Should public school teachers use their jobs to indoctrinate their students, impressionable young people, in political ideology – especially ones far out of the mainstream of the taxpaying public? Should they hold up violent communist revolutionaries and domestic radicals as objects of esteem for their students?
Sadly, that is a question to which citizens and taxpayers must give increasing thought as progressive groupthink seeps into the K-12 public school sysytem – particularly in California, as more high schools offer politicized courses such as ethnic studies or social justice studies.
It’s certainly relevant in the Anaheim Union High School District, which has become a base for progressive political action under the tenure of Superintenent Michael Mastuda – who empowers politically active teachers to steer students toward progressive-Left thinking and political action.
Take, for example, J. Paolo Magcalas, who teaches Ethnic Studies at Loara High School:
Magcalas is also a member of the Anaheim Elementary School District Board of Education.
By all accounts a dynamic, magnetic teacher who captures the attention and enthusiasm of his students, Magcalas views his mission ideologically: “liberating” his students from “oppressive” and “Eurocentric” teaching of history. Magcalas describes the personal struggle session that birthed his crusade to imbue his students with woke political consciousness:
“After the event, I vowed to bring ethnic studies to my high school one day. I knew that this curriculum would benefit and empower the hundreds of oppressed students in my high school. But I was not ready. I had to unlearn the oppressive pedagogical methods that I had been trained to practice in my own classroom. I also needed to reclaim my own history and epistemology. I am sad to admit that I was the oppressed oppressor. For six years I taught a Eurocentric perspective of United States history to hundreds of students in my community.”
With a convert’s zeal, Magcalas employs critical pedagogy to train his students in the ways of identity politics. This recent Facebook post to “save Ethnic Studies” is an example:
Ethnic Studies is on the march in California, so it’s unclear why Magacalas thinks it needs saving. Legislation to make it a high school graduation requirement only stalled due to overreach by the radicals drafting the model state Ethnic Studies curriculum.
Magcalas’ slogan “All power to the people” was also – not coincidentally – the slogan of the radical Black Panther Party, a militant 1960s movement that degenerated into criminality and violence.
Magcalas photographed his students holding signs with various pro-ethnic studies slogans while giving the clenched fist salute:
Note the mural on the wall: a tribute to Black Panther Party (BPP) leader Fred Hampton and Communist activist Angela Davis.
Hampton was engineering the merger of his BPP Chicago chapter with a Southside street gang at the time of his death in a police shootout.
Davis unapologetically defended Soviet tyranny, denouncing political dissidents imprisoned in the Gulag as “Zionist fascists and opponents of socialism.” Her attitude toward political dissdents imprisoned by the repressive Communist regime of Czechoslovakia?: “They deserve what they get. Let them remain in prison.”
Davis purchased and supplied firearms for her personal security guards – who used them to forcibly take over a Marin County courtroom and kidnap the judge, prosecutor and three jurors. The judge and the kidnappers died in the ensuing shootout. When faced with prosecution, Davis fled to the American radicals’ haven of choice: Castro’s Cuba.
Speaking of that imprisoned island, another notable on Magcalas’ wall of honor is a poster of Communist revolutionary Che Guevara with his trademark revolutionary slogan, “Hasta la siempre victoria!“:
Guevara was a monster who proved himself a singularly bloodthirsty killer during the Cuban Revolution and afterward. Some examples of Guevara’s thoughts on freedom, justice and race:
“To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.”
“I don’t need proof to execute a man. I only need proof that it’s necessary to execute him.”
“We executed many people by firing squad without knowing if they were fully guilty. At times, the Revolution cannot stop to conduct much investigation.”
“If the missiles had remained [during the Cuban Missile Crisis], we would have used them against the very heart of America including New York. We must never establish peaceful coexistence. In this struggle to the death between two systems we must gain the ultimate victory. We must walk the path of liberation even if it costs millions of atomic victims.”
“We must eliminate all newspapers; we cannot make a revolution with free press. Newspapers are instruments of the oligarchy.”
“The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations.”
“In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm.”
Why are violent radicals, and supporters of totalitarian oppression, held up as role models in Magcalas’ classroom? Does Magcalas teach his students the awful truth about Guevara, Davis, etc.,? Does he even acknowledge that truth? As writer Johann Hari points out, “Che Guevara is not a free-floating icon of rebellion. He was an actual person who supported an actual system of tyranny, one that murdered millions more actual people.”
But hey – Che looks cool on a t-shirt, right?
And why are radical American progressives so enamored of violent left-wing revolutonaries? It calls to mind how the leadership of the AnaheimBROS referred to themselves as “the Politburo” – a Communist Party term. The BROS are the creation of Magcalas’ friend, ally and fellow AESD Board member Ryan Ruelas.
Or Councilman Jose F. Moreno commemorating another violent radical, Black Panther Party co-founder Huey Newton.
