by Ken Williams and Lisa Sparks

Senator Min self-importantly advances an “election reform” bill (SB 286) under a ruse of greater election participation by Orange County voters. What Min declares, however, is actually Orwellian double-speak coming from Sacramento, especially when he says this bill “would bring Orange County in line with the rest of state.”  Let’s consider the unwritten and underlying motives of SB 286 that Min is advancing.

Min works in collaboration with and under the demands of Sacramento lobbyists and union bosses of the California Teachers Association (CTA).  He is a partisan legislator who misleads constituents who have elected in the primary election cycle for the past fifty years, the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) leadership, i.e., County Board members and the Superintendent of Education.

If approved by the legislature and signed by the governor, SB 286 would change the election cycles of the Orange County Board of Education members to the November general election, leaving the Orange County Superintendent of Education election in the June primary election. This fundamental change in voting for OCDE leadership positions produces the exact problem Min says he wants to correct, i.e., more confusion and greater voter disenfranchisement.

The bill is so obviously partisan that Senator Tom Umberg removed his name as a co-author because of the terrible political optics. Min is misleading you-the very constituents who have been electing county board members and the county Superintendent of Education in the primary election cycle for the last half of a century.  Because the CTA has been unsuccessful in persuading Orange County voters to vote for their candidates, they now seek to change the election rules to try to help their chosen sycophants.

SB 286 has nothing to do with reforming any election codes.  Rather, it is a ruse to change the political make-up and governance philosophy of the current reform minded county board of education, that has :1) approved more public charter schools in the last four years than any other county, 2)expanded parental choice and rights, 3)exposed state curriculum that undermines the innocence of our children, and  4) has shed important light on the recent state ethnic study curriculum that advances critical race theory and Marxist ideology in our K-12 classrooms.  Min undermines the people of Orange County because he and the CTA simply want to control the Orange County Board of Education governance positions and decision making.

Working hand-in-hand with CTA and union bosses, Min wants to introduce into the five-inch thick state Education Codes, unique and specific language that impacts only one of the 58 counties in California, i.e., the Orange County Board of Education. California’s President of the County Boards Association, Joe Ross, rebuked this partisan bill by stating,  “calling out a single county in the Education Code is crazy. It is dirty gamesmanship dressed up as virtue.” Min’s actions are indeed “crazy” and reflect unashamed partisan collaboration with CTA union bosses to weaken the pro-parent and education reform-minded Orange County Board of Education. Why should state legislators in Sacramento decide when Orange County elects their board of education? The people and leaders of Orange County should be deciding when to hold the election for the Orange County Board of Education. State legislators from northern California should not mandate nonsensical  election changes. The message we need to send to Senator Min and the California legislature is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

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Ken Williams and Lisa Sparks are elected members of the Orange County Board of Education

[This article originally appeared in the OC Register on January 18, 2022]