For Immediate Release
July 21, 2021
San Diego, CA – July 21, 2021– The Orange County Board of Education (OCBE) will hold a public meeting on July 27, 2021 to inform the public and stakeholders on educational topics pertaining to California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) and critical race theory (CRT). Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER) will join the public meeting as a non-profit partner to this initiative. The special forum is organized in order to better educate students, parents, and community members on various complex issues surrounding the two topics through expert testimony and civil discussions among the public, invited experts and the OCBE trustees.
“We hope that the timely public forum will help shed light on the proper and legal implementation of California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum in relation to a growing national debate on critical race theory,” said Mari Barke, the newly elected President of OCBE.
“Californians for Equal Rights Foundation is honored to help promote this educational event,” said Wenyuan Wu, CFER’s Executive Director. “Our community supporters in Orange County demand more knowledge on local practices of ethnic studies and will be greatly informed by the OCBE expert panel. We appreciate the Orange County Board of Education for setting an excellent example for other public agencies in California by championing dynamic discussions and viewpoint diversity on these contested topics, rather than unilaterally endorsing top-down policies against public opinions.”
“The public in Orange County is entitled to transparent access to scientific and objective information regarding such consequential topics as ethnic studies and critical race theory,” commented Lisa Sparks, 5th District Trustee of OCBE. “District-level implementation of ethnic studies in Orange County’s public schools will have a direct impact on student achievement and community engagement.”
Five distinguished experts from a diverse array of ethnic and political backgrounds will present at the public meeting and address the OCBE and families in Orange County with evidence-based testimony, and relevant legal and scholarly insights. The experts are Dr. Theresa Montaño, Mr. Walter H. Myers III, Professor Richard Sander, Dr. Brandy Shufutinsky and Professor Maimon Schwarzschild.
While ESMC and CRT are controversial issues, the OCBE leadership wishes to amplify the non-partisan and broad-based nature of important public discourses on both topics. Additionally, the expert panel will be moderated by Mr. Joe Collins. Prior to the special board meeting, the OCBE will host a press conference at the same location (200 Kalmus Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626). The special public meeting will be livestreamed here.
According to AB-2016, California’s state mandate to develop an ethnic studies model, ethnic studies courses should prepare students to be global citizens with an appreciation for the contributions of multiple cultures. However, controversy and disagreements over a succession of four model curriculums have persisted since the state’s release of its first model, generating over 70,000 public comments. The finally approved state ESMC, adopted on March 18, 2021, is not exempt from public scrutiny over its ideological and political lenses, many of which is related to CRT. Educational stakeholders in Orange County will benefit from a structured discussion examining the concerns and nuances regarding ESMC and CRT.
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. We are an IRS-approved 501 c(3) organization and all contributions are tax-deductible. www.Cferfoundation.org.