Education

Why everyone should care about the school board candidates even if you don’t have children

10/27/2022: Updated with candidate response.
11/11/2022: Updated with request for corrections by Hillsdale College in Michigan and Saskia kennedy’s response can be seen at end of article. 
“Education is the key to personal development and the future of societies. 
It unlocks opportunities and narrows inequalities. 
It is the bedrock of informed, tolerant societies, 
and a primary driver of sustainable development,”
–UN Secretary General António Guterres, August of 2020

 

According to their own websites, Fullerton Joint Union High School District candidate Matt Van Hook and Fullerton School District candidate Lisa Wozab are endorsed by Mari Barke. Both candidates made statements saying, “Mari Barke, OC Department of Education Trustee, has endorsed my candidacy, ”  but both neglected to add her major involvement with Classical Academy Charter Schools and the Charter School PAC.

When asked if Matt Van Hook was an advocate of Charter schools and specifically OC Classical Academy he stated that, “I am a strong advocate for parent choice in education. I proudly support the Orange County Board of Education’s charters for the Orange County Classical Academy (OCCA) as well as the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA).  I fully support OCCA’s partnership with Hillsdale College—a national leader in providing outstanding civics curricula from the top scholars in the fields of American political thought. I am proud to be endorsed by Mari Barke who has twice served as president of the OC Board of Education and who has been a strong advocate for listening to parents and students.”

When asked if Lisa Wozab was an advocate of Charter schools and specifically OC Classical Academy she stated, “Thank you for the opportunity to respond and clarify my support of public education and the Fullerton School District where I, and my son, received an excellent education. I have no affiliation with any charter schools or their curricula, including OC Classical Academy. My children have not attended charter schools. For over 8 years I have been a committed volunteer for the Fullerton School District and as a Board of Directors Member of the Fullerton Education Foundation, raising funds for teacher grants and serving on PTA and a variety of Fullerton School District committees. As well as being endorsed by incumbent Fullerton School District Governing Board Member for Trustee Area 4, Janny Meyer.”

Charter Schools PAC is a political group centered around Hillsdale, a small Christian college in Michigan whose mission is to replace public school education with charter schools that have a conservative agenda. The first of these charter schools in California is OC Classical Academy located in the city of Orange. That school, which opened in 2020, was co-founded by attorney Mark Bucher, CEO of California Policy Center,  a rightwing think tank that aims to reduce union power and pensions, and former Los Alamitos Unified School Board member Jeff Barke who pushed creationism and climate denial. According to a Feb 3rd article in the OC Register, Mari and Jeff Barke along with Congressional candidate Scott Baugh have plans to open a dozen more Classical Academy charters.

A step towards that goal took place on Feb. 2, 2022 when the OC Board of Education gave the go-ahead  for OC Classical Academy charter schools using Hillsdale 1776 curriculum to locate county-wide based upon local district school board approvals. The vote was 3 to 1 with Tim Shaw, Lisa Sparks and Ken Williams voting yes and Beckie Gomez voting no. Due to her involvement, Mari Barke recused herself from the vote. Mari Barke along with candidates Tim Shaw and Lisa Sparks are running for re-election on the OC Board of Education and are each supported by contributions of $75K from Charter Schools PAC. (Williams 2020 campaign was funded by over $100,000 from Charter Schools PAC and $35,000 loan from Bucher) (See https://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/)

Barke won her first campaign for OC Board of Education in 2018 funded by Charter Public Schools and Bucher’s California Policy Center. After winning her seat, she became a director at CPC.  Her husband, Jeff Barke, as well as being co-founder of OC Classical Charter, is a physician in Newport who attacked public health experts like Dr. Fauci, the CDC, and the Surgeon General on social media and news broadcasts. He, as one of “America’s Frontline Doctors” was denounced for spreading misinformation on Covid-19 and treatments. According to its 2020 tax exempt application the group is a project of the Free Speech (aka Common Sense) Foundation with fiscal sponsorship of the Tea Party Patriots Foundation.

Hillsdale college promotes its curricula which Trump’s 1776 Commission report is based on. Formed by executive order, the commission was announced in a speech on September 17, 2020 with Trump saying that “the lie of systemic racism was being taught in U.S. schools.” The commission’s stated mission was to increase national patriotism and end the teaching of a ”radicalized view of American history.”

