Purely Political, By James Buckley
The following is the third and final installment of a lengthy conversation with Santa Barbara Unified School District teacher Christy Lozano.
Q. Last week and the week before, you and I discussed how and why certain books and reading material that seem highly inappropriate for young children, especially those in pre-K to third grade (I would add any child still in elementary school up to sixth grade), have become part of the curriculum.
So how does material such as Black Lives Matter — conceived and promulgated by avowed Marxists — and critical race theory end up as part of an elementary education? We know who created this, yet it’s been entirely adopted by the administrative set. And the teachers go along with including this stuff in their teaching protocol because they teach to what they’re given. How do you combat that?
A. I do think there is a problem there, and I think that problem needs to be acknowledged, but in a healthy way. Maybe we do need to have a more diverse curriculum. So how about we just have honest education?
For example, when I went to Washington, D.C. on a trip, we visited Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s house in Virginia. There we learned that he was not only a slave owner, but that he also had slave babies with one of his slaves, a young lady named Sally Hemings. We can talk about that; it’s not a bright spot in his career. It’s wrong. Maybe there has been just a presentation of one side, so maybe making it a little bit more balanced …
(For the record, Encyclopedia Britannica describes critical race theory as “an intellectual movement and a framework of legal analysis according to which (1) race is a culturally invented category used to oppress people of color and (2) the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, political, and economic inequalities between white and nonwhite people.”
(And, this – rather than, say, equal justice under the law, for example – is what is being taught throughout educational institutions in the United States, including elementary, junior high, high school and colleges and universities at every level.)
Q. Well, it does seem to me that one could point out the negative aspects of many of the founders of our country and their attitude towards slavery, and use that as an example. Though, one should also point out that Sarah “Sally” Hemings was the biracial half-sister of Thomas Jefferson’s wife, Martha, who had died six years before Mr. Jefferson and Ms. Hemings traveled to France when Mr. Jefferson was minister to France, and she was his 14-year-old domestic servant (both Martha and Sally were fathered by a man named John Wayles). That a president of the United States openly co-habited with a slave woman and had children with her also says a lot about our founding.
A. OK, there should be acknowledgements of what he did that were good, and that there were some things that were not so good. Like all of us, Jefferson was very human.
Going back to the idea of (disparity in treatment and outcomes), I’ve seen programs within the school in which a certain demographic is left out. The way that they trap kids in school, they’ll put the browns here, and the white kids here. That has existed for as long as I’ve been in the Santa Barbara Unified. That needs to change.
Q. OK, you’re an administrator or a teacher, and you see the disparity, and you want to address and redress that disparity, do you have a suggestion as to how to do that?
A. Goals are motivating; goals that kids can accomplish help them, help motivate them. Working together with classmates can also motivate students. Most of all, though, I think you have to pay attention, but it’s hard to pay attention if you have 31 kids. So sometimes class size has something to do with the teacher’s ability to meet the needs of the kids. You better have a really good teacher if you’re going to give them that many kids.
Q. What would you or what do you do that’s different or gets better results?
A. I actually would follow the rules, and I implement the rules. They’re letting kids be on their phone, and they’re letting them not exercise. I don’t and wouldn’t allow that.
Q. What’s the worst thing about what goes on at Santa Barbara Unified?
The worst is how the school board treats human beings.
I call it bad policy, and I think that bad policy is set forth by the school board. It’s why I went to the president of the school board and had coffee with her. I told her what a bad experience I have had with the human resources department and how they treat people. I also told her about the things they have done to me; how they’ve retaliated against me for speaking up and have refused to talk to somebody who is trying to be constructive, and be productive, and trying to fix things. I want to fix problems.
Q. I take it that your meeting proved to be unproductive?
A. You’re right about that.
Christy Lozano has officially declared her candidacy for the position of Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools and has qualified to be on the ballot in the upcoming primary election scheduled for June 7. If a single candidate receives 50%-plus-one of the vote, that candidate will automatically be declared winner of the election. If no candidate receives 50%-plus-one, there will be a runoff between the two highest vote-getters during the regular statewide election on Nov. 8.
Ms. Lozano received a bachelor’s in kinesiology from Cal Poly Technic University in San Luis Obispo; a single subject teaching credential in physical education and in health from Chapman University, and a master’s with an emphasis in educational leadership from California Lutheran University. She also has a preliminary administrative service credential, all of which make her eminently qualified to take over the position of Superintendent of Schools.
And what a wonderful change that would be!
James Buckley is a longtime Montecito resident. He welcomes questions or comments at email@example.com.