By Frank Xu
Oceanside is one of the most significant cities in North County San Diego, with a predominantly working-class population, more than one-third of whom are of Hispanic origin. It also borders one of the largest U.S. Marine Corps bases, Camp Pendleton.
Many of its residents have spent their whole lives there and take pride in their city. But in recent years, the community has been unsettled by catastrophic academic declines in the local school district: Oceanside Unified.
In 2022, according to the California Smarter Balanced test results, only 28.73% of Oceanside Unified students could do math at the grade level, and only 41.2% had English proficiency. In addition, over 62% of the students in Oceanside, public schools come from low-income families, while over 60% are of Hispanic descent.
To make matters worse, the school district leadership, including all the school board trustees and top-level administrators, seems more interested in promoting a series of ideological initiatives rather than helping its students succeed in learning.
Since 2020, they have expended vast sums of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars on controversial, new-age teaching paradigms. The school district has a ballooning bureaucracy, including a Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which employs eight people and pays its director an annual salary of nearly a quarter million dollars.
Ethnic studies have been introduced to “inspire students to critically engage in self-determination and seek social justice for people of color.” The school district also spent $250,000 procuring new books reflective of social-emotional learning under the umbrella of “equity and cultural proficiency.”
Community members and parents have tried to engage the school district proactively to seek solutions to improve performance, to no avail. Frustrated, they have organized themselves to monitor instructional materials and policy-making in Oceanside schools. Over the last two months, this new and growing grassroots group has taken to the school board meetings to voice their concerns and confront their elected officials.
In January, a dozen of them attended a school board meeting to present alarming findings on over a dozen age-inappropriate library books. They also demanded that local education leaders put kids first, ahead of politics.
On Feb. 7, against threats of a protest from the local teachers’ union and the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, these courageous parents and citizens spoke up at the Oceanside school board meeting again, continuing to advocate for parental rights, education excellence, and their kids’ right to innocence.
At the same meeting, the president of the Oceanside teachers’ union lambasted this community-led effort as an illiberal book banning. A newly elected school board trustee, endorsed by the San Diego County Democratic Party and the teachers’ union, accused these local citizens of spreading hate.
Many far-left activists gathered to drown their voices out with shouting and booing. Undeterred by the ad hominem attacks and determined to advance their cause, the local group spoke up again.
This is a story of energized and informed individuals organizing themselves to demand virtuous and necessary changes in public education. Enough is enough! Taxpayers should not pay to raise ideologically minded bureaucrats at the expense of learning and safety.
Hard-working parents should not be obliged to send their children to public schools where they will be indoctrinated with hate, division and over-sexualization.
Parents across this region should emulate these Oceanside parents, stand up to the educational establishment, hold them accountable for poor performance, and rid our schools of political indoctrination introduced at the expense of academic proficiency.
Frank Xu, a San Diego County resident, is president of the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, a California nonprofit organization that advocates for and educates the public about equal rights and merit. Mr. Xu is also a co-founder and current board member of the San Diego Asian Americans For Equality Foundation, a nonprofit which advocates for full equality for San Diego Asian Americans.