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UTLA ♥ Marxists

Los Angeles teachers union continues its tradition of  accommodating  and supporting political extremists.

 As a teacher and longtime member of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, I got sick and tired of the union taking my dues money and using it to support candidates and causes that I found offensive and resigned from the union in 2005. Shortly after, in the fall of 2006, there was a big dust up when UTLA President A.J. Duffy announced that he couldn’t stop a group of pro-Palestinian, anti-Semitic zealots – I mean the UTLA Human Rights Committee – from using the union offices for a meeting. Getting unexpected media attention, Mr. Duffy suddenly realized that he indeed could pull the plug on the UTLA housed meeting, which he eventually did.

The United Teachers of Los Angeles is just like many other teachers unions. By day, it does its best to protect every last member, no matter how incompetent they may be, or even criminal, as when they worked to kill SB 1530, to the detriment of the city’s 650,000 students. And then, after finishing its day job, it delves into the netherworld of left wing politics.

I first wrote about this in 2011 in a post called “The Intersection of U Street and Main Street Does Not Exist,” in which I delve into why the unions are falling out of favor with the general public. (According to a recent Education Next poll, only 22 percent of Americans think unions have a positive effect on schools.) I gave three examples to illustrate my point:

An example of the unions turn toward extremist politics took place last year in Los Angeles. Santee High School teacher and UTLA union rep Jose Lara took his students to Arizona on a “field trip” to protest Arizona’s new immigration law. In a YouTube video, Lara is seen standing in front of a wall-to-wall mural featuring a who’s who of murderous revolutionaries, including Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, while proudly displaying the motto Patria o Muerte, Venceremos!!! (Fatherland or Death, We Shall Overcome!!!). UTLA, while not a sponsor of the Memorial Day weekend trip, had no comment on Mr. Lara’s attempt to turn his students into an army of radical activists.

Sarah Knopp, also a LA high school teacher, union rep and member of the International Socialist Organization, is on record as a militant socialist who is not shy about pushing her collectivist credo onto her students. Additionally, Ms. Knopp has used UTLA offices to advocate for class warfare. After a trip to Wisconsin to protest the elimination of some collective bargaining rights for teachers, she proclaimed, “We cannot let public-sector workers and unions be scapegoats for an economic crisis caused by banks and billionaires!”

Ron Gochez, another radical teacher at Santee made an incendiary video in which he referred to Americans as “frail, racist, white people” and to California as “stolen, occupied Mexico.” This video produced calls from outraged citizens to the Los Angeles Unified School District, but they fell on deaf ears. After receiving many complaints, the district referred to the union contract and issued a statement which says, in effect, that Gochez committed no crime. So get over it. (More on Gochez shortly.)

Then just a few weeks ago, I reported that UTLA had endorsed Robert Skeels, who is running for a school board seat in Los Angeles District 2. Like Knopp, Skeels is a card-carrying member of the revolutionary International Socialist Organization. On his blog site, his bio in part reads

Robert is a committed member of both Coalition for Educational Justice and the International Socialist Organization. In addition to advancing working class struggles, Robert is an adherent of Liberation Theology.

The International Socialist Organization, according to its website, believes in

A world free of exploitation–socialism–is not only possible but worth fighting for. The ISO stands in the tradition of revolutionary socialists Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky in the belief that workers themselves–the vast majority of the population–are the only force that can lead the fight to win a socialist society. Socialism can’t be brought about from above, but has to be won by workers themselves.

Standing in the tradition of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky? Why would UTLA be in favor of letting this man be in a position of power affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of children? Perhaps a call to the union would shed some light.

You can also ask the union about the latest chapter in its love affair with Bolshevism, as evidenced by its embrace of Ron Gochez, the aforementioned racist, Jew-hating, Marxist teacher who is running for LA City Council. The previously referenced video, in which he refers to Americans as “frail, racist, white people” and to California as “stolen, occupied Mexico” was not a one-off but a variation on an ongoing theme. Here, from a few years back, is a typical statement from the man that UTLA would like to be one of a group that rules America’s second largest city.

“Either you are with us or against us” is what Bush tells us. Our civil rights are under attack by this fascist and Nazi-like Bush administration. All people of color have been/are victims of racial profiling at the hands of the border, police, military, Republican and Democratic pigs. The post Sept. 11 disappearances of our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters are proof of that. As Chicanos/Mexicanos living in occupied Mexico/Aztlan, we are treated like foreigners on our own land. Our civil rights are violated 24/7. Don’t believe me? Research Operation Gatekeeper and the 800 people who have been murdered under the rule of the “Republicrat” dictatorship. When we try to educate ourselves by passing out “Know Your Rights” fliers, we are beaten, arrested and made political prisoners like Ben Prado.