The American Historical Association saw the report differently characterizing it as “a form of government indoctrination of American students,” and “an apparent attempt to reject recent efforts to understand the multiple ways the institution of slavery shaped our nation’s history.”

Even though the Commission was disbanded when President Biden took office, it continues to insert its agenda across the nation including here in Orange County through the spread of Classical Academy Charter Schools from a base at Hillsdale College.

Larry Arnn, chair of the now defunct 1776 Commission, is president of Hillsdale College. He made statements about public education in July of 2022 that were condemned by his own faculty, students and alumni, including the following: “The teachers are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country….You will see how education destroys generations of people….It’s devastating. It’s like the plague. We are going to try to demonstrate that you don’t have to be an expert to educate a child because basically anybody can do it.”

Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative provides the 1776 curriculum to charters and homeschools and assists in founding charter schools across the nation.  Currently there are 22 member academies and 44 private charter schools using the curriculum nationwide. The curriculum gets its name from the idea that American history began in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence. Classical schools also provide coursework in Latin, Greek, music, ancient literature, Singapore math, grammar,  principles of moral character, civic virtue and patriotism with a focus on history and cultural achievements of Western civilization.

Things they list to consider when thinking about opening a school in a district include:

“•How much funding is available per pupil? •How much flexibility do charter schools have in hiring teachers and administrators? How much flexibility in paying them? •What are the state’s curriculum standards, and how will these influence the ability to select curriculum?”

Our local school board positions are non partisan however, former California Republican Party Chair Shawn Steele is promoting “Parent Revolt,” a program created by Steele within the California Republican Party, focused on recruiting and supporting candidates to run for local education offices.

It’s website claims that schools are failing because “Powerful interest groups decide everything: When schools are open. Whether they must be masked. What they should believe about race, sex, and politics.”

What powerful interests are they talking about? What is the Republican Party’s real purpose in creating “Parent Revolt” ? Steele said on California Insider’s May 22, 2022 broadcast that “in order to overthrow the progressive agenda you’ve got to start someplace – get those local elections – get a thousand new school board members who will have great influence in their communities and out of that you’ll get new leadership…that can rule that territory forever… The first step after winning elections the new board members should fire the lawyers and superintendent who control the curriculum. “We can help you with replacements,” he said.

Who voters elect in the Nov. election will determine if the 1776 model of charter school is allowed to flourish with taxpayer funding in the public school districts of Orange County (though such schools could still locate as a private alternative). There are some wonderful charter schools, just pay attention to who is backing the candidates and what is being taught. After all, the young minds of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.

————–CORRECTION REQUESTED BY HILLSDALE AND AUTHORS RESPONSE—————

Hillsdale College Request for Corrections: Good morning. I write regarding the October 25 Fullerton Observer article “Why everyone should care about the school board candidates even if you don’t have children.” The piece contains numerous factual errors and misleading claims that inaccurately represent Hillsdale College and its work with charter schools. We respectfully request correction of the following.

