Action Alert Regarding the 01/19 Castro Valley Unified School District Board Meeting

Voice Your Opposition to Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum

Dear Castro Valley Unified parents, community members and concerned citizens,

On this Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 5pm, the Castro Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) will hold a board meeting, in which the board will vote on an agreement for Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (LESMC) Institute Professional Development Series (Item #8H). Please attend the board meeting either via zoom or in person at 4400 Alma Avenue, Castro Valley CA 94546 to oppose the item which will lead CVUSD to fully engage with critical race theory (CRT) through LESMC-rooted staff training with $150,000 of local funding.

In close resemblance to the first ethnic studies model curriculum which was rejected by the state in 2019, LESMC is the most radical version of ethnic studies steeped in explicit Marxist concepts. Under the guise of supporting professional development in local school districts, the LESMC Institute is also affiliated with “Ethnic Studies Now Coalition (ESNA),” an activist group backed by UdB with a mission to promote ethnic studies as “a form of liberation” and a pedagogy of “transformational resistance” throughout California. There is nothing inclusive or constructive about expending precious local education resources to promote a fringe, radical ideology that was even criticized by Governor Newsom as too controversial and offensive.

To urge the CVUSD Board to reject LESMC Professional Development series, you can:

  1. Attend the board meeting in person and complete the “Request to Speak” form to give a public comment shortly prior to the 5pm meeting.
  2. Attend the board meeting via zoom and complete the “Request to Speak” form via the Google form www.cv.k12.ca.us/publiccomment/ and submit it prior to the start of the agenda item.
  3. Send an email to the CVUSD Board (find your board member’s email here) and the Superintendent’s Office at superintendent@cv.k12.ca.us.

Please take swift action to oppose the liberated ethnic studies program and urge for diverse viewpoints and true education in CVUSD.

Kindly see below a list of pertinent topics that we suggest you can incorporate into your comments and also a sample letter, both of which are prepared by CFER’s partner group Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies. For longer sample speeches, please visit CFER’s Reject CRT website at  https://www.rejectcrt.org/resources.

Contact:

Wenyuan Wu

wenyuan.wu@cferfoundation.org

(786) 393-8028

About Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER): We are a non-partisan and non-profit organization established following the defeat of Proposition 16 in 2020, with a mission to defend and raise public awareness on the cause of equal rights through public education, civic engagement and community outreach. In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to amend its constitution by passing Proposition 209 to ban racial discrimination and preferences. Prop. 209 requires that “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” CFER is dedicated to educating the public on this important constitutional principle of equal treatment. www.Cferfoundation.org.  

Pertinent Topics:

California Ed Code

  • Any Ethnic Studies course in our schools and relevant professional development should be based on Constructive Ethnic Studies, which promotes critical inquiry, multiple points of view, and highlights the achievements of our various communities. In contrast, Liberated Ethnic Studies is fundamentally a one-sided view of social issues, based on Marxist dogma that puts people into categories based on the color of their skin.  California Ed Code 51500 states: A teacher shall not give instruction and a school district shall not sponsor any activity that promotes a discriminatory bias on the basis of ​race or ethnicity, ​religion, or nationality.  There are many other California Ed Code examples prohibiting the teaching of bias in our classrooms.

Positive Aspects of Constructive Ethnic Studies as Opposed to LESMC

  • Constructive Ethnic Studies is a better approach to the Ethnic Studies Initiative because it combats racism and emphasizes civic responsibility, builds inter-ethnic group understanding, exposes students to multiple perspectives, and teaches them to think analytically. It also leads to critical analysis of multiple perspectives, informed decision making, and respectful exchange of opinions.
  • It’s not necessary to sacrifice inquiry or impose a political ideology to achieve the engagement benefit of ethnic studies. A Constructive Ethnic Studies approach can work well to provide the success we are all looking for by promoting critical inquiry, multiple points of view, and highlighting the achievements of various communities.

