This election, West Anaheim voters in Trustee Area 3 of the Anaheim Elementary School District have the opportunity election to choose who will represent them on the AESD Board of Education.
They didn’t have a choice four years ago, when the current incumbent, J. Paolo Magalcas, was the only candidate who filed. Consequently, the election was cancelled, with the quirky result that Magcalas has represented Area 3 voters without having been chosen by Area 3 voters.
Magcalas is now seeking a second term, and his opponent is Anaheim City Councilwoman Lucille Kring.
Kring has been on the ballot in Anaheim many times and is known to West Anaheim voters.
But who is J. Paolo Magcalas?
Devotee Of Marxist Critical Pedaogoy Theory
He is an adherent of Critical Pedagogy, a theory widespread in radical education circles. Critical Pedagogy holds that teaching and politics are inseparable and intertwined, that teaching is an intrisnicvally political act whose goal is inculcating a “social justice” consciousness in students. It is the brainchild of Pablo Freire, the late Brazilian Marxist and author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed – one of the Bibles of identity politics activists like Magcalas.
That view is at odds with how the vast majority of parents view the relationship between public education and their children. They want schools to focus on teaching their children proficiency in reading, mathematics, science, technology – not turn them into junior Social Justice Warriors.
For Critical Pedogagy (and Critical Race Theory) devotees like Magcalas, there’s nothing wrong in using their position to trespass into the realm of family and influence and mold a student’s political world view and values.
Supports Defunding The Police
Magcalas, like other woke activists, is hostile to law enforcement and supports defunding the police. For example here’s Magcalas this summer cheering the Los Angeles City Council’s decision to slash the LAPD’s budget:
Thinks School Safety Officers Are “Bullies In Blue”
Magcalas’ negative view of law enforcement extends to school safety officers, whom he views as “Bullies IN Blue” and part of the “schools-to-prison pipeline”:
Magcalas was effusive when the LA Unified School District cut school safety funding this summer:
Uses Students As Political and Campaign Foot Soldiers
Consonant with his belief that teaching is inherently political, Magcalas is not shy about using students in his Ethnic Studies classes as political activists for causes and candidates he supports.
For example, Magcalas mobilized his students to attend Anaheim City Council meetings and agitate for the council to adopt a council districts map drawn by his political allies. Magcalas had his students make posters emblazoned with political slogans, which they used to demonstrate at the council meeting:
This isn’t why parents send their kids to school, and it is an inappropriate use of teaching authority.
Supports Massive Property Tax Increase
Magcalas and the rest of the Anaheim Elementary School District Board of Education voted to endorse Prop. 15, which would partially repeal Proposition 13 by eliminating its protections for commercial property. The result would be the largest property tax increase in California history: $12 billion dollars annually. This would lead to increased rents for small business owners – including many in West Anaheim – the destruction of tens of thousands of jobs and a devastating economic body blow to our struggling state economy.
But the California Teachers Association is spending millions to support it, and Magcalas is a teachers union loyalist. The teachers union is also spending thousands and thousands of dollars on Magcalas’ re-election.
Magcalas is upset at his opponent, Anaheim Lucille Kring, for standing up for taxpayers and voting to oppose Prop. 15:
Magcalas and other status quo apologist fail to mention that public education already receives nearly half of the state general fund. Per pupil spending is more than $13,000 per child, per year. Rather than trying to squeeze more money from already over-taxed citizens and businesses, Magcalas should explain why the AESD doesn’t do a better job of educating its students?
Spent $1 Million Suing AESD Parents
An especially shameful chapter in Magcalas’ political career concerns the struggle of a group of working class, immigrant parents to convert their school, Palm Lane Elementary School, into an independent public charter school. All these parents wanted was a better education for their kids. They exercised their rights under state law to convert Palm Lane into a charter school. They worked hard and followed the rules and gathered the necessary number of parent signatures.
Rather than work with these parents, the AESD fought them every step of the way. Magcalas, a a member of the AESD BOard of Education, supported this war on the Palm Lane parents. He approved filing a lawsuit against the parent to prevent them from re-opening Palm Lane as a charter school. The lawsuit dragged on for two years an ultimately cost the district nearly $1 million.
OC Superior Court Judge Andrew Banks denounced the AESD’s behavior as “unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.”
Magcalas and the AESD lost the litigation. The parents prevailed, and Palm Lane Charter School is open and thriving, with rising test scores. Magcalas has never apologized to those parents – his constituents – and as a final insult, the district stripped the school library of every book before turning it over to the charter school board.
Magcalas; ideological opposition to charter schools trumped his duty to his constituents and to providing every opportunity for a quality education to the children of his district. He has even abused school district resources to organize anti-charter school “neighborhood walks” by students and staff.
Lucille Kring, by contrast, was a vocal supporter of the Palm Lane parents and now is a member of the Palm Lane Charter School Board of Directors.
Introducing “Ethnic Studies” Indoctrination To Anaheim Elementary Students
Magcalas is a true believer in Ethnic Studies. He introduced it into the cuuriculum of the Anaheim Union High School District, where he taught until recently at Loara High School. The motive is to mold and shape the political consciousness of students. He even published a paper explaining his belief that traditional U.S. history curriculum is “oppressive” and that he, as an American history teacher, had been an “oppressor.” He wrote that he launched Ethnic Studies in the AUHSD in order to “liberate” the minds of students.
As an AESD trustee, he is committed to that goal, and this year he succeeded in having Ethnic Studies added to the course curriculum of the K-6 district – because 7-year olds need to be taught their country’s history is a chronology of racism and oppression.
Kring, by contrast, subscribes to the mainstream belief that school should educate – rather than indoctrinate – students.
Violating COVID-19 Safety Protocols To Organize Anti-Police Protest By Students
Political radicalism is what animates Magcalas, and seems to override boundaries of propriety and good judgment. At the end of May, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, Magcalas and a group of radical AUSHD teachers organized an anti-police protest by students at La Palma Park. There was no social distancing, and a number of participants and organizers wore masks sporadically or not at all. Neither Magcalas nor any other teacher sought permission from parents before luring their children into close quarters in the middle of a pandemic.
The students then march to downtown to join in a “Fuck The Police” protest in front of City Hall -at a time when “mostly peaceful” anti-police protests across the country were degenerating into rioting and looting. Magcalas and the rest of the grown-ups just went home, leaving the kids to their own devices.
Magcalas Thinks Thanksgiving Is Racist And Needs To Be “De-Colonized”
In a sense, Magcalas is almost a walking parody of an identity politics radical, espousing all the fashionable beliefs of the woke Left. For example, he denounces Thanksgiving Day as a racist holiday that needs to be “de-colonized’:
You can’t make this stuff up.
Trustee Area 3 voters have a choice. On one hand, there’s J. Paolo Magcalas, who sees his job as political consciousness raising rather than educating; who spent nearly $1 million in district funds fighting parents who wanted to form a charter school; whose ideological prejudices against charter schools, American history, law enforcement place him at the fringe and at odds with his constituents.
Or they can support Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring, who understands parents are the primary educators of their children and should have the ultimate say over their education. Who wants our public schools to strive for excellence. Who embraces school choice, and supports parents whether they want to their children to attend traditional public schools or public charter schools. Who wants teachers to have maximum support and flexibility in the classroom, and will focus on furnishing the opportunity for a quality education – instead of using public schools to advance a social/political agenda at the expense of the students.