The Voice of OCpublished a story yesterday on an “Anaheim Youth Civic Summit” being held today and tomorrow, and sponsored by the Orange County Congregation Community Organization:
The two-day training at Anaheim High School “seeks to educate youth with an introduction to civics and how the government works…and provide opportunities for youth to become civically engaged in Anaheim through experiential learning,” according to organizers with the Orange County Congregation Community Organization.
Scheduled speakers include Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent Mike Matsuda, Los Amigos of Orange County President Jose Moreno, Orange County Congregation Community Organization or OCCCO Executive Director Miguel Hernandez and Ryan Ruelas, founder of the student leadership group BROS.
In other words, Anaheim high school students get to spend two days being “educated” in politics by the liberal political activist superintendent of the AUHSD, the left-wing head of Los Amigos and a school board candidate and teachers union activist who is also a member of the State Council of the CTA – one of the most powerful special interest groups in the state – and the incumbent Republican mayor who is running for re-election and working with a left-wing coalition to pass a by-district council elections measure on the November ballot.
The Anaheim Civic Youth Curriculum builds off the past success and covers five general areas:
1. Active Citizenship 2. Civics 101 3. Transformative Leadership 4. Knowing the Issue 5. Taking Action
With generous support from the ACT (Accelerating Change Together) Grant the curriculum is being developed to increase civic engagement and participation among Anaheim’s most at-risk youth. Grounded in the Anaheim Civic Youth Baseline Survey, the curriculum seeks to educate youth with an introduction to civics and how the government works, it also seeks to influence current attitudes towards voting and participation and provide opportunities for youth to become civically engaged in Anaheim through experiential learning. [Emphasis added]
Maybe I’m jaundiced from years of watching how politics is conducted in our public schools, but events like this set of alarm bells for me. OCCCO is a good-hearted, faith-based organization, but it’s politics are definitely left-of-center, as are those of almost all the speakers. This event sounds more like a two-day campaign volunteer recruiting seminar – especially for the by-district elections campaign. Moreno, Tait, Ruelas andOCCCOall actively support the passage of the by-district council elections initiative. Ryan Ruelas’ BROS youth group, for example, has been a presence of pro-council district rallies.
Funny how the issue of by-district elections keeps cropping up?
Encouraging our youth to be civically engaged is a good thing; a representative self-government depends upon an informed and engaged electorate understands the nature of representative government and the principles upon which the American Republic was founded. There is little of that in the “Anaheim Civic Youth Baseline Survey.”
However, engaging our youth in politics ought to be the job of political parties and other civic institutions, and ought to be kept clear of our K-12 public schools. The AUHSD certainly should be host of and participant in an ideologically-slanted event with all the markers of being thinly-veiled rally to recruit volunteers for the by-district elections campaign.
Following: photos from the March 22, 2014 rally in support of the by-district elections campaign, organized by OCCCO and OCCORD:
Anaheim BROS, a youth group organized and moderated by Ryan Ruelas, AUHSDteacher, union activist and school board candidate.
Jose Moreno exhorting the faithful at OCCCO pro-districts campaign rally.
Mishal Montgomery, aide to mayor Tom Tait, speaks at OCCCO pro-district rally.