Usually I wear Dockers-type pants and a collared shirt to school, but on Fridays I go a little more casual. Usually that means changing from slacks to jeans, but today it included wearing a printed t-shirt saying "Commies Aren't Cool", and underneath the writing is a small picture of Che Guevara in a red "no" circle/slash.
Students I don't even know come up to me and tell me they love the shirt, which should tell you a little something about the message they're used to getting from teachers. We even have a teacher who wears a full-on Che Guevara shirt, speaks openly and positively about the workers' paradise that is Cuba, etc. It is with him I got into a conversation this morning.
Oh, he's a nice guy, and we both enjoy our debates, but he's a commie. He says he's a "socialist", but he's a commie. Today I actually got him to admit it, and then I told him that he can't be employed here.
You see, California doesn't allow Communists to be teachers.
A Libertarian teacher standing nearby said that if the law doesn't allow teachers to be members of the Communist Party, he would change his party affiliation today so that he could challenge this "obviously" unconstitutional law.
Later, I found the section of education code. What it actually says is that teachers cannot knowingly be members of the Communist Party, so I guess the first teacher can remain employed. The second has backed off on changing his party affiliation but remains disgusted that such a law is on the books.
I found a few sections of California Education Code that address this topic:
Section 44932. (a) No permanent employee shall be dismissed except for one or more of the following causes:
(10) Knowing membership by the employee in the Communist Party.
Section 44939. Upon the filing of written charges, duly signed and verified by the person filing them with the governing board of a school district, or upon a written statement of charges formulated by the governing board, charging a permanent employee of the district with ...knowing membership in the Communist Party...the governing board may, if it deems such action necessary, immediately suspend the employee from his duties....
Section 38136. No governing board of a school district shall grant the use of any school property to any person or organization for any use in violation of Section 38135. For the purpose of determining whether or not any individual, society, group, or organization applying for the use of the school property intends to violate Section 38135, the governing board shall require the making and delivery to the governing board, by the applicant of a written statement of information in the following form:
-----STATEMENT OF INFORMATION-----
The undersigned states that...is not a Communist action organization or Communist front organization....
Section 51530. No teacher giving instruction in any school, or on any property belonging to any agencies included in the public school system, shall advocate or teach communism with the intent to indoctrinate or to inculcate in the mind of any pupil a preference for communism.
Additionally, I've emailed the California Department of Education Legal Office and asked if the loyalty oath, and the ed code sections above, have ever been litigated. I got a very weak answer that ended with "That is about as much legal research as we can do for you on this subject. If you are a teacher, I suggest you ask your union for information on this topic, since they have probably tracked the issue more closely over the years." Huh? Wha? You're a freakin' Assistant General Counsel for a major department in state government and you say a public employee union has "probably" paid more attention to the constitutionality of laws than your department has? What are you, a communist or something??? =)
I'd love to find out when each of the quoted sections of ed code were added to state law. I'd also like to know if they've been litigated and what the opinions of the courts were.
If they're clearly unconstitutional, they need to be removed from ed code. If they're not, I'm a happy camper.