ReOpen California Schools has been fighting since June of 2020 for the return of California’s students to in-person learning, and to ensure that children receive a safe and quality education with parents involved in the process. This has not been without opposition, as RedState has documented here, here, and here.
The educational oligarchy known as the California Teachers Association (CTA) claims to be “dedicated in the fight for equal access, justice, and resources for all of California’s students, teachers, and classrooms.”
Parents are not included in this camp meeting, and this has been evident in the targeting of parents and parents’ groups from CTA and its counterpart in the state’s largest district, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA).
ReOpen California Schools submitted a public records request that has struck gold. Records of emails between a CTA researcher and union-related activists show that while ReOpen California Schools and other organizations like Let Them Breathe were in the midst of their fight to reopen the schools to in-person learning without the restrictions of masks or the threat of vaccine mandates, CTA tasked a researcher to spy on one particular parent group in San Diego.
In case you don’t remember, California was dead last in the nation to reopen schools following the pandemic. Much of the reason for this? The teachers’ unions and their demands of perpetual masking of children, rapid testing of asymptomatic children and faculty, teacher hazard pay, and, oh yeah… provisions for activism and climate advocacy.
You cannot make this stuff up.
So, it is not surprising that CTA was working to undermine and target parents who simply wanted their children to get the education they deserved and that they so desperately needed, and to save their children from depression, despair, and suicide. All they received from CTA and UTLA was the back of the hand. So, the Mama and Papa Bears on the ground were not surprised that opposition had been mounted. Thanks to this public records request being fulfilled, ReOpen California now has the receipts.
🚨 BOMBSHELL 🚨
Newly PRA’d emails show @WeAreCTA conducted opposition research on school reopening parent groups during the school shutdowns in CA.
Then after a principal was accidentally CC’d, the “damage control” was asking him to illegally delete the email.
— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) September 5, 2022
Strategic Research Specialist Ann Swinburn is the person who initiated the emails intended to dig up information on parents who were party to lawsuits against California Governor Gavin Newsom and the CTA. In December of 2020, the local union for the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD), with help from CTA, sued the SDUHSD, preventing them from reopening so that teachers would not have to return to in-person instruction. Through The Parent Association of North County, parents countersued Newsom and state health officials to overturn what the district was terming the school reopening rules.
As outlined in ReOpen California School’s Twitter thread above, this is where the email chain begins:
Michelle and Adam,
I am a researcher with CTA and currently doing some research into the various “reopen” groups around the state. York Chang gave me your contact information and said you all have lots of information regarding the Parent Association. I am wondering if we could set up a time to chat in the next few days? I’m available tomorrow (Thursday) before 11:30 or any time after 3:15, or Friday after 3:30 pm. Let me know if any of those times work and we can set up a call, and if not we can look at some time early next week.
Thanks in advance for your help!
“York Chang” is a staff attorney for CTA who signed the cease and desist letter in December of 2020 demanding the SDUHSD cease their reopening plans to return to in-person instruction.
The legal department of California’s largest teachers’ union has requested San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) immediately halt its current reopening plans, which it claims are the “wrong step at the wrong time” and a violation of state law.
York Chang, staff attorney for the California Teachers’ Association (CTA), sent a cease-and-desist letter on Dec. 9 to Superintendent Robert Haley on behalf of the San Dieguito Faculty Association, alleging the San Diego County Office of Education had provided the school district “inaccurate” advice with regards to expanding in-person hybrid instruction.
So Chang was not only involved with the lawsuit, but knew about activists who could do CTA’s dirty work for them.
“Michelle” replied to Ann thusly:
Thank you for reaching out. We have been collecting information and we would be very happy to share/collaborate. May we please include another parent or two who have been monitoring and helping collect this information? Perhaps we can try to coordinate a Zoom or other online meeting to share?
The next day, on April 15, 2021, Michelle forwarded Ann Swinburn’s email with this reply to “parent or two” Heather Dugdale, Holly Butte, and Adam Fischer, as outlined in the thread.
Hi Heather, Holly & Adam,
Please see the below emails from Ann Swinburn of CTA. She is researching Parent Association and would like to partner with us to share information. York mentioned that they are looking at uncovering some of the ideological leaning of groups that are funding the reopen lawsuits. Would you be available to join a Zoom? I will reply to Ann with a group email suggesting times this week and next week so that we can coordinate.
It appears the collaboration was prepared to go full steam ahead until Michelle realized that someone named “Adam Camacho,” a district school principal, had been cc’d on the email instead of the Adam Fischer mentioned above.
April 15, 2021
I think you accidentally included Adam Camacho on your reply. Not sure if we need to do any damage control?
What’s the expression? If you have to ask how much it costs, you probably can’t afford it?
I don’t think there will be an issue. Unless someone does a record request for his work email.
ReOpen California Schools will no doubt be digging through more emails, and probably mining more gems like this. In the meantime, there’s more popcorn to be popped.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Ann Swinburn is still with CTA. When I attempted to contact CTA’s Milbrae, California offices to see if I could get a quote from Swinburn, she was not listed under that name in the directory tree. I dialed zero to speak with a receptionist, but when I asked to speak with Ann Swinburn, the receptionist said that she did not work onsite in the CTA offices. The receptionist transferred me to the communications department, who “communicated” that I should reach out to the media department via their email. Before making the phone call, I had already sent an email inquiry to the media department, so I thanked her and hung up.
