The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District (PVPUSD) Board of Education has five members, four of which are set to vote to censure the fifth member at Wednesday’s board meeting. Matthew Brach, the only board member who is also a parent of students attending schools in the district, is the named plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the Center for American Liberty, in coordination with the Dhillon Law Group, against California Governor Gavin Newsom, challenging his order barring in-classroom education in 32 counties and for 80% of California’s children.
The board sent a letter to Brach and the district superintendent indicating that the Board opposes the lawsuit seeking to overturn Governor Newsom’s July 17 order mandating schools in counties on the State’s Coronavirus Monitoring List remain physically closed and operate in distance learning mode.
On July 17, 2020 Gov. Newsom announced that in more than 30 counties across California, school facilities will remain closed to start the fall semester—leaving roughly 80% of the state’s student population without access to a basic education.
Brach said in a California Globe interview that he is suing on behalf of himself and his children, and not as a board member, because his children and millions of others are being denied their right to a basic education. Brach said school children are suffering socially and emotionally, as well as missing out on their education, and are showing signs of being emotionally stunted from online education, and who rightfully fear compounded injury to academic progress and physical/mental health and development in the year ahead.
“I’ve always chosen to fight for students,” Brach said. “I’m also for teachers who want to teach.”
Brach said if the board wants him to sign a letter stating that this is his individual legal action, and is not taken as a member of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Board of Education, he would, because as he already stated, he filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and his children.
The PVPUSD apparently sent out a survey to parents asking their preferences about returning or not to school, and 75% of them chose the in-school model, along with 90% of the teachers.
As California Globe reported, this appears to be a teachers-union driven issue, with the United Teachers Los Angeles union leading the charge for teachers to not return to the classroom, while receiving their full paychecks.
Palos Verdes is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, within southwestern Los Angeles County. The school district has 11,000 students. Yet the board is clearly being influenced by the UTLA.
As the Globe reported, the United Teachers Los Angeles union announced that Los Angeles Unified District schools effectively would not reopen unless certain conditions are met:
- privately operated publicly funded charter schools are shut down,
- police are defunded,
- Medicare-for-All government-run health care is passed,
- a statewide wealth tax is implemented,
- housing for homeless is fully funded,
- “financial Support for Undocumented Students and Families,” and
- they want a federal bailout because “the CARES and HEROES Acts provided funding for K-12, both fell far short of what would be needed to rescue districts and state and local governments.”
Governor Newsom originally said he wanted to allow the state’s individual school districts to decide if, when and how schools would reopen, but flip-flopped after the UTLA demands, and announced that public school students in most of California will not be attending school in person this fall, subjecting students to online learning only – if they have parents available to monitor the process.
Since then, he has routinely said during his daily press conferences that his policies were driven by science, not politics, but his decisions continue to demonstrate that he has no regard for data, science, or expert opinion – demonstrating that his decisions, and decisions of many school boards are being influenced by teachers labor unions.
California Globe will follow up with Mr. Brach after Wednesday’s school board meeting.
Here is the entire PVPUSD Board letter:
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