Disastrous Learning Results, Ideological Indoctrination Prompt Working-Class, Military Community to Speak Up
The Oceanside school district suffers from subpar academic performance and serves a majority of underprivileged families
By Wenyuan Wu, February 8, 2023 7:52 am
Oceanside, California is a beautiful seaside town and home to a working-class community with a median per-capita income of $37,366. The city’s two largest public employers are: Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD), a public K-12 school district, and Camp Pendleton, a major U.S. Marine Corps base.
OUSD has a diverse student body, of which 60% are of Hispanic descent. According to the 2022 California Smarter Balanced results, only 28.73% of OUSD students could do math at the grade level and only 41.2% had English proficiency. For the 2021-22 school year, the California Department of Education calculates that over 62% of OUSD students qualified for free or reduced-price meals.
Recently, a diverse group of concerned parents and citizens in OUSD have organized to confront their school board representatives with growing evidence of questionable teaching practices and materials in the local schools.
On top of the catastrophic learning outcomes, parents are horrified to find dozens of hate-filled, divisive and pornographic books in various school libraries. In addition to many high-profile controversial books like Fun Home, Gender Queer, All American Boys, and the Hate U Give, OUSD schools also have fringe titles such as Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snagging, On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God, and Flamer.
In an attempt to cater to its Hispanic-speaking population, the Oceanside High School library obtained a Spanish book entitled Juliet respire profundo. Translated as Juliet Takes a Breath, the book features the “coming-of-age” story of a feminist Latin girl who is encouraged to condemn white supremacy, rise against the capitalist machine and build space for other “brown and black and indigenous and morena… babes.” South Oceanside Elementary School has been found with a picture book called Julian is a Mermaid, which depicts a young Hispanic boy exploring the “intersectionality of race and gender.”
After organizing a self-organized audit of school library books, the group sought dialogues with the school district leadership in hope of a return to academic instruction and a departure from dogmatic indoctrination, to no avail. They face a disaffected board of trustees backed by the teachers’ unions and the San Diego County Democratic Party. At OUSD’s school board meeting on February 7, 2023, Board Trustee Nancy Licona blamed those exposing age-inappropriate books in school libraries for spreading hate against the school district’s LGBTQIA community. The president of the local teachers’ union Tiffany Ortega gave a presentation, angrily shouting about the importance of including all literature in schools to advance inclusion and diversity and her “superior” knowledge of the Education Code.
The false equivalence of allowing sexually explicit materials and supporting gender identities is designed to smear, intimidate and silence those who speak up to demand accountability and defend students’ right to high-quality public education.
During that meeting and at an earlier board meeting on January 18, 2023, parents, grandparents, and community members presented their findings on inappropriate books found in OUSD libraries to the school board, Superintendent and other school district leaders. They urged for action to stop thought capture and irresponsible grooming of their children.
OUSD’s education bureaucrats each put up a poker face and passively dismissed the group’s efforts as manufactured outrage. But the local group exposed problems that should concern every parent and taxpayer in the community.
While the school district suffers from subpar academic performance and serves a majority of underprivileged families, OUSD has not shied away from expending local taxpayer money on controversial, new-age teaching paradigms. Its district-wide Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is staffed with 7 employees in a collective pursuit of “equitable outcomes.” In a June 2021 presentation on “Equity & Cultural Proficiency,” discovered through a public records request, OUSD boasted about hosting implicit bias workshops, publishing an anti-racism toolkit and organizing three new Gay/Straight Alliance clubs at its middle schools.
Ironically, in the name of equity, OUSD admitted to spending $250,000 in procuring new books reflective of social emotional learning (SEL) in classrooms and school libraries. Superintendent Dr. Julie Vitale was featured in the presentation as San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Equity Champion for adopting “policies and practices with a true equity lens that include creating board resolutions that acknowledge OUSD is a safe place for students.”
How does having sexually explicit books make any underage student safe?
At the January board meeting, Ruth Ramirez, a Hispanic mom and grandmother with children, nieces and nephews in the school district, spoke up on behalf of “those who don’t speak or read English.” She expressed her shock and disgust at the books available to the children and youth in the school libraries as an immoral act to “exploit their mental capacity.” Ramirez urged the school board trustees to direct the Superintendent to remove age-inappropriate books because “it is the right and just and your elected duty to defend the innocence of our children.”
Other moms and community members took turns to read excerpts from the books found in their children’s libraries and asked why the school district would knowingly allow pornographic adult contents in K-12 schools. Emily Wichmann, a former OUSD school board trustee and leader of the grassroots effort, questioned why the school district is spending their hard-earned tax dollars on grooming children. Her story of fighting to protect children in her beloved Oceanside community as a public servant and a community leader is documented in my new book The Great Parent Revolt: How Parents and Grassroots Leaders Are Fighting Critical Race Theory in America’s Schools, coauthored with Lance Izumi and McKenzie Richards.
OUSD is a microcosm of the American public education system, in which the political establishment and unionized interests have systemically hijacked one school district after another with critical race theory intersected with transgenderism. Schools are at the forefront of the cultural war waged by the far-left to brainwash, radicalize, divide and sexualize impressionable kids.
But every action has its equal and opposite reaction. The growing local effort organized by courageous community members and parents in this working-class neighborhood demonstrates that reaction. As a parent stated in her public comment given at the January board meeting:
“We will no longer have our voices silenced. We will no longer stand by and watch you all take part in the unfruitful works of darkness. But instead, we shall expose you.”
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7 thoughts on “Disastrous Learning Results, Ideological Indoctrination Prompt Working-Class, Military Community to Speak Up”
Kudos to the concerned parents in Oceanside taking action and putting pressure the OUSD school board. The five members of the current OUSD school board need to be held accountable for questionable teaching practices and materials in the local schools? Parents need to closely scrutinize future school board candidates? Maybe parents will ultimately need to pull their kids out of public schools if the situation does not improve?
Don’t hold your breath. This mindset and practice is so entrenched in schools. It will be some time until the situation improves.
How sad that you are attacking intellectual freedom and a child’s right to explore in order to sell your book.
What’s sad is that you think you have the right to do this to innocent children and scar them forever —- in order to do WHAT exactly? And do it under the name of “intellectual freedom.” Unbelievable.
You have to vote the Communists out of the School Board. Communists view family and religion as enemies. Their goal is to tear youth away from family and religion in order to gain control of them.