Bill Zeiser  |  Associate Director of Media Relations & Communications
President’s Office  |  Hillsdale College
HILLSDALE CORRECTION REQUEST:
“Charter Schools PAC is a political group centered around Hillsdale, a small Christian college in Michigan….”
• This sentence should be removed.
• Hillsdale College is not affiliated in any way with Charter Schools PAC. To hear that it is “centered” around Hillsdale is a surprise, as Hillsdale was, before this article, unaware of its existence and work.
AUTHORS CORRECTION: Sorry for this error and thank you for the correction. Charter Schools PAC is not “centered” around Hillsdale, however the PAC does fund campaigns of candidates who support locating the Hillsdale 1776 Classical Charter School model in our area (such as Hillsdale member school OC Classical Academy Charter in Orange).
HILLSDALE CORRECTION REQUEST:
“…whose mission is to replace public school education with charter schools that have a conservative agenda.”
• This sentence should say something like: “When it comes to K-12 education, Hillsdale College’s mission is to help local founding groups establish charter schools that emphasize civic and liberal arts education in their local communities.”
• Replacing public schools is not Hillsdale College’s mission. If you insist on that narrative, it should be presented as conjecture, not fact, because it certainly is not fact.
AUTHORS CONJECTURE: As demonstrated by Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn’s own comments on public education and those of speakers and financial supporters of the college – replacing public schools does seem to be a goal. Under “Teaching for Virtue” section of the Hillsdale website, major donor and former Trump Administration Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, speaking at the college, clearly lays out the plan.
HILLSDALE CORRECTION REQUEST:
“Hillsdale College promotes its curricula based on Trump’s 1776 Commission report. Formed by executive order, the commission was announced in a speech on September 17, 2020 with Trump saying that ‘the lie of systemic racism was being taught in U.S. schools.’ The commission’s stated mission was to increase national patriotism and end the teaching of a ‘radicalized view of American history.’”
• “This sentence should be removed or seriously altered because it is factually untrue.
• No formal. Connection exists between the former president’s 1776 Commission or the 1776 Report and Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum.  The foundation of the Hillside 1776 Curriculum long predates the 1776 Commission/Report and represents decades of forming and honing. Curricula Hillsdale College and its associated K-12 schools.”
AUTHORS CORRECTION:  I apologize for the error that got the hierarchy reversed. Hillsdale’s 1776 Curriculum does pre-date Trump’s 1776 Commission which was based on Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative’s Hillsdale 1776 curricula. Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn was appointed by Trump as the director of the commission which was formed by executive order and announced in Trump’s September 17, 2020 speech where he said the following about public school education: “We must clear away the twisted web of lies taught in our schools and classrooms and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country…a radical movement is attempting to demolish this treasured  and precious inheritance…we can’t let that happen. Left wing mobs have torn down statues of our founders, desecrated our memorials, and carried out a campaign of violence and anarchy.  Through the direct result of Left-wing indoctrination in our schools. Our children are instructed from propaganda tracks like those of Howard Zinn that try to make students ashamed of their own history . . . I am also pleased to announce that I will sign an executive order establishing a national commission to promote patriotic education . . . called the 1776 Commission …  Our youth will be taught to love America with all of their heart and all of their soul, we will save this cherished inheritance for our children,  their children and every generation to come. This is a very important day.”
At a separate rally announcing the commission  Trump said, “To combat the toxic left-wing propaganda in our schools I am announcing a new pro-american lesson plan for students called 1776 Commission… What they are teaching them is a disgrace – we are ending it. We are taking school funds away from these crazy schools that are teaching horrible bad things. We will teach our children the truth about America – that we are the most exceptional nation on the face of the earth…”  
HILLSDALE CORRECTION REQUEST:
“Even though the Commission was disbanded when President Biden took office, it continues to insert its agenda across the nation including here in Orange County through the spread of Classical Academy Charter Schools from a base at Hillsdale College.”
• This sentence should be removed or seriously altered because it is factually untrue. Again—it should be reiterated that there is no formal partnership between the work of Hillsdale College, its Office of K-12 Education, and the 1776 Commission.
AUTHORS CLARIFICATION: The agenda of Trump’s 1776 Commission, headed by Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn, was to replace current public school history and civic curricula nationwide.  The committee based its selected curriculum on Hillsdale’s 1776 curriculum which the college provides to member schools.   Classical Academy Charter Schools as Hillsdale Member schools are currently seeking locations in the Orange County public school system. The first member school in California has already been located in the city of Orange.
HILLSDALE CORRECTION REQUEST:
“Larry Arnn, chair of the now defunct 1776 Commission, is president of Hillsdale College. He made statements about public education in July of 2022 that were condemned by his own faculty, students and alumni…”
• Dr. Arnn has since further supported and elaborated on his June comments in a several places, including “USA Today,” the “Tennessean,” and the “Washington Examiner.”
• He has stated: “I meant no disparagement of teachers. Anyone who reads my writings, or considers what I do for a living, would understand that I respect teachers and have long criticized what the education bureaucracy has done to the profession.”
AUTHORS CLARIFICATION: President of Hillsdale College and former chair of  Trump’s 1776 Commission, Larry Arnn, in a speech at a private invitation-only event in June (see video leaked to Channel 5) speaking about public school teachers said, “The teachers are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country….You will see how education destroys generations of people….It’s devastating. It’s like the plague. We are going to try to demonstrate that you don’t have to be an expert to educate a child because basically anybody can do it.”
After being heavily criticized for his comments condemned by his own faculty, students and alumni and others, he later “clarified” them, saying he respected teachers and meant to criticize bureaucracy.
HILLSDALE CORRECTION REQUEST:
“Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative provides the 1776 curriculum to charters and homeschools and assists in founding charter schools across the nation. Currently there are 22 member academies and 44 private charter schools using the curriculum nationwide.”
• Factually untrue on two fronts.
• This sentence should be revised to say: “Currently, there are 23 member schools and 48 curriculum schools using the curriculum nationwide.”
AUTHORS UPDATE: Thanks for the updated information on the increased number of schools. I wrote the 22/44 number of schools directly from the list provided on the Hillsdale website at time of print.
======================
HILLSDALE CORRECTION REQUEST:
“The curriculum gets its name from the idea that American history began in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence.”
• This sentence should be revised to say: “The curriculum gets its name from 1776, the year the United States declared independence from England.”
AUTHORS EDIT: Good edit – that is a better way of saying the same thing.
===================
HILLSDALE CORRECTION REQUEST:
• The 1619 Project claims that the United States was founded in 1619 when an English ship brought slaves to the Virginia, which was very decidedly an English colony at the time.
AUTHORS CLARIFICATION: Although the article in the Observer did not mention the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project – it should be noted that authors of the 1619 project agree that the country was founded in 1776. Below is the description from the New York Times Magazine introduction to the series.

