Dear Orange County parents, community members and concerned citizens,
On this Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 5pm, the Orange County Board of Education (OCBE) will hold a public meeting, in which the board trustees will vote on a white paper on critical race theory (CRT) and ethnic studies (Item #8). Please show up at the board meeting at 200 Kalmus Drive, Costa Mesa CA 92626 to support the adoption of a well-written, academically rigorous and balanced policy paper on the two interrelated subjects of CRT and the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC).
This timely white paper was drafted to summarize the proceeds, findings and intellectual discussions of two expert forums hosted by the OCBE during summer 2021. Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER) executive team members and advisors participated in both expert panels last year. Along with other prestigious experts, they relied on both scholarly and practical knowledge on the subject matters to inform the public of Orange County. The white paper surveys the intellectual and empirical debates surrounding ESMC and CRT, summarizes both public expert forums, and provides policy recommendations to schools, families and students in the Orange County public education system
To urge the OCBE to approve the white paper, you can attend the board meeting in person and sign up to give a public comment shortly prior to the 5pm meeting.
Please take swift action to support a balanced ethnic studies program, diverse viewpoints and true education in Orange County public schools!
Kindly see below a list of pertinent topics that we suggest you can incorporate into your comments. For longer sample speeches, please visit CFER’s Reject CRT website at https://www.rejectcrt.org/resources.
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.
Positive Aspects of Constructive Ethnic Studies
- 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.
- The white paper makes clear that political indoctrination in our classrooms is unacceptable. It rejects 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.
California Ed Code
- I agree with the White paper that any Ethnic Studies course in our schools 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.
- 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 Constructive Ethnic Studies course is beneficial, while a Critical 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.