with Republican talking points received from another politician. When Council member Olga Diaz attempted to discuss the bill in depth by referring to the actual text of the bill and determining how it might affect residents of Escondido, she was cut short, dismissed. There was no meaningful discussion about the questions she raised and the facts about the bill vs. the perception of the council majority.
The council voted the familiar 4-1 to oppose the bill. The following day, a meme distorting Diaz’s positions on the bill was posted on social media by the San Diego Republican Party. We will not reprint it here as the San Diego Republican Party is relying on the familiar strategy of repeating a lie so often people come to believe it is true.
Diaz is known for doing her homework, asking relevant questions, and voting as she feels is best. By most measures, she is moderate. Perhaps the Council Majority will not engage in discussion with her because they have not done their homework and are simply incapable of an in-depth discussion. When the Mayor stated he had gained his knowledge on the topic via email from ultra conservative State Senator Joel Anderson, it was clear he had no thoughts of his own on the issues at hand. It appeared unlikely he had read the text of the bill. Parroting widely circulated, ultra-conservative talking points is much less work than reading a bill and thoughtfully considering the impact on the community.
Escondido deserves representatives who are informed, prepared and capable of more in-depth discussion than simply repeating talking points of heavily spun partisan emails.
To see the exchanges for yourself on the San Diego County Democratic Party’s Facebook Page.
Gold Ribbon School?
Two Escondido high schools, Del Lago Academy, a public school, and Classical Academy, a privately run/publicly funded charter school were recently named California Gold Ribbon schools by the State of California.
We question this honor for Classical Academy. While no doubt Classical Academy has many bright and dedicated students, the school itself does not serve the role of a public school in numerous ways. The Classical Academies come nowhere close to matching the demographics of the public schools in Escondido. They do not serve English Learners and we question whether their students learn any hard science, if evolution is even taught at the Classical Academies. Given that the chosen 6th grade history text book, “Story of the World” is laced with Bible stories presented as fact, it seems unlikely their educational philosophy holds facts in high regard.
Even more troubling is the fact that when interviewed last year by Alianza the school’s founder that he would not use public school textbooks because he didn’t want to teach his students about climate change and marriage equality. After attending a board meeting and questioning the use of the textbook by a publicly-funded schools, we later learned by reading the board minutes from another meeting that the school decided not to change history textbooks and referred to the concerns as being from “outsiders.” To this charter school, the taxpaying public are “outsiders.”
In these tumultuous times when scientific information and historical facts are being obliterated by our federal government, it is more important than ever that those spreading misinformation in our schools be called out on it, not honored.
If any schools deserve Gold Ribbon status, it is those that serve ALL children in the community who wish to enroll. The best public schools are those that educate students with disabilities, mild and severe, that celebrate diversity and welcome English Learners. Schools like Classical Academy are bleeding funds from district schools, creating a student body that is much easier to educate than the area public schools, then somehow managing to win awards for doing so.
Any awards of distinction given by the State Superintendent of PUBLIC Schools should be given to truly public schools. Bogus awards put our under-resourced public schools at an even greater disadvantage when tasked with doing what public schools were created to do: educate the community’s students, not fence off a percentage of the easiest to teach, then claim academic superiority.
It is highly unfair and misleading to award a school that is not doing the heavy lifting of a public school with such an honor. We call BS.
New ACLU Column
Alianza North County is pleased to welcome a new column by Edward Sifuentes’ of the ACLU. The ACLU has been at the forefront of civil rights battles for nearly 100 years and has vowed to be eternally vigilant during the Trump presidency. Their work has never been more important to the future of our nation.
“The Constitution and the rule of law are stronger than any one person, and we will see to that. We will never waver. ”
From the ACLU’s public statement released the day after the November 2016 election.