Palm Lane Charter School in Anaheim has marked its first Christmas season since opening its doors in August as an independent public charter school with a Winter Celebration yesterday.
Students gave holiday performances by grade at a special assembly. Later each classes had the opportunity to visit with Santa and have their photo taken with St. Nick – followed by a distribution of gifts to each student:
Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu and members of the school’s charter board were on hand to watch the celebration. Mayor Sidhu also toured some of the classrooms, visiting with the students and talking with teachers and administration:
School administrators showed off a new shop area that enables students to concretely apply, in activities ranging from woodwork to robotics, what they learn as part of the charter school’s STEAM curriculum:
The work benches were built by a Boy Scout as his Eagle Scout project; members of the Lincoln Club of Orange County pitched in to purchase the tools for the shop.
Palm Lane’s conversion to an independent public charter school via a Parent Trigger Law petition was a long and contentious process – the leadership of the Anaheim Elementary School District (AESD) and school unions fought the parents every step of the way. The unions tried scaring parents with disinformation while the district intentionally subverted the petition process – and ultimately spent $1 million of the taxpayers’ dollars on a futile lawsuit that delayed the charter school’s opening by two years.
It was a group of poor and working class immigrant parents who wanted better education for their children, and who fought to convert Palm Lane into a charter school. Throughout, they were opposed by political activists and unions that claim to champion the interests of workers and immigrants – but who when push comes to shove took the side of the public education status quo. When the interests of parents and the public education power structure collide, these folks will side with their power structure every time. As AESD Board member Ryan Ruelas said on his Facebook page a few months ago:
““I’m a union guy through and through. I’m personally a proud member of a union (go CTA!!) and the work I have done as a trustee for AESD these last few years has clearly illustrated my support for unions.”
It was the conservatives – especially the Lincoln Club of Orange County and Anaheim Councilmembers Kris Murray and Lucille Kring – who supported and stood by these parents throughout their long struggle.
The teachers union activists and their allies who dominate the AESD Board of Education – Ryan Ruelas, Jose Paolo Magacalas, Jackie Filbeck – have never apologized for their mistreatment of the Palm Lane parents, their subversion of the charter conversion process or their waste of taxpayer funds on an ideologically-motivated lawsuit. Indeed, this November they took total control of the AESD Board with the election of Juan Alvarez (another teachers union officer) and Mark Lopez – both members of the Ruelas-Matsuda-Moreno political team.
The school district even stripped the Palm Lane school library before handing over the keys to the school, taking every book with them. Because it’s all about “the children,” you know.
Nonetheless, Palm Lane Charter School staff, teachers and parents appear optimistic. Discipline issues left over from the previous regime are being address as part of restoring an environment more conducive to learning. The charter school began the school year with 408 students and plans to grow that number to 500 in the 2019-2020 school year. Free of the destructive involvement of the public school unions and the left-wing political activists who control the AESD school board, and enthusiastically focused an providing students with a superior STEAM-based education, Palm Lane Charter School is on a solid course.