How this tiny Christian college is driving the right's nationwide war against public schools - 2022-03-15
The school under discussion that night wasn't a regular public school. It was a recently-launched charter called the Orange County Classical Academy (OCCA), which is funded with taxpayer money but follows a private school-like curriculum centered "on the history and cultural achievements of Western civilization" and an ambiguous mission to instill "virtue."
The public face of OCCA is its charismatic co-founder, Dr. Jeff Barke, a Newport Beach "concierge physician" who gained national notoriety as one of the most outspoken skeptics of pandemic public health policies and has voiced vitriolic opposition to today's public schools.
Barke's wife Mari, as it happens, is president of the Orange County Board of Education, which was deciding whether to allow OCCA to expand to new campuses throughout the affluent suburban county of nearly 3.2 million people. (That was the evident conflict of interest that sparked laughter from the crowd.) Although Orange County is more a purple than a deep-red jurisdiction these days, that board is dominated by a conservative majority, swept into power over the last several years thanks to an unprecedented influx of right-wing cash.