The Jewish-owned media continue to blind the masses with propaganda to keep them in fear. Because of that, foolish Americans are accepting B.S. like the Patriot Act which is turning the United States (if it is not already) into a military/police state and taking away our privacy. The FBI and CIA tap the phones and break into the homes of anyone who has a different viewpoint and assassinate those who pose a threat to their White Power and capitalistic agenda.

MEChA is completely against everything that Bush and his cronies stand for but we still deserve and demand that our people’s civil rights be respected!

–Ron Gochez
chairman, MEChA de SDSU

In defense of Gochez, coming down on “Republican and Democratic pigs,” would seem to make him an equal opportunity hater. And it’s not just ex-President George W. Bush that he loathes. Gochez is also affiliated with the African People’s Socialist Party which in the past has come up with such niceties as calling President Obama

…a “traitor,” a “motherf**ker,” and a “boot-licking ni**er” who needs someone to “whup his ass” (from video of 2009 and 2010 APSP/Black is Back rallies in Washington DC.)

In another video, we see Gochez and some cronies holding a Cuban flag with a picture of Che Guevara superimposed on it, taunting a group of Cubans who were holding a peaceful rally in Los Angeles. Apparently, Mr. Gochez took it personally that thousands of Cubans managed to escape from the island prison known as Cuba and refuse to venerate the monstrous Guevara, who, as Fidel Castro’s henchman, tortured and murdered thousands of innocent Cubans.

There is much more incriminating evidence on Gochez, but you get the idea. That he is being endorsed by UTLA, the second largest local teachers union in the country, is despicable. Its support of revolutionary, America-hating candidates should deeply trouble every dues paying teacher, not to mention the parents whose children are in the schools where people like Gochez are allowed to “teach.”

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

Got Glue?

Restoring civic attachment and mainstreaming revolution.

Back in 2010, the American Enterprise Institute launched “The Program on American Citizenship,” a worthy project that is dedicated to

strengthening the foundations of American freedom and self-government by renewing our understanding of American citizenship. The ultimate goal of the Program is to deepen Americans’ appreciation for and attachment to those principles that are necessary to keep the United States free, strong, and democratic.

America’s public schools were founded in order to create good citizens who could sustain a new and fragile republic. As Thomas Jefferson famously opined, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Thus, for nearly two centuries, schools have made civic education a priority in order to ensure the continued stability of our democratic republic and to provide an ever-more-diverse citizenry with a solid appreciation of the rights, opportunities and responsibilities that come with American citizenship.

Today, however, too many of our schools are failing in that mission. To understand the sources of this decline, the Program commissioned a groundbreaking, new survey of the teachers most directly charged with educating and shaping America’s new citizens–high school teachers of history and social studies.

Our survey work provided a clear policy directive: If we are to get better citizens, we need better civic education, which gives a central role to America’s history, political institutions, and ideals and is based on effective classroom practice.

The teacher survey points out that history is being given short shrift in our schools and that five out of six teachers think that the United States is a “unique country that stands for something special in the world” and that it is most important for high school students to “respect and appreciate their country but know its shortcomings.”

Growing up in the 1950s, teaching American exceptionalism was the norm and it seems to me that we need to return to that place in a hurry. For far too long we have been ignoring history, and when it is taught, it’s of the revisionist variety, coming from a left wing perspective where the emphasis is on which bad old white guys ruined the lives of…fill in the blank… minority.

What so many don’t realize is that without patriotism, a dirty word in some progressive circles, our nation is doomed. As Thomas Sowell pointed out,

Patriotism is not chic in the circles of those who assume the role of citizens of the world, whether they are discussing immigration or giving aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime.

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire was as much due to the internal disintegration of the ties that bind a society together as to the assaults of the Romans’ external enemies.

The pride of being a Roman citizen was destroyed by cheapening that citizenship by giving it to too many other people. The sense of duty and loyalty eroded among both the elites and the masses.

Without such things, there could be no Roman Empire. Ultimately, without such things, there can be no United States of America. In neither case have tangible wealth and power been enough to save a country or a civilization, for the tangibles do not work without the intangibles.

Laudably, AEI has just launched Phase II of its program, “Counting on Character: National Heritage Academies (NHA) and Civic Education” in which such things as character, traditional morality and virtue are stressed. NHA operates 74 schools nationwide with 60 percent of them in Michigan. In Grand Rapids, Ridge Park Academy, a typical NHA campus,

…starts every day with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star-Spangled Banner, and the school creed: “I am a Ridge Park scholar. I strive to achieve academic excellence. I exemplify high moral character. I work diligently to prepare for the future . . .”

