PUSD Action Alert: Sign Up for Public Comments to Oppose the CRT-Based “Teacher of the Year” Agenda on Thursday (09/09)

Attention! The Poway Unified School District (PUSD) Board of Education will discuss the subject— “Teachers of the Year” at its upcoming board meeting on Thursday, September 9 (Agenda Item 4.4). 

We need parents, grandparents and concerned citizens to submit requests for public comments regarding this item and to voice your concerns regarding PUSD’s promotion of CRT!

PUSD’s drafted proclamations for its 2021 Teachers of the Year are overrun with buzzwords of critical race theory (CRT), to include “passion for equity,” “anti-racism task force,” “diversified… curriculum,” “social emotional growth,” “culturally relevant classroom,” and “restorative justice.” Every single one of these pleasant-sounding words can be associated with an ideological foundation inspired by CRT to spur a race-based worldview that essentially pits students against each other and drives counterproductive and unhealthy divisions.

Is allegiance to anti-racism and CRT a requirement to win PUSD’s “Teacher of the Year”?

Lest we forget that PUSD is an equal opportunity employer committed to “an active Nondiscrimination Program.” It is also a California public education institution that must strictly observe the State Constitution and its equal protection clause. Equity, restorative justice, and other politically fashionable trends should not stay above the law to prescribe race-based initiatives. Teachers should be evaluated and recognized by a merit-based system, not by their ideological affinity to a narrow, non-educational agenda.

It seems that the PUSD Board of Education is determined to see its politicized plan of “Racial Equity & Inclusion” through, regardless of growing opposition from parents and community members. As of 09/06, 435 PUSD residents signed onto a petition to demand the PUSD Board of Education eliminate CRT and CRT-based concepts from all district curriculums and programs. Parents, taxpayers and concerned community members have spoken and it is time for PUSD’s elected officials to listen to their constituents rather than towing the line of political correctness.

To make your voice heard, please submit a request to make a public comment at PUSD’s Thursday board meeting. (The request form will be available from 1pm to 5pm on Thursday, September 9, 2021, prior to the Board of Education Meeting.)

Please feel free to utilize CFER’s sample speeches below.

Sample I:

Good afternoon! I am a parent, local resident and taxpayer, who is alarmed by PUSD’s trend of embracing a narrow political doctrine under the name of racial equity and inclusion. Specifically, I want to speak in opposition to the ways in which the PUSD is selecting its “Teacher of the Year.” While I fully support the District’s efforts to genuinely improve the teacher workforce, educational quality, true diversity and equal access for all students, I firmly oppose politicized attempts to create racial strife in our community.

Dressed in fancy yet amorphous code words of a political rather than educational nature, the “teachers of year” proclamations are steeped in a critical race theory or anti-racist framework based on unempirical research. We should not subscribe to a false dichotomy of privileged vs. marginalized, mis-portray perceived racial inequities as a universally accepted truth, and insinuate “anti-racist” actions as necessary to combat perceived “racism.” We need good-faith efforts to identify good teachers based on merit, performance and dedication, not by their affinity to a certain ideological agenda.

PUSD is nested in a prosperous and growing community. It represents a multi-lingual and diverse student population. The notion that systemic racism plagues our community and we must celebrate teachers who are committed to equity work is an oversimplification of our complex society. It stokes racial animosity, divides individuals by the virtue of their skin color, and yet will not lift up any student of any background educationally. If we are truly serious about improving our District as a whole, let us highlight those teachers who have dedicated their careers to educational excellence and academic progress, not to some vague, ambiguous dogma.  

For your reference, please visit rejectcrt.org and read a powerful joint statement signed by a racially, politically and socioeconomically diverse coalition of 26 organizations in firm opposition to critical race theory and its real-life applications.

Sample II:

I want to address your board meeting agenda item 4.4—PUSD’s “Teachers of the Year.” My name is xxx, and I come here this evening with my fellow parents from diverse racial, ethnic and political backgrounds, in strong opposition to PUSD’s selection criteria for its “Teachers of the Year” and in opposition to PUSD’s obsession with pushing for its racial equity and inclusion agenda in spite of growing criticisms. We fear that making decisions based upon poorly conducted research and a narrow political ideology will compromise PUSD in terms of its educational competitiveness and social cohesion.

After over a year of pandemic-induced remote learning, I believe that PUSD and its teachers must devote their precious energy and public resources to addressing the debilitating learning losses which disproportionately impact disadvantaged students. Educational measures, rather than politicized narratives, must be put in place to improve student outcomes in basic math, English literacy, and science. These measures must be used to evaluable teacher performance.

Ironically, many elites and education activists on the other side of the aisle feel the need to make a distinction between critical race theory as a “benign” academic approach and their staunch support of racial equity. Yet, the “Teachers of the Year” proclamations, as a prime example of PUSD’s endorsement of a CRT-based ideology, invokes “anti-racism,” “restorative justice,” “social-emotional growth,” and “culturally relevant classroom.” All are common keywords for critical race theory training. Such an unsolicited non-denial denial is dishonest, deceptive and unethical. Let’s call a chair a chair and see through these pleasant-sounding jargons.

If PUSD were to deepen its equity agenda and select “teachers of the year” by equity-based, CRT-rooted standards, you would be instituting the highly contested critical race theory to indoctrinate our children and waste taxpayers’ money to fix a non-issue. Worse, you would be fighting fire with fire, and attempting to cure disparities with discrimination. Don’t give in. Don’t let toxic racial identity politics reign in our great community.

I encourage you to read a joint statement made by a racially, politically and socioeconomically diverse coalition of 26 organizations criticizing the real-life implications of CRT at rejectcrt.org.

Sample III:

Good afternoon. My name is xxx. I am a parent and concerned community member. I wholeheartedly support PUSD’s well-intentioned efforts to encourage good teaching practices and empower students and families from vastly different backgrounds. However, perpetuating an ideological agenda, crystalized as the equity-based selection of “Teachers of the Year” is a digression from these genuine efforts.

PUSD prides itself with goals to prepare students to be healthy individuals, well-rounded persons, effective communicators, life-long learners and engaged citizens. These noble objectives will be corroded by race essentialism, perpetual victimhood, and an illiberal obsession with race, all of which are evident in Agenda Item 4.4 under discussion today. Civic engagement will give in to racial divisions. Effective communication and holistic development will be replaced by a strong sense of disempowerment. Life-long learning will be overshadowed by political indoctrination. It is a race to the bottom.

Needless to say, implementing CRT-informed policies and curriculums will make PUSD vulnerable to legal risks. Essentially, disparate, race-based treatment of individuals violates the California Constitution Article I Section 31(a), the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and various Supreme Court rulings on race consciousness concerning strict scrutiny and narrow tailoring. Instituting anti-racist curriculum will surely result in violations of state non-discrimination laws and said state bans.

At a time when our students and communities are recovering from pandemic learning losses and pandemic-related emotional strains, PUSD and its various stakeholders including parents and teachers should work together to foster unity, cohesion and a strong learning environment. A witch hunt for racism is divisive, unnecessary and dangerous. It treats our precious children as powerless agents of narrow identity groups and takes away their individuality and agency. But their common journey as Americans should be greater than these narrow group identities. As parents, we want our children to become cultured individuals with appreciation for contributions of various ethnic groups in our diverse society. However, we don’t want them to be indoctrinated with controversial ideologies that not only reduce them to their skin colors, but also disregard our nation’s long-standing liberal ideals of equality, liberty and justice.

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