Labor Watch

The Fight for True Education: Signs of Hope

The Fight for True Education (full series)
A Brief History | Academic Transparency
Signs of Hope | Refusal to Deceive Parents

Signs of Hope

So now we have looked into homeschooling, academic transparency, and school choice laws being passed in red states to give some relief to parents who can’t or don’t want to homeschool. What about parents with children in blue states like California, where the prospects of school choice laws are bleak at best and where the California Teachers Association is a political powerhouse pushing its agendas into the schools? What hope can we offer to them in this fight?

In 2020, parents won a sweeping victory against the powerful teachers union. The union tried to capitalize on the heated emotion of the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent death of George Floyd by pushing a new law in California known as Prop 16. The ballot Proposition would have repealed Prop 209, when Californians voted in November of 1996 to amend the state constitution to prohibit state governmental institutions from considering race, sex, and ethnicity in the areas of public employment, public contracting, and public education. It was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Prop 16 was trying to reverse all that. Yes, reverse the law modeled on the Civil Rights Act. Yes, allow for legal discrimination based on race, sex, and ethnicity.

The California Teachers Association was one of the largest donors to the Yes side of the Prop 16 debate, with a contribution of 3 million dollars. “Voters have the historic opportunity to reinstate Affirmative Action in our state by voting Yes on Proposition 16,” their argument read. Their donation alone was nearly double the whole budget of the grassroots efforts of the No side of Prop 16, with a mere 1.7 million dollars vs. the total 23 million dollars given for the Yes campaign. “It’s David vs. Goliath,” said Wenyuan Wu, the executive director of Californians for Equal Rights, which was leading the No on Prop 16 fight.

The good news is that, despite the money, the power, and the emotional coercion, California voters rejected Prop 16 with a 57 percent no vote.

I was contacted to be one of the official rebuttal statements on the ballot guide for the no campaign. My statement read:

My father was a Jamaican immigrant, but I was raised in poverty by my single mother. My husband is Mexican/Puerto Rican: we are proudly multiracial. An honors multi-degreed University of California graduate, I tutored black students in Compton; now I help Latinos enter UC on MERIT (like I did), NOT quotas! Proposition 16, a giant step backward, would hurt the students we want to help. There is no need to lower standards! I love teaching, but Proposition 16 would totally disrupt K–12. Don’t divide us. Unite us. Vote NO!”

Imagine if Prop 16 and the teachers unions were successful! They would be able to legally discriminate in our public education system based on race, using excuses like “social justice” to pick and choose which races and individuals to favor and which to disfavor. Thankfully, that nightmare was blocked. So even in blue states, we see victories for education. Sinister agendas and left-leaning educational reforms can and are being stopped.

In the next installment, the fight for true education in America has only begun.

Kali Fontanilla

Kali is serving as CRC’s Senior fellow, particularly focusing on topics related to K-12 public education. She has 15 years of experience as a credentialed educator working in public and…
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