Political Indoctrination

  • Political indoctrination in our classrooms is unacceptable. We must reject a one-sided inculcation of Critical race theory, the foundation of Liberated Ethnic Studies, which “challenges the traditional claims of the educational system such as objectivity, meritocracy, color-blindness, race neutrality, and equal opportunity.” CRT theorists claim that these values act as a camouflage for the self-interest, power, and privilege of dominant groups in U.S. society. Objectivity, meritocracy, color-blindness and equal opportunity are all things that make this country the most envied one on earth. Our educational system should be encouraging those attributes in our children, not villainizing them.
  • There is some evidence that well-designed ethnic studies curricula have positive academic and social outcomes for students. These studies had nothing to do with colonialism, Critical Race Theory, or Liberated Ethnic Studies political ideology, which all serve to indoctrinate a narrow political agenda and promote segregating children instead of uniting them.

Victim/Oppressor

  • Ethnic studies, when taught constructively, can build empathy and understanding while combating racism. Unfortunately, the ethnic studies that is being taught in Liberated Ethnic Studies curriculum pits students against each other by defining them as victims or oppressors based solely on the color of their skin. The liberated approach is a step backwards from all of the progress and the sacrifices our country has made in breaking down barriers, stereotypes, and discrimination based on race. There is still more to be done, but Constructive Ethnic Studies class, as described in the White Paper, can help bring about change through awareness, compassion, and engagement.
  • A Liberated Ethnic Studies  Curriculum is itself racist because it encourages students to define themselves and others as either oppressors or victims, based on their ethnicity. It asserts that all white people are inherently racist and that all people of color are fated to be victims. This approach is incredibly divisive and racist. We should not be advocating for division among our teachers or our students. Please adopt the White Paper, and ensure that all Ethnic Studies curriculum in Orange County schools is based on Constructive Ethnic Studies, which promotes critical inquiry, multiple points of view, allows for individual experience and highlights the achievements of various communities. 

Sample Letter:

Dear CVUSD School Board Members and Superintendent Ahmadi,

My name is <Full Name>, I am a resident of Castro Valley. I am writing to express my gratitude to you, as a member of the Castro Valley USD Board, for taking a proactive approach in implementing an Ethnic Studies program at the CVUSD to comply with the California Assembly Bill 101. While I know that a first step in this process is to train teachers, I am writing to voice my strong opposition to the proposal from the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum group up for consideration at your January 19, 2022 Board meeting. 

When legislators mandated the creation of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC), Californians were assured that the intent was to build bridges of understanding and uplifting marginalized students by teaching the complex history of minority communities and their contributions to California.  However, the original draft of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) proved to be a vehicle activists used to try to promote a one-sided, politically motivated indoctrination into California public schools. It was so alarming that Governor Newsom vowed that it would never see the light of day. Public outcry and advocacy centered on combating racism led to numerous drafts of the ESMC.

The same individuals and organizations who drafted the initial ESMC have resurfaced and are once again seeking to target students due to their ethnic, racial, religious, and national origin, through their Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (LESMC). This curriculum, created by the same people who wrote the first draft of the ESMC, contains the same militant proselytizing for overthrowing our system of government, using a single world view of history, and marginalizing key historic leaders, like Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, and Thurgood Marshall.

This fall when legislators passed AB101, the bill mandating an Ethnic Studies course as a graduation requirement, they specifically added guardrails to prevent this content from finding its way into our classrooms:

 “It is the intent of the Legislature that local educational agencies not use the portions of the draft model curriculum that were not adopted by the Instructional Quality Commission due to concerns related to bias, bigotry, and discrimination.”

By voting in favor of this proposal by the LESMC, you are effectively allowing this offensive material into our classrooms. As such, any Ethnic Studies course created will not qualify for the state requirement.

I am strongly supportive of an Ethnic Studies class that builds bridges of understanding, inspires civic responsibility, fights racism, and celebrates ethnic accomplishments. These classes should also emphasize critical thinking and not inculcate a specific ideology, pursuant to CA Ed Code and History and Social Science Framework standards. Teacher training is part of this process and should follow the same standards as what we can expect in our classrooms. Therefore, I ask that you vote against this proposal from the LESMC.

With Appreciation & Hope to Build a Better Community,

<Name>

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