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Parent Groups Surveyed by Teachers Union - North Coast Currents

A recently discovered email reveals that the California Teachers Association was conducting an investigation with a local bipartisan parent association group.

Initially focused on the San Diego Union High School District, in late 2020 a Parents Association was formed to reopen schools when most public schools were closed due to the pandemic. rice field.

The nonprofit PA Group expanded almost simultaneously to include parents representing the San Diego County Unified School Districts of Carlsbad, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos, and Vista, and is now a statewide organization that connects parents to children. Supporting and empowering as our greatest advocates. .

In February 2021, the group successfully challenged the union’s efforts to keep schools closed by filing a lawsuit to reopen them.

“We are parents who know that prolonged school closures are harmful to our children,” PA co-founder and San Dieguito chapter director Alison Stratton said in an email. “We knew it at the time, and it certainly proved right.

“We weren’t organized before the pandemic and we certainly didn’t have the money in our coffers. We banded together to fight for the lives of our children.”

Today, these efforts by parent associations go far beyond pandemic-related school closures and mask mandates.

The PA defends independent school board members who put students’ needs first, but PA organizers say the union doesn’t.

Teachers’ unions defend teachers, not students. Sometimes their interests overlap, but not always.

Shows how desperately the heavily funded CTA and the local teachers’ union fought the organized efforts of parents to advocate for their children, whatever their personal inclinations. Amazing story.

Founded in 1863, the California Teachers Association is one of the largest and most powerful teachers’ unions in the state, with more than 300,000 members, according to the CTA website.

Funds from unions are often used to influence elections for union-supported school board candidates.

After decades of dominating the school board, the San Dieguito Teachers Association was shaken when voters elected three independent San Dieguito district board members not recognized by the union in 2020.

The Parents’ Association’s support of these three (out of five) independent trustees and the PA’s winning of the lawsuit to reopen schools appears to have caught the attention of the CTA.

In an email provided to the PA through a public records request, CTA strategic research expert Anne Swinburne sent an email requesting assistance with information about parent associations to residents of San Diego and union allies. Sent.

“Thank you for contacting us. We collect information and would be happy to share/collaborate.”

She then asked if other parents could participate in the discussion.

Swinburne replied, “As long as they are people you trust, I’m fine.”

San Diego activists Heather Dugdale, Holly Butte, and Adam Fisher (listed in the public emails reported and linked by the New York Post) said via a livestreamed conference. I was invited to connect with Swinburne and McCosky.

According to McCosky’s email, the purpose of the meeting was to “share information” and to shed light on “some of the ideological tendencies of the groups funding the reopening lawsuits.”

Email requests for comment from Dugdale, Makoski and Swinburne have not been responded to at the time of publication.

The story, which received a lot of media coverage, “goes viral,” says PA co-founder Stratton. “It captures the anger that parents feel when they learn that political organizations have conspired against parents who knew schools could and should reopen in the fall of 2020. I have.”

Ginny Merrifield, co-founder and executive director of the Parents Association, said, “I was appalled to see how much the CTA and its allies denigrated parents who advocate for their children’s well-being.” ‘s closure has shown just how little the union cares about children.”

Merrifield and Stratton said they believed the CTA sought to clarify the Parent Association’s ties to ultra-right-wing ideologies.

Merrifield said PA is not affiliated with any political party and parents simply want their children to go back to school in their best interest.

“Parents just want a seat at the table,” she said. .”

Parents banded together and posed a threat to the union agenda, she said.

California Superintendent of Education candidate Lance Christensen said in a statement posted on his website: But it is surprising that teachers’ unions have dedicated staff to protect their children and politically target mothers and fathers who express First Amendment rights. , there is also a bad thing.

“Established special interest groups have spent the past two and a half years using their war money to intimidate and intimidate anyone who seeks to challenge their impotent control over public education. This must end.

“These union-demanded school closures have single-handedly resulted in decades of lost learning, declining enrollment in public schools, and one of the lowest literacy rates in the nation. California’s Leading Teachers wants to focus on reading and writing, not the cloak-and-dagger operations that further divide the community.”

Christensen is at odds with current state superintendent of education, Tony Thurmond, who is backed by unions.

Merrifield said all was “going well” and there were no parental representatives before school board members were in unions.

In San Dieguito, losing a union-backed board majority is a major concern of the union, and the parent association’s leaders are determined to destabilize the district, disrupt board meetings, and reframe the problem. It has led to organized efforts to adopt tactics aimed at

In 2020, the San Dieguito Board of Education “moved from an organization with a majority of councilors with long-standing teachers’ union support to an organization with a large number of councilors without trade union support.” as reported in a July 2 article in the San Diego Union-Tribune. .

Duncan Brown, president of the San Dieguito Teachers Union, said in a Union Tribune article:

His quote from that article, essentially acknowledging that the union and its allies are indeed responsible for the district’s turmoil, best says: we are watching now

Marsha Sutton is a local educational journalist and opinion columnist. Here is her contact information: sutton marsha[at]

Columns represent the views of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners or managers of the North Coast Current.

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