I did not receive a response to my inquiry from CTA’s media department as of the time of this publication. If one is received, we will update here.
In the ReOpen California Schools’ Twitter thread, they made efforts to dive into Ann Swinburn’s Twitter profile. Word travels fast when you’re being nefarious. The organization found that Swinburn had protected her tweets so that no one but those connected to her could view them.
A few hours after that, ReOpen California Schools discovered that Swinburn had deleted her entire Twitter account.
Yes, nothing to see here.
ReOpen California Schools did find an archive of Swinburn’s tweets from 2021, which gave insight into her viewpoints. Swinburn is an unapologetic, Leftist activist who is convinced that dark money is behind the parent uprising and overturning of school boards. Other tweets retweeted from Swinburn’s account allege the same.
In one tweet, Swinburn claims that a school district’s language asking that students, “be prepared to learn” and be open to “a culture of enrichment” is inherently racist.
Swinburn has learned well from UTLA president Cecily Myart-Cruz, who claimed in 2021 that the parents’ movement to reopen schools was being fueled by wealthy, white parents who were “propagating structural racism.”
Myart-Cruz remains unapologetic and continues to spout her garbage. She will topple with her boots on.
Swinburn, on the other hand, got exposed and appears to be in hiding.
Back in 2021, UTLA also tried to target mothers who were publicly demanding that their children return to school. UTLA used a survey to attempt to racially profile and cull information to use against them.
BREAKING: @UTLAnow conducting opposition research on parents who speak to media in favor of school reopenings, profiling their race and class.
What’s the purpose of this research, how will it be used, and who is funding? How else are you tracking parents? Very scary.
See email: pic.twitter.com/498HVfvAIz
— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) March 3, 2021
ICYMI: A Middle Eastern mom of a LAUSD student is accusing UTLA of conducting racial oppo research on her because she spoke to the L.A. Times about wanting schools to reopen. UTLA tracked her quotes, then contacted her about her race & class status @FOXLA https://t.co/TIoxAsnI8O
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) March 4, 2021
This was in spite of the outcry coming from communities of color. Right after Myart-Cruz issued her ridiculous statement, Black and Hispanic parents rallied at Ted Watkins Memorial Park in the Watts area of South Los Angeles demanding that the L.A. Unified School District reopen its doors.
Over a year later, the data has proven the parents were right to be concerned, alarmed, and to advocate for their children. After almost two years of school closures, it is the children from poor and minority communities that have suffered the most.
Like CTA, UTLA is not interested in educating children and does its utmost to focus on its teacher and activist causes over actual student instruction.
The organization has become its own self-parody. Case in point, this call for teachers to participate in “Red Shirt” Tuesdays.
REMINDER: Every Tuesday is Red Shirt Tuesday for UTLA. Educators across the district will be gearing up in red attire and standing united for their students, schools and profession. #UTLAStrong pic.twitter.com/5QkjjZOlab
— United Teachers Los Angeles (@UTLAnow) September 6, 2022
If you’re a Star Trek enthusiast, you know who are the first ones to bite the dust.
UTLA is also deeply concerned about aging asphalt and the lack of “green spaces,” for inner-city school children. But not so much about those children being able to breathe… while outside.
Kids should not have to worry about burning their hands on 145 degree asphalt. Change must happen now! @UTLAnow https://t.co/cKLajKlHzn
— Beth Devakul Clark (@DiscoBethC) September 2, 2022
And did we mention that learning loss? Well, they denied it in 2021, and continue to avoid any complicity today.
“Learning loss, in general, is a misnomer.” https://t.co/BQxgXEy6i4
— California Teachers Association (@WeAreCTA) April 26, 2021
No acknowledgement of responsibility by @CAgovernor and @WeAreCTA regarding reopening in 50th place. Nothing said of the stolen year(s) and milestones of children. Nothing done about learning loss, social emotional & mental health trauma. They just move on hoping we forget. Nope.
— Sheila Walker (@SheilaWCali) June 6, 2022
Both these organizations continue to beg for more money, and more teachers, but continue to fail parents and students. All CTA’s and UTLA’s obstruction and opposition served to do was fire up more parents to keep activating and turning the tide in their districts at the local level.
Jonathan Zachreson, who started ReOpen California Schools, is running for the Roseville City School Board in Northern California. Our Deputy Managing Editor Kira Davis is running for the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees. Lance Christensen wants to empower parents, increase educational opportunities, and fund the student and not the system. Christensen is challenging union-anointed Tony Thurmond for his seat as the California Superintendent of Public Instruction. These are just a few of the candidates who have risen up from the parents’ movement, looking to change and improve the future for children and education in California.
As Nietzsche said,
“Out of life’s school of war—what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”
This campaign to destroy California’s children has resulted in a stronger and unified front that may yet destroy the education oligarchs.