1619 PROJECT: “The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”

Here is what Trump said about the Pulitzer-Prize winning 1619 Project in his Sept 2020 speech announcing the 1776 Commission:
“The Left has warped, distorted and defiled the American story with deception, falsehoods and lies. There is no better example of this than the New York Times totally discredited 1619 project that teaches we were founded on oppression not freedom- nothing could be farther from the truth – America’s founding set in motion the unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery, secured civil rights, defeated communism and fascism and built the most fair, equal, and  Prosperous nation in human history.”

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Protect local journalism – please subscribe to the print edition or online edition of the Fullerton Observer. All editions are free, but subscriptions keep us printing, distributing, and posting the paper.  Annual subscription is only $39/year. It only takes a minute – Click Here To Subscribe. Thank you for your support for the Fullerton Observer. Click here to view a copy of the print edition.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

56 replies »

  1. WHOOPS – I meant Hillsdale 1776 curriculum was named after the date the Declaration of Independence was signed (not Constitution). Your other comments are exactly word for word what Hillsdale College PR just sent the paper. Look for that in the next Observer. If you, and it looks like you do, support the Hillsdale 1776 curriculum being taught in Fullerton public schools through allowing Classical Academy Charter schools to locate here, with taxpayer funding, that is of course your right.

  2. Hi Fritz, Always good to look at the facts and the alternative facts!
    The President of Hillsdale was appointed by Trump to head the 1776 Commission which Trump created through executive order to develop a nationwide patriotic curriculum for schools. Hillsdale named its curriculum “1776” after the date the constitution was signed. The curriculum is focused on patriotic (and in many cases Christian) and western accomplishments and history. Certainly should be part but not all that is taught.
    For example you and I are of the age group who were taught that slaves were generally happy, singing in the fields, and well taken care of by their plantation owners. And that Native American children were brought into mission schools to provide them with a good education And all contributions to the country were made by white males with exception of those made by one black inventor, three women, several Chinese railroad workers and some Mexican farm workers.
    I was college age before I learned that was (ahem) not accurate. I recommend the very easy to read book Peoples History by historian Howard Zinn that puts women and people of color back in history of the US and doesn’t start history at the signing. As I remember he even has a version for young kids as many of us want something gentler for kids.

  3. I applaud Jo Ann Brannock’s article renaming critical thinking with “Evaluative Thinking” and the statement, “we all need to get all the established facts pertaining to a topic or issue before deciding if it is true or false.” (Fullerton Observer October 30)
    Applying Ms. Brannock’s “component of thoughtful thinking,” I offer alternate facts for Saskia Kennedy’s article “Why everyone should care about the school board candidates even if you don’t have children.” (Fullerton Observer October 25).
    1. Hillsdale College is not affiliated with Charter Schools PAC. Hillsdale was, before this article, unaware of its existence and work.
    2. Hillsdale College’s mission is to help local founding groups establish charter schools that emphasize civic and liberal arts education in their local communities.”
    3. Replacing public schools is not a Hillsdale College mission, and the Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum is not a political project; it’s an educational endeavor.
    4. The foundation of the Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum long predates the 1776 Commission/Report
    and represents a culmination of decades of forming and honing curricula at Hillsdale College and its associated K-12 schools. There is no formal connection with Trump’s 1776 Commission report.
    5. The curriculum gets its name from 1776, the year the United States declared independence from England.