Character education is ubiquitous and relentless at NHA schools. Each month is assigned a “moral focus” or virtue, which teachers are supposed to weave into their lessons and students write about from kindergarten through eighth grade. Signs in classrooms and hallways honor examples of virtue.

Like other charter schools, NHA promises parents to teach a rigorous curriculum that will prepare their children for success in college. It also promises a moral education imbued with traditional values such as love of country and family. Good character is not just a private asset, NHA leaders believe. It leads to good citizenship.

Again, there is nothing new here. What is being emphasized was business-as-usual in American schools a half century ago. Nice to see it making a comeback, though. May it spread like wildfire.

And from the sublime to the ridiculous….That Bill Ayers, the America-hating zealot and terrorist extraordinaire, is still allowed to walk and breathe in civil society (let alone get to hold the title, “Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar” at the University of Illinois at Chicago) is outrageous.

In his 2001 memoir “Fugitive Days,” Ayers recounts his life as a 1960s radical and boasts that he 

participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. Of the day he bombed the Pentagon, Ayers writes, “Everything was absolutely ideal…. The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them.” He further recalls his fascination with the fact that “a good bomb” could render even “big buildings and wide streets … fragile and destructible,” leaving behind a “majestic scene” of utter destruction.

All told, Ayers and the Weather Underground were responsible for 30 bombings aimed at destroying the defense and security infrastructures of the U.S.  “I don’t regret setting bombs,” said Ayers in 2001, “I feel we didn’t do enough.” Contemplating whether or not he might again use bombs against the U.S. sometime in the future, he wrote: “I can’t imagine entirely dismissing the possibility.”

…In a December 2012 speech at New York University, Ayers emphasized the importance of using the education system, among other things, to indoctrinate young people and thereby transform American society. (Bold added.) Said Ayers: “If we want change to come, we would do well not to look at the sites of power we have no access to; the White House, the Congress, the Pentagon. We have absolute access to the community, the school, the neighborhood, the street, the classroom, the workplace, the shop, the farm.”

As a vile and violent revolutionary, should this guy be in a position to affect our kids? Well, the Association of Teacher Educators certainly thinks so. In fact, this group has invited Ayers to be a keynote speaker next month at its yearly conference.

The Virginia-based Association of Teacher Educators describes itself as a “membership organization devoted solely to the improvement of teacher education both for school-based and post secondary teacher educators.”

“ATE members represent over 650 colleges and universities, 500 major school systems, and the majority of the state departments of education. The ATE office is located in the Washington, DC area where it represents its members’ interests before governmental agencies and educational organizations,” according to the organization’s website.

“In addition, ATE has two voting seats on the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.” (NCATE is a useless organization set up by the National Education Association; its mission is to “help establish high quality teacher preparation.” You’ve probably noticed they have established no such thing.)

Then we have a school board race in Los Angeles in March. Board races in LA are major political events with boatloads of money being spent. One race of note is in District 2 – comprising Central and East LA, where reform-minded board president Monica Garcia is facing stiff competition, most notably from Robert Skeels, who is a card carrying member of the revolutionary International Socialist Organization. On his blog site, his bio in part reads

Robert is a committed member of both Coalition for Educational Justice and the International Socialist Organization. In addition to advancing working class struggles, Robert is an adherent of Liberation Theology.

The International Socialist Organization, according to its website, believes in

A world free of exploitation–socialism–is not only possible but worth fighting for. The ISO stands in the tradition of revolutionary socialists Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky in the belief that workers themselves–the vast majority of the population–are the only force that can lead the fight to win a socialist society. Socialism can’t be brought about from above, but has to be won by workers themselves.

Standing in the tradition of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky? Who, you ask, would be in favor of letting this man be in a position of power affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of children? Seems that two unions – the United Teachers of Los Angeles (teachers) and the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (principals) – are leading a nasty pack of America haters that have endorsed Revolutionary Robert to be on the school board.

Running for president in 2007, John Edwards noted that there were “Two Americas” – rich and poor. He was partially right. There are indeed two Americas, but we are not divided by economic status. We are separated by those who love our country and those who don’t and want to radically alter it. At the same time that some of us are behind a common sense historical and civic revival, attempting to strengthen our national glue, others are intent on transforming the country by mainstreaming revolutionary creeps like Ayers and Skeels. To restore American greatness, we must teach American values. Or, we can sit idly by while a fifth column – including “teacher education improvement” groups and unions – hiding in plain sight, works to destroy all things American.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.