Letters to the Editor

0
46

May 27

Hill vote on cirriculum disturbing to West OC Republican Women

As President of West Orange County Republican Women Federated, I recently reached out to Los Alamitos Unified School Board member Diana Hill, who is a member of our club, to better understand her reasoning for joining the four Democrats on the board and approve the controversial Social Justice standards/Ethnic Studies curriculum. I was thankful that Diana put up a great effort to keep the proposed elective from being Critical Race Theory. However, giving Critical Race Theory courses and workshops flowery names doesn’t hide its real meaning.

Social Justice and Ethnic Studies can be sugar coated with the best of intentions, but the foundation is based on Critical Race Theory as seen by the people that the Los Alamitos Unified School Board has hired to implement the program as well as the material used to produce the content.

• The original PowerPoint referenced Christine Sleeter’s work. 

• Someone, perhaps Deputy Superintendent, Education Services Ondrea Reed, thought Marxist Sleeter was a good source of material.

There is no reason to allow such a course (elective or not) at our community high school especially considering the abysmal record of teaching the basic grade level math.

To the extent that Ethnic Studies is mandated by the state, it should be viewed and taught as a broader course on American Patriotism as more than half the signers of the Declaration of Independence were not born in America. Many of our Founding Fathers represent multiple ethnicities.

Regarding the implementation of “Social Justice” standards: There is no such thing as social justice. If justice is viewed through the lens of race, ethnicity, or any other non-character-based prescript it is not justice.

In my email message to Diana, I encouraged her to watch two short (less than five-minute) videos from Prager University:

• What is Social Justice?

• Social Justice Isn’t Justice

Finally, I know that for many years Diana and Dr. Jeff Barke worked together on LAUSD. They had a reputation for being the long-term traditional conservative family values block on the school board. I still believe Diana is a much-needed stable influence that this current progressive board drastically needs. However, her vote on this issue is still very disturbing to Republicans, especially many members in our club.

Most of Diana’s fellow club members remain skeptical and will be monitoring how and what our students are taught.

On behalf West Orange County Republican Women Federated we truly hope Diana will reconsider her support for these Marxist-leaning programs and instead stand up for traditional values. We urge her to not allow this woke nonsense to infect Los Alamitos Unified School District schools.

Nancy Hathcock

President West Orange County Republican Women Federated

Leisure World:  a failing do-it-yourself project

Who recommended the change from professional to self management for Leisure World?  Before funding construction loans in the 1960s, the Federal Housing Authority Commissioner said that he would NEVER approve self-management for Leisure World.  He had experienced too many problems with large Homeowners Associations attempting to self-manage.

So why was self-management adopted once FHA ended their involvement with a professionally managed Leisure World? The leaders from those years are not here to tell us, but we can surmise that they thought they knew better.  The question is: why is Leisure World still self-managed? Experienced property managers do not recommend it. Literally no one does.

When the shareholders sued the Golden Rain Foundation in 2008, it cost them $1.5 million (Golden Rain Foundation versus Franz). They won,  but they had no plan.  They just took control and managed without professional help leading to many unnecessary financial losses in addition to not having a swimming pool for the last 18 months and counting.

The GRF Directors and Mutual Directors have discovered what the FHA Commissioner knew:  self-management will, in the end, be more costly than professional management.

It would be very unfortunate to have to resort to legal remedies again.  The GRF Corporation and the Mutual Corporations can avoid this by voluntarily relinquishing control.  No one wants to force them to do it, but professional management must be re-instituted in Leisure World.  

Anne Walshe

Leisure World Mutual 9

June 3

Wondering about the source

With regard to the letter from the West Orange County Republican Women Federated President published in your May 27 issue, I can’t help wonder about the source of her obvious extreme discomfort at the prospect of young people learning some facts about our country’s history? Calling ethnic studies by a different name does make it easier to disparage. Witness how, in recent years, an independent press became “the enemy of the people” and “fake news” and a normal presidential election became “The Big Steal”, so identified, incidentally, before it even occurred. Her “critical race theory” and “Marxist leaning” adaptations are similar in nature. Then, on the flip side, if you take a media company, founded by a conservative talk show host, and call a University (Prager) it assumes, for some, a cachet of unbiased research and analysis.

I’m also curious about why she chose to call out, by name, two folks whom she felt mostly responsible for amusing her dismay? At least, you didn’t publish their addresses.

The most disturbing part of her letter is the flat-out declaration, “There is no such thing as social justice,”! Is this really a tenet of her “traditional conservative family values”? That statement, to me, ranks right alongside Giuliani’s blatant “the truth is no longer the truth” and Conway’s “…we have alternative facts”!

Lee Hoyt

Seal Beach

Non-partisan public officials under pressure

In recent years, nonpartisan political officials have come under heavy scrutiny from those who oppose common-sense progress or lack thereof. This has been on full display with the recent school board members adopting Social Justice Standards and Ethnic Studies. School Board members are nonpartisan because their job is to provide a service to our school by doing what’s best for the students in this district. While I’m confused how learning about the untold struggles and contributions of the different ethnicities represented in that very classroom is controversial, I’m even more confused how it became a weaponized political agenda full of misinformation. As long as the Board is listening to the facts, observing what is working and not working in other schools and making well-informed decisions in the best interest of all the students, they are doing their job. We may agree or disagree, but who they voted for in the recent elections should not be part of my child’s educational future, period.

If we look back at our last election for District 1 City Council, another nonpartisan election, politics reared its ugly head then, as well. We have become a country of fear-mongering. We no longer talk about what we all want: living in a well-maintained, beautiful slice of the Southern California Coast. Instead, many talk about what the other person will do to ruin that, not based in fact or reality. Once again, while the approach may be different, when I think the people running for these offices, character should matter more than the NP, R or D on their voter identification card. Nonpartisan offices exist because the job of these offices is to provide a service to the immediate local public and cooperate with their peers. While I agree this can be difficult at times, it really should not be, especially in our wonderful beachside oasis.