  4. My kids attended Golden Hill School. During that time I served in the PTA and I can verify Lisa was an active member of our PTA, attended meetings and volunteered above and beyond! Her son was a Golden Hill Gator!
    I particularly remember how hard she worked for the Operation Christmas toy drive and was a joy to work along side of.
    Thanks for your public service then and now, Lisa! You have a great heart!

    • Wow. @Sharon I agree, the hit piece on Ruthi Hanchett sent to Democrats making her out to be the Trump Republican, and Wozab the inclusive Democratic, to mislead voters is horrible and deceptive. I just saw on social media that many Fullerton school board and city council leaders issued a statement denouncing this kind deceptive campaigning. Two retired FSD Trustees who were included on that mailer as Lisa’s endorsers pulled their endorsements, signed the statement against the mailer, and did not consent to being included on that mailer. Misleading campaigning speaks volumes, as does the last line of the FSD leaders’ statement: “Our schools and community deserve better. Character matters.”

  5. Sarah – thanks for the link to that story -wow- that is a great example of school districts that allowed the A3 public charter school model to locate in their district but did not investigate first or maintain any oversight. Even though the fraud case was won the districts that were lax in oversight aren’t sharing in the settlement money and who knows how many kids were harmed. I think a similar thing is happening with the 1776 Classical Academy public charter that the OC Board of Ed just gave the go ahead to.
    I just got a hit mailer sent out by “taxpayers for reform” (another sneaky group around town funded by developer Bushala who has also contributed to several local politicians) that is attempting to trash Hanchett and elevate Wosab. I can’t imagine who would be persuaded by these disgusting mailers. Incredibly, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission, lies on political mailers and signs are legal under first amendment free speech laws. Only requirement is it has to clearly state who is putting it out. So beware voters.

  6. Thanks for the article. I might have missed it, but do privately-run charter schools use taxpayer money?

    • Private Charter Schools don’t use taxpayer money and can use whatever (religious, etc) curriculum they want – but Charter Schools that are approved by the public institutions such as Orange County Board of Education do. There are good approved public charter schools in Orange County such as Orange County School of the Arts which focuses on arts education but is also aligned with California State standards for curriculum and has fully accredited teachers. There is no tuition and anyone can apply. The problem with the way OC Board of Ed approved Classical Academy Charter is that it failed to look at – or add – requirements for curriculum or anything else (or I would say even look into the background of the petitioners). Salon.com has some great articles with insight into the 1776 curriculum. – not something I want for my grandkids.

  7. Very enlightening article both on this specific collection of candidates but a sound warning to pay attention to what any candidates are all about before you exercise your right to vote.

  8. So Van Hook admits that he supports the far right OC Classical Academy. I am an educator and his claim that Hillsdale College creates curricula from “top scholars in the field of political thought is absolutely not true” as Saskia’s article points out. We don’t want the chaos and dysfunction of Barke backed candidates, or white-separatist extremist schools that use our public funds, in Fullerton. Just look at what is occurring in Placentia Yorba Linda. Also, why does Lisa constantly deflect and never give a straight answer. She didn’t event answer the question about whether she is an advocate of charter schools or whether she supports OC Classical Academy. She didn’t even bother to answer the Voice of OC candidate questionnaire. Why?

  9. I appreciate this article because it hits to some of my concerns when the Lisa Wozab flyer hit my door touting her OCBE endorsements because of the OCBE tract record.
    We do not need their influence here! More concerning to me is Wozab not honest about her prior choice for private schools for her own children.
    Only one of three children attended Fullerton schools and her youngest is back in private school.
    She waves the public school flag proudly for her campaign but privately has taken her kids out of public school. The OCBE would also take dollars away from Fullerton’s excellent schools.
    I am not anti private school or anti parent prerogative (choice), but it’s wrong to mislead voters about one’s prior choices and commitment to Fullerton schools. I welcome any clarification from Lisa Wozab regarding why she would want OCBE endorsements and why she mostly chose private schools but now wants to represent our schools.

  10. I see you have removed comments that were thoughtful, well written, and meaningful. Looks like not only are bias but you support and engage in censorship! My husband says you might consider re-naming yourself the Fullerton Opinion (as in a singular one-sided opinion) since that is all that is represented here! P.s. people know how to screenshot their comments so while you hope to erase differing opinions… please know they still exist!

    • Comments are unapproved if they have slander, curse words, or other offensive behavior.

