Action Alert in Poway Unified: Voice Your Concerns About the District’s Engagement with CRT at the 10/14 PUSD Board Meeting

Dear Poway Unified parents, community members and concerned citizens, 

The Poway Unified School District (PUSD) Board of Education will hold a public meeting on Thursday, October 14, 2021, starting at 6pm. Although the PUSD Board has refrained from the questionable item “Teachers of the Year”  that was on its 09/09 meeting agenda (Agenda Item 4.4), the District is by no means slowing down its engagement with a race-based worldview that essentially pits student against each other and drives counterproductive and unhealthy divisions. In other words, PUSD is teaching and practical critical race theory (CRT) and your locally elected board members need to hear your voices against such radical indoctrination. 

As of 10/13, 467 PUSD residents  have signed onto a petition to demand PUSD Board of Education eliminate CRT and CRT-based concepts from all district curriculums and programs. Sadly, the PUSD Board of Education brushes off opposition from parents and community members and is determined to see its politicized plan of “Racial Equity & Inclusion” through. Its recent nomination of “Teachers of the Year” was overrun with CRT buzzwords to include “passion for equity,” “anti-racism task force,” “diversified… curriculum,” “social emotional growth,” “culturally relevant classroom,” and “restorative justice.” In its 2021-22 Local Control and Accountability Plan, the District is committed to spending $65,000 on equity teams for anti-bias training,  $55,000 on equity coaches, $230,000 on inclusivity and an unspecified amount on ethnic studies. These add to its $125,000+ annual budget for a new Director of Equity and Improvement, who has openly promoted “work of liberation” as an essential role of educators. 

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 for Item 4.2 at PUSD’s Thursday board meeting via zoom. (The request form will be available from 1pm to 6pm on Thursday, October 14, 2021, prior to the Board of Education Meeting). You can also send in a written comment. 

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

Sample I: 

Good afternoon, honorable board members of Poway Unified School District. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak. My name is xxx. 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 implementing a race-based doctrine through racial equity programs, ethnic studies and other crystallizations of critical race theory (CRT), such as the selection of 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, the racial equity framework and the ethnic studies/literature curriculums are all rooted 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 educational excellence and academic progress, not 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:

Thank you for allowing me to speak regarding your board meeting agenda item 4.2.  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 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 carry on anti-racist work that advocates for race-based, disparate treatment of your students and employees, 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:

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, masqueraded as racial equity and 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. 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 learnin

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