The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Lindsey Amezcua who is a Community Member, AUSD Parent, Recall Proponent, and advocate for ALL children.
For the past 18-months, as America dealt with the impact of COVID-19 which impacted every decision we made from home life to work to traveling and education to shutdowns, often what went unchecked by the news media was what was going on with decisions and actions from our local elected officials.
As COVID19 gripped America, this deadly and divisive pandemic provided a cover for an arguably more insidious and detrimental “virus” raging unchecked; political activists with inflated egos and grandiose ideas of their own importance and impact. The City of Antioch has not escaped unscathed in this political arena.
Antioch Unified School Board (AUSD) President Ellie Householder stated her “Progressive ideas frighten people” and that is why citizens began the arduous effort to recall her. On the surface this is a powerful and persuasive argument, implying that she is working hard for the students of AUSD and recall proponents are unwilling to accept her ideas.
Is this really the case?
Ms. Householder was voted in as President by her fellow trustees in December of 2020. Since taking on this role she has presided over 24 meetings of the Board of Education, including 7 special meetings.
In these meetings there have been 57 agenda items under the category Items for Information/Discussion/Action by Board. Of these 57 items, 26 of them were brought forward by Ms. Householder.
- District-wide Use of Force Policies and Procedures (Householder) 09/02/2021 & 10/27/2021
- Policy Regarding Law Enforcement Interaction with Students (Householder) 10/27/2021
- Bullying Prevention Policy (Householder) 10/27/2021
- Agenda Setting/Organization (Householder) 01/27/2021 & 10/27/2021
- Public Communication Policy (Householder) 9/8/2021
- Early Education Options (Householder) 9/8/2021
- Review of Inter- and Intra-District Transfer Board Policies (Householder) 9/8/2021
- Board of Education Notification Policies and Procedures (Householder) 9/8/2021
- Data Supports (Householder) 02/24/2021 & 8/25/2021
- Bay Area Community Resources (BACR) Presentation (Householder) 8/11/2021
- Graduation Attire (Householder) 6/23/2021
- “Out and About” Report (Householder) 6/9/2021
- Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge (Householder) 04/28/2021 & 5/12/2021
- Special Board Recognition’s (Householder) 5/12/2021
- Bicycle Garden Presentation to the Board (Householder) 5/12/2021
- District-wide Mission Statement(s) (Householder) 4/28/2021
- District Logo (Householder) 4/28/2021
- Manhood Development Program Updates (Householder) 3/10/2021
- Change Order Reports Provided by Staff to the Board (Householder) 3/10/2021
- School Reopening (Householder) 3/10/2021
- School Safety (Householder) 2/24/2021
- Highlighting Resolutions for the Month (Householder) 2/24/2021
- Single Board Email Address (Householder) 12/16/2020 & 1/13/2021
- Goldman School of Public Policy Graduate Student Research Proposal (Householder) 12/16/2020 & 1/13/2021
- Board Meeting Protocols (Householder) 1/13/2021
Of the items presented, which progressive ideas frighten us as Ms. Householder claims? Furthermore, of these items, which actually have a direct impact on improving student achievement? I can see none. She focuses on test scores using old data as she belittles the District. I can see no agenda item she brought forward that would improve test scores.
Meanwhile, other trustees have highlighted the digital divide, pushed for cultural inclusion, requested ROTC and JROTC programs, and sought out grant writing options. There are countless other examples.
What does Householder propose? She has three times pushed for a single board email address, twice discussed the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge, discussed the city’s bicycle garden initiative, focused on old data, and a variety of other items that have no impact on our students.
We aren’t frightened by her progressive ideas; we are terrified by her lack of discernible action. She has provided a lot of words and media interviews, but has provided the District little to no substance with actual action.
It is interesting that for a sound bite on a KPIX interview, she calls herself the “most hated person in America” but fails to see we do not hate her, we dislike her leadership style which by her own admittance is “heavy handed”. Most importantly, her heavy handed leadership has failed to focus on the students while instead attacking school leadership, employees and even parents
Many of us who support the recall effort initially supported her for election because of how she was going to change the District. Seeing her in action, now we just want a trustee with a focus on the students and our children—not a personal vendetta.
During these same 24 meetings, the discussion to evaluate/fire the superintendent took place on 6 separate occasions, including twice under the guise of an emergency Special Board Meeting. Evaluating the superintendent was seemingly important to Ms. Householder, but she failed to complete one of the primary duties of the president; the coordination and completion of the formal evaluation of the superintendent, due annually on June 30th.
Instead, her laser focus to discredit and fire the Superintendent has wasted the time of the other trustees and staff, taken resources away from the students, and illustrated that the priority of her tenure as a board member and president is not focused on our students.
In the recent KPIX 5 interview she claims her reckless and biased behavior isn’t “dividing anybody” and the “folks behind this recall effort represent old Antioch.” This very statement is divisive and creates an US v THEM narrative that is completely false.
There is no old or new, there is just Antioch. She also fails to remember that AUSD also encompasses parts of the city of Oakley and City of Pittsburg.
The recall proponents represent all areas of AUSD and the diversity of our District. We are grandparents, parents, recent graduates, teachers, staff, coaches, and administrators. Our age range spans many decades from teenagers to those in their 90’s. We are members of all three AUSD unions, across all schools and cities within ASUD boundaries. We represent AUSD.
In the interview, Ms. Householder got one thing correct. She stated “I believe that I’m actually bringing people together” and this is true.
She brought us all together, many of us strangers just one month ago, to form a united effort to demand better leadership for our students. We are not frightened, divided, or “old Antioch.”
#WeAreAUSD and we hope to see you at a signing location this weekend or in the near future.
Community Member, AUSD Parent, Recall Proponent, and advocate for ALL children.