    • I can see your comments. What was removed? I know the Observer requires real names and not anonymous and does remove that kind of comment.

  11. What a waste of time. Mine as a reader and that of the author. Nothing but hyperbole, projection, and dog whistling to the “progressive” left. It won’t change a thing other than the blood pressure of the target audience.

    I’d guess that by now, pretty much everyone has picked their camp. The type of people who would be won over by this kind of claptrap would have reflexively glommed onto the leftist candidate long ago. Anyone that has not decided already but possesses the intellect needed to make a well-reasoned decision will instantly recognize this article for what it is: a poorly written smear. I could easily write a similar screed about Hanchett’s ties to the UN and Communist China, but I have better things to do.

  12. Great birdcage liner Saskia. Want to talk about guilt by association, talk about Ruthi campaigning hand-in-hand with Ahmad Zahra. A criminal, who was arrested and charged with hitting a woman. Talk about all of the bad votes he has taken for Fullerton and attach those to Ruthi. Why not attach every bad vote that Lou Correa has made in his career. Or maybe even attach every bad vote that Sharon Quirk has made and attach them to her. After all, following your own logic “this will show us more about the candidate – why is she hiding it?” And while you’re at it, why don’t you talk about this fake sense of “non-partisanship” displayed by self-righteous blow hards like you and Sharon, and others like Jody Balma who pretend to be impartial only to go on and slam candidates outside of “official” forums. This hit piece was written so poorly, it should plainly advertise “OPINION” above it. And lastly, you’ve gotta love the Hanchett surrogates and former teachers hopping in to validate this post and the non-sense comments.

    • Hi Wallace, Candidate Matt Van Hook admitted he agrees with Classical Academy Charter school’s 1776 curriculum, while Lisa Wozab said she has no involvement. But, both candidates (according to their own websites) are endorsed by the founders of OC Classical Academy. If Wozab disagrees with the 1776 curriculum she could take the endorsements of Mari Barke and Lisa Sparks down from her website.
      Regular Observer readers know that Zahra was “citizen-arrested” by the friend of his ex-spouse when the two confronted Zahra at his own front door, and that the “case” was dropped due to lack of evidence according to the OCDA and sealed by the court. He is not a criminal and did not hit a woman – he did admit to hitting the cell phone out of her hand with which she was filming a verbal argument between the divorced couple.
      Anyone can check on the votes of local politicians by visiting votesmart where you can put in politician’s name and get all their votes made for and against. I see no “bad” votes by Sharon Quirk-Silva.
      Well-respected Political Science Professor Jodi Balma is one of the most knowledgeable people in Fullerton on everything political.
      The Observer just provided needed background information that informed voters should know. The information provided was fact-checked.
      Voters are free to make up their own minds on what is important to them.

  13. This is a well researched and succinct article and I too appreciate the author making these very troubling connections. Wozab and Van Hook’s endorsements are extremely problematic. Not only are they endorsed by the OCBE and the Barkes, they are also endorsed by The Parents’ Voice USA, a far right extremist Group. Wozab is also endorsed by, and is an advisor to, Fullerton.RiseUp, which she never mentions. She helped to orchestrate the school sit outs during Covid, in collaboration with Fullerton.RiseUp, which cost our district a lot of money. That doesn’t sound like someone who values public education to me.

  14. This article is so full of half-truths, conjecture, and inaccuracies it would be laughable were it not so pathetically sad.

  15. Grateful to the author for taking the time to put together such a well researched piece on a small, local race. It can be hard to get info on the smaller races, so this is much appreciated!

  16. There are so many things for us to focus on when it comes to an election, an article written with a bias is not one of them. Lisa stands for our schools, parents and most importantly our children. She has served in our community of Fullerton and on many boards here for years! If she sent her kids to private schools, so be it! Maybe there’s personal reasons she did so. She’s a wife, mom, and a leader, one who is willing to fight for our kids and what’s important. She’s not focused on what social media has deemed as important or logical but what parents deem important and that’s who we need to elect!

