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Our featured article today is from K-12 Dive that describes the lawsuit compelling the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to disband the recently formed National Parents and Families Engagement Council (NPFEC).

Our Sunday Reads synopsis and assessment parallels the now disbanded “uniformly partisan” NPFEC by the DOE with the  San Diego Unified School Districts’  (SDUSD) current “uniformly partisan” Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC).

We have featured the full article today in Sunday Reads with our synopsis and analysis however we strongly urge our readers to click on the title and other links (in red) to read the full article for themselves.

Ed Department disbands National Parents and Families Engagement Council

The council’s dissolution comes just months after a lawsuit filed by conservative groups alleged the effort lacked “balanced” perspectives.

By   – Published Dec. 6, 2022

The U.S. Department of Education on Monday announced it had “immediately and permanently” disbanded its newly formed National Parents and Families Engagement Council —  just months after a group of conservative activists filed a lawsuit against the department claiming the council lacked “balanced” perspectives. The lawsuit, filed in July, has now been dropped.

The Education Department formed the council in June, aiming “to facilitate strong and effective relationships between schools and parents, families and caregivers,” according to an announcement issued by the agency then.

More pressure mounted against the Education Department over its council last week after five Republican U.S. senators sent a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona agreeing with points made in the lawsuit.  

“If this Council continues to exist, I seek to ensure you will establish objectivity and nominate members who serve its stated purpose of ‘identify[ing] constructive ways to help families engage at the local level,’” the letter said. “The uniformly partisan members of the Council demonstrate this administration’s commitment to putting the interest of unions, teachers, non-education associations, and the radical left above students and parents.” 

Family engagement has been viewed by some education leaders as a tool to heal community divisions that have arisen since the COVID-19 pandemic sparked contentious debates around health and safety measures. On top of that, ongoing debates around critical race theory and LGBTQ students’ rights have deepened this divide in many communities. 

Three conservative organizations — America First Legal Foundation, Fight for Schools and Families, and Parents Defending Education — targeted the Education Department in the lawsuit, alleging the agency violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act when it created the council. That law requires an advisory committee’s membership to be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed by the advisory committee.”

Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Schools and Families and a senior advisor at America First Legal Foundation, was a senior official in former President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice. 

The lawsuit claims nearly 80% of the leaders of the organizations appointed to the National Parents and Families Engagement Council donated to President Joe Biden or other Democrats. 

The organizations represented on the council include The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Fathers Incorporated, Generations United, Girls Inc., League of United Latin American Citizens, Mocha Moms, National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement, National Action Network, National Military Family Association, National Parent Teacher Association, National Parents Union, The National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Empowerment, United Parent Leaders Action Network, and UnidosUS.


After reading this article from K-12, we recognized paralllels between the DOE NPFCE  and the SDUSD ICOC.

Parallel 1: Overwhelming Democrat Membership

Parallel 2: Labor Cronyism


District Deeds IS NOT accusing any of the ICOC individuals mentioned of ANY wrongdoing.  We are sure that they are well meaning volunteers that are just attempting to carry out their tasks to the best of their ability.  This is an analyisis of SDUSD Board of Education activities that deny Parents and Students a voice in critical decision making processes.

Our assessment is an attempt to parallel SOME of the components that the lawsuit mentioned in the article above:

“The uniformly partisan members of the Council demonstrate this administration’s commitment to putting the interest of unions, teachers, non-education associations, and the radical left above students and parents.”

Here is the current chair of the ICOC:

Ms. Butkiewicz also serves on the Center on Policy Initiatives with manipulative liar SDUSD Trustee Richard “Tricky Dick” Barrera:

According to Voice of San Diego:

“SDG&E has hired Bernadette Butkiewicz as regional communications manager. She is the former political organizer for the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local #230. Labor is in her blood. Her father, Jerry Butkiewicz, is the former secretary-treasurer of the Labor Council. He led the Council for years, setting the groundwork for its ascendance. He recruited Lorena Gonzalez as political director before passing the baton to her when he went to work for … SDG&E.”

Here are United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local #230 political endorsements from its Local 230 Nov. 8, 2022 General Election Endorsements:


As for political donations, from Open Secrets, here is an example of the political preference of Plumbers and Pipefitters Unions:

How about the Vice Chair of the ICOC, Rajali Walker, touted as “Representing: SDUSD Cluster Governance Committee Representative”. 

With a little research we easily found the following from the California Labor Federation:

Mr. Walker says he is a “Proud Member of IBEW Local 569”.  Good for him!

The IBEW political endorsement?


Wow…Measure U is endorsed!  What a surprise!

Two Democrats in the TOP 2 ICOC Leadership positions.

Parallel 1: Overwhelming Democrat Membership?

Parallel 2: Labor Cronyism?

Remember the featured article and lawsuit?

The uniformly partisan members of the Council demonstrate this administration’s commitment to putting the interest of unions, teachers, non-education associations, and the radical left above students and parents.

Sound familiar now?

So again, how about Mr. Walkers’s SDUSD credentials touted in his Vice Chair description?

We have been a Parent Volunteer on a School Site Governance Committee.

We have been a Chair of multiple School Site Committees.

We have been a Chair of a SDUSD Cluster.

In over 20 years dealing with the SDUSD, we have never heard of the “SDUSD Cluster Governance Committee” so we decided to search the SDUSD website for that committee.

Nothing on the DISTRICT AND BOARD COMMITTEES page titled “Cluster Governance Committee” in the Board Approved Committees list:

The results from a search on the SDUSD website provides only 3 places that “Cluster Governance Committee” is mentioned…ALL 3 under the control of Tricky Dick Barerra:

In Mr. Walkers’ ICOC Board profile, on page 21 of  Board Governance Policies:

And on page 4 of the ICOC Bylaws:

A PHANTOM SDUSD Cluster Governance Committee of ONE created by Tricky Dick Barrrera to meet his corrupt political and financial needs.

An Independent Citizens Oversight Committee that is not “Independent” and provides ZERO REAL Community Citizen Stakeholder “Oversight”.


With this initial analyis, the SDUSD ICOC could ACTUALLY stand for:

Illegitimate Crony Oversight Cabal

Unfortunately for the well meaning victims/members of the ICOC and ALL SDUSD Stakeholders , this is just ANOTHER corrupt “Tricky Dick” Barrera “Community Involvement” scam to get more taxpayer money to build his political and personal influence/power.  Why else would he stay in a part time job FOR 14 YEARS (that takes full time hours) paying $18,000 annualy except to benefit his numerous labor organization and construction conflicts of interest?

We have just scratched the surface of this ICOC analysis…there is much more to come…

Stay Tuned!

Now our “Quote of the Week” dedicated to warning the victims on the ICOC and SDUSD Stakeholders of the ruthless SDUSD Senior Leadership:

“All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force.” ― George Orwell


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