CFER Joins Two Prominent Groups Urging State Officials to Investigate Authors of Rejected Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for Unethical and Illegal Conduct

For Immediate Release

February 18, 2021

SAN DIEGO, CA – February 18, 2021- Californians for Equal Rights (CFER), in partnership with AMCHA Initiative and California Association of Scholars, sent a formal letter to state officials Thursday morning. In the letter, we urge the leadership at California State University and the State Board of Education to conduct a timely investigation into the highly questionable behavior of founders of Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (LESMC) who exploited state-mandated instructional materials and their state employer affiliations for their personal gains and political agenda.

“In addition to violating state laws that forbid conflict of interest among state employees, these unethical consultants are indoctrinating our children,” commented Frank Xu, president of CFER, “California’s K-12 students deserve to be taught the idea of equal treatment and equal opportunity regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.”

Strong evidence from the LESMC website and its recent events indicates that LESMC founders are promoting the first draft of Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) in K-12 classrooms throughout California for profit. After 21,000 opposing public comments, the first draft ESMC was rejected by the State Board of Education and the Governor’s Office due to its highly politicized and divisive nature. In addition, all three founders of LESMC are state employees— Theresa Montano and Stevie Ruiz are faculty in the Chicano/a Studies Department at CSUN, while Guadalupe Carrasco Cardona is an adjunct lecturer at CSU Long Beach. Both Montano and Cardona also served at the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Advisory Committee in 2019, playing an instrumental role in designing the first draft.

LESMC founders’ conduct directly contravenes California Code, Government Code – GOV § 19990 and California Code, Education Code – EDC § 89005.5.

“While evidence continues to mount that educator-activists have hijacked and exploited the state’s educational infrastructure to promote a highly politicized and divisive ethnic studies curriculum that advances their own fringe political beliefs at the expense of our kids’ education, now it seems they are attempting to financially profit off of it as well,” said Dr. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder and Director of AMCHA Initiative, “The corruption here is reprehensible.  And worse is the danger that their political and divisive curriculum poses to our children. State officials must step in and investigate.”

The joint letter concludes with an urgent call for investigation: “We believe the LESMC founders must not be permitted to use the name of a state supported university and other taxpayer-funded resources for advancing their own personal and political interests, and we hope your respective offices will promptly investigate this matter.”


Wenyuan Wu

(786) 393-8028

About Californians for Equal Rights (CFER): CFER is 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.

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