Council approves resolution opposing the association’s education bill

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The San Clemente City Council, by a vote of 3-2, approved a non-binding resolution opposing the educational orientation Assembly Bill 1078 At its meeting held on the night of Tuesday 18 April. Mayor Chris Duncan and Councilman Mark Enmeyer were the dissenting votes.

The decision, which relates to “the state’s usurpation of local control” as stated by Mayor Pro Tem Steve Knoblock, was originally slated to be discussed at the April 4 meeting before being removed.

Days before the meeting, AB 1078 was pulled from the agenda of the State House Education Committee on March 29 at the request of its author, Assembly Member Dr. Corey Jackson (D-Riverside).

The legislation proposes requiring local educational agencies and districts to obtain approval from the California State Board of Education before removing educational materials; Stop teaching certain curricula. and delete books and other publications from libraries.

AB 1078 will also prioritize adding people of all gender expressions and people of LGBTQ+ to the list of diverse groups to be accurately portrayed within instructional materials.

“I know a lot of people are concerned (that) this isn’t a city job, but at the same time it deals with local control,” Knoblock said. “He deals with important issues involving all of our children, which is why I raised him.”

Knoblock initially brought up the issue at the council meeting on March 21, distributing a draft copy of the resolution to his colleagues, which resembles the language in a similar resolution drafted by the Orange County Department of Education. Support from council members Victor Cabral and Jane James led the staff to write a formal resolution for discussion on Tuesday night.

Addressing the concerns of the public, Knoblock said he did not believe the board had overstepped its bounds. State involvement in local government, whether it was school government in this case, and the fact that AB 1078 is still a “living bill” were some of the reasons the city got involved.

He also commented on the mention of teachers’ rights from one of the public speakers.

“Teachers have no rights,” Knoblock said. Parents give their children to school districts to be educated and trained. Children have rights, parents have rights, and they shouldn’t be affiliated with teachers,[the California Teachers Association]or a state department of education.”

James added that he’d had enough Democrats in the state legislature who were “serious” about crushing parental rights and giving teachers unions more rights than parents. Cabral said he agreed with James and Noblock.

“The government in Sacramento is taking a lot of control,” Cabral said. “Cities have to fight for themselves, they have to fight for their mates (on) the local school boards, and as long as I’m here, I’ll continue to do that.”

Enmeier, a teacher at San Clemente High School, said it is strictly about the school board.

During the council debate, Cabral challenged Duncan about his involvement in activities that included challenging the national mayor to conserve water and mayors against gun violence, as well as his vote in favor of past letters expressing his views on bills in the legislature.

James jumped in to do the same, pointing to Duncan using the city’s letterhead to issue a statement on abortion rights in August 2022.

Duncan argued the affirmations, saying that every matter concerned or was for the city. In addition, he said that while he supported local control, he called the resolution a “cultural war political clause” outside the council’s purview.

“I can only conclude that it is an attack on public school teachers like (Enmir),” Duncan said, adding that public schools and administrators are also targeted.

Cabral said he agrees with Duncan on one of his points, which is that San Clemente has great schools.

“I want to keep them that way,” Cabral said, “(and) I want to keep control locally and not have Sacramento make decisions for us about what’s best.”

The decision received support from most public commentators, including San Clemente’s father and Capistrano Unified School employee Patricia Freitag.

“Please help us oppose AB 1078 and help us keep our voices as parents in the public school system,” Freitag said.

Among the dissenting speakers was Trudy Budupas, who called the matter completely outside the council’s purview and argued that parents already have many ways to make their voices heard.

Knoblock agreed with Duncan about the existence of a “culture war”, which should be discussed in the local field and members of the school board, in this case. He went on to say that the culture wars are being fought by those who do not want those who are being punished to teach elementary school students.

“The moment the school board, in which the school board says, ‘We’re not going to do that,’ Sacramento says, ‘Oh, yeah, you will. “

As of Wednesday, April 19, AB 1078 remains on the Society’s Education Committee.