Why is Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent Mike Matsuda involving himself in a school board candidate campaign in neighboring Santa Ana Unified School District?
Yesterday, Matsuda posted this on his Facebook page:
Earlier, Santa Ana SJW Ben Vazquez touted the campaign endorsement by Matsuda – who also pledged his financial support for Torres:
Carolyn Torres is running in the November 5, 2019. She’s a teacher in the AUHSD and a political activist whose views are on the extreme left of the political spectrum.
Generally speaking, school superintendents avoid involvement in candidate campaigns. Not Matsuda, who has brought his history of political activism and electioneering (which include a past run for state Assembly) with him into his ostensibly non-political job. He does not separate political activism from his office, turning the AUSHD into a virtual jobs program for progressive activists and aspiring office holders. For example, last summer he gave failed Anaheim council candidate Mark Lopez his first teaching job, literally days before Lopez filed to run for the Anaheim Elementary School District (AESD) Board of Education. Matsuda’s beneficence allowed Lopez to use teacher as a ballot title – a powerful one when running for school board. Lopez won, and now four of the five members AESD school board are political activists who work for Matsuda.
About the same time, Matsuda also imported ethnic studies firebrand Jose Lara to be assistant principal at Dale Junior High School – where he is the Number Two to Principal Lorena Moreno, the wife of Anaheim Councilman Jose F. Moreno and an ardent progressive in her own right. Councilman Moreno and Matsuda are long-time personal and political allies.
Also working at Dale Junior High is Carolyn Torres – where she performs the teaching duties of Grant Shuster while the latter is on “released time” to be the full-time president of the Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association.
Also last year, Matsuda gave a teaching job to Moreno’s council assistant, Jacqueline Rodarte. Rodarte is also a member of the North Orange County Community College District Governing Board – a position she acquired after being appointed to fill a vacancy created when Matsuda resigned become AUHSD superintendent.
While Matsuda’s overt involvement in the SAUSD politics is unusual and inappropriate, the politics of his support for Torres aren’t. They are ideologically sympatico. Both oppose charter schools. Matsuda uses AUHSD resources to push an anti-charter school political agenda. The endorsement which Matsuda posted on Facebook is from the Network for Public Education Action, a teachers union-funded group that serves in the National Education Association’s war on charter schools.
Charter schools are popular with parents and students because they offer an alternative to traditional public schools and generally provide a better education. As noted, Torres is really, really against charter schools – as in, there should be no more:
Note the RSVP e-mail: “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Providing parents and students – especially disadvantaged families – with fewer choices and options for a quality education is a strange definition of “social justice.”
Matsuda and Torres are both adherents of identity politics and its derivations, such as ethnic studies. In fact, Torres’ views on the subject are so extreme that she publicly embraces the draft state ethnic studies curriculum that was widely criticized as ideological indoctrination camouflaged as instruction:
The draft model ethnic studies curriculum which Torres champions received more than 20,000 public comments – only 365 of which were supportive. The draft curriculum was so over-the-top it was disavowed by Assemblyman Jose Medina, prompting him to pull back legislation making ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement.
It’s funny how “people power” politicians generally end up pushing policies the people don’t want.
Torres is one of the growing number of leftists activist who see their roles as public school teachers primarily as advocates shaping the political views of their students – or teaching “students to interrogate the systems of power and privilege that are at stake in today’s struggles,” as one of their number recently put it. Torres voices admiration for radical Pomona College professor Gilda Ochoa, saying Ochoa is one of those “academics…that isn’t afraid to speak truth, actively organizes and uses her position and networks to advocate not gatekeep. Very few folks in academia are willing to do this.”
That’s called indoctrination, not education. Parents, on the other hand, are more interested in their children getting a quality education than having their consciousness raised.
Torres comes across as one of the new breed of ultra-woke progressives who perceives racism everywhere and in everyone. Here’s a recent Facebook post in which she paints an elderly white Republican woman as a racist on the basis of the woman being old, white and Republican:
It couldn’t possibly be the woman was surprised by Torres’ youth, or was just cranky. Nope – it must be racism. Thank goodness for Ms. Torres’ woke willingness to stand up to old white ladies.
You get the picture: Torres is a social justice warrior who sees her teaching job as turning students into young social justice warriors. Election to the SAUSD Board of Education is an opportunity to awaken a larger pool of young, impressionable minds to the powers that oppress them.
That Matsuda would endorse and donate to such a radical speaks to his own political radicalism. That he would openly involve himself in a campaign to change the governance of a neighboring school district further illustrates how Matsuda’s progressive activism trumps customary norms of conduct for an appointed schools bureaucrat – and how politicized the AUSHD has become under Matsuda’s stewardship.