Friday, February 10, 2006

Commies Under The Desk

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:
The undersigned states 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.


Disgruntled said...

Mr. Libertarian teacher should explain how he reconciles teaching at a public school with being a Libertarian. The party does not support public schooling.

I'm not saying he doesn't have a reason; however, the greater offense is public schooling, not that Commies aren't allowed to teach there – they obviously do anyway.

Polski3 said...

I would have enjoyed listening in on THAT discussion. We have a teacher on campus (who is NOT a social studies teacher) who was allegedly told by our superintendant to remove from his classroom, his posters of Chairman Mao and Lenin. This guy is also considered to be one of the BIGGEST jerks on our campus and is universally dispised and loathed by the female population on our campus.

I once saw a great T-shirt; it was Che sans beret, but wearing mickey mouse ears. When I asked where the wearer got the shirt, alas, it was some college art class project and not commercially available.

Have a Good Weekend!

Lokon said...

Wow, that is amazing. I would also be interested to see how those statutes were litigated, I very much doubt would uphold them (especially when no one really fears a world wide communist take over.)

Nick Lopez said...

Finally, Mr. C admits it. Socialist..ha!

Darren said...

Not so fast, Disgruntled. I'm a Republican but I sure don't agree with every stand *that* party takes.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Libertarian responds . . .

I'm a Libertarian, but not a fanatic. Public education is beneficial to society, in that we all have an interest in children having a career choice better than petty thief or panhandler.

That said, I'm totally opposed to a government monopoly. I'm in favor of a voucher system PROVIDED that the voucher is large enough to allow a parent to fully fund a private school. The problem with most voucher proposals is that they offer enough money to allow those already enrollling their kids in private school a tax break, while not giving low income students enough to rescue them from sub-par public schools. Give them the same amunt the state funds per person in public school, and I will jump on your bandwagon. Oh-- and one other thing -- schools accepting vouchers would have to follow the same rules as public. No selective entrance criteria.

I'm confident enough in my teaching abilities to believe that I could make more money under such a system. The only reasons I teach at a public school rather than a private school are a) currently, public school teachers make more money, and b) I teach at a school whose students are every bit as good as your best private school.

Thank you for acknowledging the apparent hypocrisy.


Darren said...

Considering that defense of your views, Mr. Libertarian, I'm glad I, uh--stepped in front of the bus for you?--with my last comment :-)

And for everyone else, I, too, am confident in Mr. Libertarian's teaching abilities.

Cameron said...

I think I've mentioned this before, but...

Some laws are just idiotic. I, being a teenager, already show disregard for a lot of them, but the aforementioned laws are just stupid.
As citizens, I don't believe our main interests should be upholding the law. That's what the courts do. Rather, I think that, perhaps laws should be changed or modified?
For example, I live in Arden Park. Until about two weeks ago, part of the contract you've got to sign to live here (or living code, or whatever it was) stated that African Americans were not allowed. This law is not obviously outdated. The same could be said about the Communist law, perhaps.

Wulf said...

Polski, I have seen the Mickey Che for sale on

this site
. There are pages and pages of different things, and Mickey Che appears on several. Try page 4. It is also on there as inexpensive magnets and buttons.

has a bunch of other Che stuff. I've been leaning toward the "My ultimate goal" logo.

Matt Johnston said...


if you are interested in how various pieces of the code became law, look up the Annotated California Code. ( I can't find a quick link, but there is one around).

For each section you cite, there is usually a brief summary of when that section of the code was added/amended in recent years. There is often a list of cases that deal with or cite that section. At least then you can start to get some idea of when items were added (and some of these are probably pretty old given current circumstances) as well as any litigation taht has transpired. In particular, there will be cases listed describing what the provisions means legally.