  17. It’s sad that this is what you’re trying to pull out to make these candidates look less appealing. Wow most people in our district were trying to keep our kids home. These two candidates were working to try to bring our kids back to school because they knew how important it was for kids to be in a school setting and not remote. Both of these candidates care about a parent say in their child’s education and see our school district as a team effort between students, parents, and staff all wanting the best for the kiddos. Maybe you should hear them out before just assuming things

  18. Saiska- This is a well research and insightful article. This article encouraged me to research Liza a little bit more. As a parent of two children in Fullerton schools, I love and believe in the in the exceptional education my children receive. Liza Wozab’s children are not anywhere in her platform- I wondered why she doesn’t mention that they attend Fullerton public schools. Also, as I look at her service history, there are very few dates or periods of service, specifically the education based involvements; by not including dates, it seems like she is trying to deceive voters. Many of the listed service directors roles, her name is not listed on any of this sites. It makes me wonder- is she running because she has been encouraged to run by the Barkes? That she really is not invested in the success of our children and community. There are just so many suspect connections and inconsistencies. If we can’t trust her platform and service history, how can we trust her to make the best decisions for our students?

    • Sarah, the level of assumption here is stunning! According to you Lisa has likely done no service EVER in Fullerton, and probably doesn’t even have kids!!? Ha 🙂 And clearly she has not a single thought of her own and is only running because someone told her to! Do you know how ridiculous this sounds? Total Rubbish! Lisa Wozab is a devoted mom and wife with a long history of service in Fullerton and she cares enough to run for office in an effort to help keep our schools safe, education based, and open!

      • Hi Tanya, I didn’t feel I was assuming. Just asking. She didn’t list any of her service dates which implies that she still volunteers in these various capacities. Her service history should reflect like a resume- which usually includes dates of service. Why not just update the website? And I am sure she has a thought of her own…which is why she doesn’t put her children in public schools.Her thought is that she doesn’t believe in them. And that is why she endorsed by others who do not respect or value public education or they wouldn’t be trying to profit off public funds through charters. I didn’t say anything about her not having kids just that their presence within her campaign and Fullerton schools is notably absent. I am sure she has some how served the community of Fullerton but it seems that maybe being in TRUSTEE in Fullerton Elementary is not a good fit for her as she doesn’t trust her own kids in our schools.

  19. I look forward to The Observers follow up article regarding Lauren Klatzer and Ruthi Hanchett and their endorsers, including the Teachers Union. Also looking forward to your article on Sharon Quirk Silva with her consistent voting record against parents and medical freedom. Oh yeah, darn I forgot…. those won’t be written, as the Observer only attempts to hold accountable those whom they do not support. C’mon, you can do better!

    • Regular readers know that the follow the money feature in the paper each election season shows all the candidate required disclosures and gives a link to the source where you can find out more and check on last minute contributions. Also the paper gives all candidates a chance to answer questions. Check out the Early October issue. Sounds like you missed it.

  20. Tanya – you don’t have to read between lines – it is all out there – and is thoroughly fact checked – and the conclusion which clearly says there are many good charter schools. Why would we want to go with one that uses the 1776 curriculum? Or vote for anyone backed by the Barkes that schools founders? There is nothing untrue or hidden in the article. It is information that readers should know. School board positions are non-partisan. And by the way I am not a democrat but was very interested to see big republicans messing around behind scenes. I have kids and grandkids and care what they are taught in school and don’t agree with the 1776 agenda and really can’t believe you do.

    • Sharon, I did not assume you were a Democrat, I said the paper has a very biased left liberal agenda! And if we can not agree on that than we are not even even in the same ballpark!

      • Tanya – We are in the “people who live in Fullerton and care about things” ballpark. I disagree about your stated thoughts on the paper. I would agree that it is progressive with the purpose to keep residents informed about what’s going on and hopefully get together to improve our town and also to take joy in our wonderful diversity. The paper has volunteers of all backgrounds all doing their best towards that goal.

  21. Really getting tired of The Observer’s completely biased left liberal agenda!
    I challenge your writers to actually represent the entire story for a change. Honest journalism with fair and objective reporting is a lost art or at least certainly absent in our local paper!

    Not to mention that it’s completely viable and possible to support both public schools and charter schools… it’s called choice!
    Isn’t the left always screaming about choice or is it only the choices that they approve of?

    • Tanya – sounds like you didn’t read the article which clearly is talking about the Classical Academy charter and who runs them and their agenda – not all charter schools.

      • I did read it! But the underlying message is bashing these candidates… we can read between the lines Sharon!

    • What?! a left liberal agenda? Biased? I don’t see it. I see a lot of facts reported.
      Back in the day, an advisory committee appointed by the Fullerton Elementary School Board recommended that the public schools be organized on the basis of choice — for teachers and for parents to enroll their children in a school based on conservative, liberal or middle-of-the road values. The Board rejected this recommendation, even though it was shown that the schools could be integrated based on such a plan.

