California Department of Education Superintendent of Equity Daniel Lee was forced to resign after state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, sent a letter to the state asking it to explain how his hiring was legal since he doesn’t live in California.
Lee has resided, voted and owned a business in Pennsylvania while he’s received a salary of more than $160,000 from California since July 2020.
The California Government Operations Agency’s position is that “state employment is for California residents unless the job requires a different location.” Kiley asked the secretary of the GOA if Lee’s employment was allowed under state law and to report to the legislature. One day after receiving the letter, Lee resigned.
Kiley, who ran against Gov. Gavin Newsom in the recall election, has sued the governor over his COVID-related emergency order arguing it’s unconstitutional, and continues to expose policies he argues are a waste of taxpayer money or are unconstitutional.
Lee, a psychologist, life coach and self-help author, was appointed as California’s first superintendent of equity by his close friend, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Politico reported.
“The Education Department’s nonprofit affiliate initially hired Lee without publicly posting the job that now pays up to $179,832, and Lee’s 18-page resume shows no prior experience in California or relationships with school districts in the state,” Politico reports.
“There are a number of people in California very well qualified in our universities and educational institutions who could do this work,” Carl Pinkston, director of the Black Parallel School Board in Sacramento, told Politico. “Irrespective of who it is, to have someone from out of state who is not familiar with California’s dynamics and politics and challenges come in and attempt to do this work only furthers the fundamental problem, which is that the California Department of Education fails to adequately monitor schools for inequities and push for enforcement.”
Thurmond has defended Lee’s hiring, saying he wanted to hire him for a long time “but he lived out of state. The pandemic opened the door for me to hire someone who is top of his class.”
Both Thurmond and the California Department of Education were sued by the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County recently alleging the state has failed to hold schools accountable for disproportionately disciplining students of color.
By not addressing the issue, Thurmond and the CDE “have thereby failed to fulfill their obligation to ensure that school districts statewide do not discriminate against Black and Latinx students,” the lawsuit alleges.
Kiley, a former high school teacher, who has much to say about the state’s education system, has also taken issue with what he says are failed equity initiatives implemented by Newsom.
Last year, Newsom introduced a COVID “equity metric,” for example, which Kiley criticized for locking down counties “based on bizarre factors like voter turnout and tree canopy coverage.”
Also in the name of “equity,” Newsom signed a bill making the study of critical race theory a high school graduation requirement, Kiley adds. In a speech against CRT, he said the governor’s proposal “is a smokescreen for corrupt policies that have produced the greatest educational inequity in the country.”
“Now, in the name of equity, California’s largest school districts are getting rid of D and F grades; the California Board of Education is set to abolish advanced math in high school; and our state universities are eliminating the SAT or any admissions test,” he said.
According to a 2021 WalletHub ranking of public school systems, California ranks 41 out of 50; according to a U.S. News and World Report ranking, its Pre-K-12 schools ranks 40th.
According to the Nation’s Report Card, in 2019 average scores of California students in fourth, eighth and 12th grades were lower than the average scores of public school students in the same grades nationwide.
California K-12 public schools have consistently ranked among the bottom of all 50 states for several years despite California spending roughly $25,000 in taxpayer money per student every year, close to double the cost of most private schools’ tuition in the state.
This article was originally posted on California Department of Education Superintendent of Equity forced to resign