If we really want to stop this divide, it is up to us to stop fear-mongering, stop spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation, speak in truth, and most of all, be kind to each other. We are all part of this community and we all have a vested interest in seeing it prosper.

Steve Miller

Seal Beach

Dismayed and outraged

I was dismayed and outraged by the harsh polemic written by Nancy Hathcock and published as a letter to the editor in the May 27 edition of the Sun newspaper. The identical letter appeared in the Breeze on May 25. Ms. Hathcock excoriates Diana Hill “… for joining the four Democrats on the [school] board and approve the controversial Social Justice standards/Ethnic Studies curriculum.” Until reading her letter I was unaware that the proposed course is partisan in nature. I think that Ms. Hill’s Republican Party bona fides are solid. I suspect that Ms Hill’s vote came as a result of careful introspection, and that she voted for what she thought was right. As I understand it, that line of individualism and true grit is a highly respected Republican Party ideal.

Ms. Hathcock stated that the foundation of Social Justice and Ethnic studies is based on Critical Race Theory. I might suggest that Ms. Hathcock carefully peruse The Ethnic Studies course description (available online). My review of its contents found no mention of this Theory,

Ms. Hathcock smears Christine Sleeter, PhD’s work as Marxist. Dr Sleeter is a retired Professor of Education at CSU Monterey Bay whose area of specialization is cultural diversity in education. She is the author of multiple scholarly papers and books on this and other topics. At best, Ms Hathcock’s characterization of Dr Sleeter is an ill-thought-out slip. At worst, it is a page out of the red-baiting manual of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Ms Hathcock owes Dr Sleeter a full and public apology.

Ms. Hathcock suggests that “Ethnic Studies…should be viewed and taught as a broader course on American Patriotism…” I concur that in learning from the curriculum as proposed, students in the Los Al USD will have a better appreciation of the citizens and immigrants who came to these shores and who contributed and continue to contribute to make this nation great. If this is not American Patriotism, I am not sure what is.

Finally, Ms. Hathcock advocates for standing up for “traditional values”. To which values is she referring? Redlining and racial segregation in housing and schools? Preventing the entry into this country of refugees from torture in their native lands? Providing separate but unequal facilities for those Americans who differ from the majority by heritage, language, and skin color? These, too, are part of the American fabric, and should be submitted to the scrutiny of our younger generation.

Ms. Hathcock presents herself as the President of the West Orange County Republican Women Federated. If, as she claims, she speaks on behalf of this group, I have little hope for the future of her party.

Respectfully,

David A Sacks

Rossmoor

Thank you, Diana Hill

I want to thank you for showing such strong, unbiased, effective leadership in approving the Ethnic Studies for Los Al Unified. It is unfortunate that individuals have allowed this important action to become so divisive and polarizing. And most concerning is how this issue has now morphed into a “political” hotbed!

You have continued to act with courage and commitment as a member of the non-partisan Los Al School Board. You have honored your pledge to represent the members of your District while serving the entire community. 

As a former LAUSD Board member I know the pressure brought to bear in making controversial decisions; however, I had never felt threatened or harassed in doing the work on behalf of our students. You and your Board colleagues are governing in very unpredictable times which call for restraint and resilience, both of which you have courageously demonstrated!

Thanks for your Service!

Del Clark

Rossmoor

Idea of ethnic studies class  should not be considered bold

I have stood at the sidelines and watched this debate of the ethnic studies course as the high school has taken hold of the community. I say debate as controversy would somehow insinuate that there is some malicious intention in the proposed ethnic studies course of which there is none. 

The idea of an ethnic studies class should not be considered something bold for the district to embrace as students may take courses relating to this at the college or university level. Opponents of this ethnic studies course want to silence any discussion of race or ethnicity when the city of Los Alamitos and the school district have had their own problems in regards to racism.  

Take former McGaugh principal Roni Burns-Ellis and her Facebook post made on Facebook in 2018 calling Colin Kapernick an anti-American thug. Also take former Los Alamitos city council member Dean Grose who in 2009 circulated a racist email to colleagues depicting watermelons on the White House lawn in place of Easter Eggs during Barack Obama’s presidency. 

Even though these two are gone now, Ellis retired two years after the Facebook post and Dean Grose managed to return to the city council at a later time. If students can’t have an open dialogue with the students of Los Alamitos about race and ethnicity, in a time when the school population as a whole has become culturally diverse, then when will they be? 

Finally for the patriotic who deem ethnic studies unAmerican, I would argue that it isn’t. It’s a course designed to examine and learn the culture of other Americans whose stories have typically been lost or forgotten in the narrative of our country. If this is still something that may be considered radical to those in the community, you would be surprised to find out that this type of framework is already being done. That’s right! A simple look at the California teaching standards for history at grade eleven for US history states “this course includes an emphasis on the contributions of many diverse groups of people to the story of America, including ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals; and the disabled”. 

As stated before, the idea of an ethnic studies course should not be considered something bold as it is already taught at higher levels of education and the framework for it is already encapsulated in the California history standards for grade eleven. Ethnic studies expand our nation’s narrative and gives students a new perspective on other Americans throughout history. I know that at the time of the News Enterprise’s publication that the vote will have occurred yesterday. I can only hope that the school board votes in favor of this course for our students and the community.  

Sincerely, 

Billy Villegas 

LAHS Class of 2013

CSULB History Graduate 

American

Letters to the Editor