  22. Great article, Saskia. Many people don’t know the “roots” of why candidates apply to run for school board. We must look carefully at outside endorsers. Why would a candidate seek their endorsements if their values weren’t aligned? Luckily, we have two wonderful candidates here in Fullerton, both fully vetted and endorsed by the teachers’ associations. They are Ruthi Hanchett (FSD) and Lauren Klatzker (FJUHSD). That’s who I’m supporting.

    • Can you please explain to me how Ruthi Hanchett was fully vetted and endorsed by the teachers’ associations? I would love to know the process. From my understanding, Ruthie was early endorsed by less than 5 people, during the summer, with no input from site reps, before Ruthie could pull papers to run and before Janny Myer announced she was not running again.

      • I am the Fullerton Elementary Teachers Association President, Darlene Naslund. I would be happy to sit down with you Mr. Davey and go over our process for endorsing School Board Candidates. Please get in touch with me via the North Orange County United Teachers office in Brea. I can assure you that Ruthi Hanchett went through the entire process of interviewing, and was not early endorsed by only five people. A vote was taken by our Executive Board who represent our members (Nurses, Primary, Upper, Jr. High, Special Ed). The Representative Council had no objection to the endorsement. Also, the interviews were open to all candidates who contacted me. The opportunities were given to interview, and three candidates (including two incumbents) did reach out and were interviewed. I look forward to meeting with you!

      • Correction: I cited Operation Christmas Child in my post. However, the correct name of the organization that our PTA sponsored was Toys for Tots, I believe.

  23. Yes – why accept and display such endorsements or vote for a school operated by such a person to locate in Orange County? Google OC doctor brandishes gun in anti-mask video interview on Sept 16, 2020 to see OC Classical Charter school co-founder Dr. Jeff Barke in action. He said he’d rather see people carry concealed weapons than wear masks to protect themselves against covid. Also his claim to have privileges at Hoag Hospital were debunked by the hospital.

  24. Guilt by association? Let’s actually ask the candidates, instead of assuming on the basis endorsement.

    • Endorsement is more than mere association. Endorsement implies ideological alignment, and should be taken very seriously as a way of knowing what a candidate will do if elected.

    • You are so correct! I know for a fact Lisa does not support Charter Schools for Fullerton.
      Just because an organization endorses a candidate doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate supports all the views of the endorser.

      • @JannyMeyer When a candidate proudly shares endorsements from people and organizations, as a voter and regular citizen I interpret that as an indication of ideological alignment. Mari Barke is all about charter schools. If Lisa doesn’t support that, why would she accept and boast of her endorsement? Given Lisa’s own affinity for non-public schools (she mostly sent her kids to private schools as we know), do you really expect me to believe that she wouldn’t support these kinds of schools.

    • As long as the candidate answers honestly and is forthcoming about who they are, we could. But how do you really know? One candidate acted as though her children were products of the public school. But then I learned that her three children spent most of their time in private schools, with only one spending any time in a public school before returning back to private school. That’s her complete right. To choose private schools for her kids. But why was that hidden? I’ve read that her endorsers have “training” on how to get on public school school boards. Quite frankly, this all scares me.This isn’t about being a Republican or a Democrat. I’ve supported many wonderful board members from both parties. This is different. Read the LA Times article that came out recently about the consequences of the takeover of Placentia- Yorba Linda School District by three extremists. CSUF has pulled their student teachers. Their superintendent has resigned with no one on the horizons and lots teachers are leaving. Two of our Fulllerton candidates are endorsed by the same outsiders that endorsed PYLUSDs School District. Why would anyone want to take that chance??? Fulllerton schools, both the elementary district and the high school district, are fabulous. They offer many choices for students and parents. And they teach REAL history and are inclusive. We have excellent candidates that are fully vetted and endorsed by the teachers, Ruthi Hanchett and Lauren Klatzker. When in doubt, I trust the teachers.

      • You are spot on Marcy, keep your eyes open and go with your gut as you are and trust your teachers. They are not your enemies and the anti-Union talk is fear mongering. I live in the PYLUSD boundaries and what’s happening is horrible. But the horse is out of the gate, they have momentum with their agenda and it is now hard to turn the tide. You have a wonderful district, keep it that way – you don’t want it ruined.