Or how ethnic studies proselytizer Jose Lara – whom Matsuda hired last year as assistant principal at Dale Junior High School – encouraged students at his weird after-school center in LA to look to Guevara and Ho Chi Minh as role models:
“Che Guevara did fight against dictatorships, right?” gushes Lara. “And if you’re against dictatorships, then you support somebody like Che Guevara.”
How is someone who sees a homicidal maniac as a role model for youth allowed anywhere near the education of young people?
Here’s another one:
What is “hxstories” (let alone “OUR hxstories”)? According to the draft model state Ethnic Studies curriculum, hxstory “is used to describe history written from a more gender inclusive perspective. The “x” is used to disrupt the often rigid gender binarist approach to telling history.”
Again, traditional history is cast as oppressive, patriarchal “HIStory” from which students must be liberated in order to find their “truth” in identity politics.
The name “Ethnic Studies” itself is misleading. Most people assume it’s like a semester-long Multicultural Day, where students learn about about other cultures. If that’s all it were, there’d be less cause for alarm. But students can learn about other cultures in world history class. Ethnic Studies is ideological. It’s purpose is to mold the fungible adolescent mind. It teaches students their authentic identity is to be found in their particular oppressed or marginalized group, and that basis for authentically understanding and relating to others is membership in their respective oppressed class. They learn to transpose injustices of the past onto their current circumstances.
That’s just twisted. It is not only contrary to our founding principles of liberty and equality and individual rights – it’s contrary to reality and the truth of human nature.
Which brings as back to the reality that Ethnic Studies is an ideological project with ambitions of refashioning of society and politics – and conducted at the expense of taxpayers who do share those ideas.
Magcalas’ intent in teaching Ethnic Studies is avowedly political. Remember, he believes traditional U.S. history curriculum is harmful to students – that teaching them about the principles of the Founding and America’s evolution into the greatest force for freedom in human history is oppressive. He started AUHSD’s first Ethnic Studies program as an antidote to that – to teach his students they live in an unjust, racist society that marginalizes and oppresses them because of how they look or where they and/or their parents came from.
This isn’t education or genuine academics. It’s an intrusion into a societal sphere where public schools should not tread. Public schools have no business forming and influencing students’ political beliefs (to the extent they even have them) – and teachers should especially refrain from spoon-feeding them radical ideologies.
Magcalas is not an outlier. Superintendent Michael Matsuda shares his ideology, and has been hiring and empowering teachers and administrators who want to weave this ideology into district pedagogy. They’re adherents of “critical pedogagy.” They believe teaching is inherently political and that public education should be used to “liberate” student minds and form them into young Social Justice Warriors. That’s what their palaver about “civic engagement” and “democracy schools” is really about.
What’s striking about Magcalas and other SJWs on the AUSHD payroll is their brazenness. They openly use public resources to recruit impressionable teenagers into their political causes. Here’s Magcalas at school with his students in 2015 – preparing to join a coalition of progressive-Left groups in pressuring the Anaheim City Council into adopting a specific council district map:
- Anaheim High School teacher Ryan Ruelas using AUSHD buses to transport his AnaheimBROS and Crown student activists to a city council candidate forum to cheer for Jose F. Moreno – the council candidate Ruelas was supporting. Or using BROS members to regurgitate teacher union talking points about charter schools.
- Ruelas ally Mark Lopez using Katella High School students during his 2016 Anaheim City Council candidacy to campaign for him in their school athletic uniforms:
Lopez lost to now-Councilman Steve Faessel. In 2018, Matsuda put him on the AUHSD payroll. Lopez then ran for the AESD Board of Edcuation as the teachers union candidate and won. He teaches at Magnolia High School, where he runs the newly-formed expansion of AnaheimBROS.
They’re not embarassed about it because they believe it’s their job as educators to “liberate” their charges’ political consciousnesses.
Ruelas and Magcalas are both members of the Anaheim Elementary School District Board of Education. In fact, four of its five members are AUHSD teachers (and politically active union members). Magcalas represents Trustee Area 3, and wound up on the AESD Board in 2016 by default: he was the only candidate. As a school board member, Magcalas supported spending nearly a million dollars in taxpayer money to sue the group of poor and working-class immigrant parents trying to convert their childrens’ school, Palm Lane Elementary, into a charter school.
Apparently, being members of a marginalized class doesn’t matter when protecting the status quo and the political interests of the teachers union is at stake.
Magcalas is running for re-election next year, and is holding a fundraiser with the rest of the local progressive Democrat establishment:
Magcalas will have the support of the local progressive Democrat establishment and the public school unions. The AESD Board of Education is their wholly-owned subsidiary, and they’d like to keep it that way. Time will tell if other candidates who are willing to challenge the status quo will step forward and give Trustee Area 3 voters an actual choice at the ballot.