Published April 29, 2023
The Morgan Hill Unified School District (MHUSD) Board of Education will hold its regular meeting in which the trustees will discuss a proposal to introduce an Ethnic Studies course. The proposed curriculum contains recommended readings from one particular political viewpoint. There are also some objectionable elements including thematic units on systems of power, social justice and equity.
Dear Morgan Hill parents, community members and concerned citizens,
On Tuesday (May 2, 2023), the Morgan Hill Unified School District (MHUSD) Board of Education will hold its regular meeting in which the trustees will discuss a proposal to introduce an Ethnic Studies course (Agenda Item # K4). Please attend the meeting and speak up to urge the board members to make the course development process open, transparent and democratic.
According to California law (AB 101), all public high schools in the state will make Ethnic Studies a required course starting with the 2025-26 school year. The MHUSD is now considering implementing the course in the 2023-24 school year, before the state mandate takes effect so that the school district can “pilot, tweak, and work to perfect” it.
It is important to recognize the controversies surrounding California’s movement to promote Ethnic Studies at the K-12 level. Unlike the rosy picture painted by the MHUSD leadership’s presentation on this item, the institutionalization of Ethnic Studies as a K-12 class has been marked by contentions and disagreements over academic contents, ideological frameworks and pedagogical preferences. In October 2021, CFER led a broad-based effort in which 27 partner organizations the Latino American Political Association, the National Association of Scholars, Free Black Thought, the AMCHA Initiative, Parents Defending Education, and Moms for Liberty joined our open letter against teaching Ethnic Studies through a racialized, critical lens. In May 2022, a group of Jewish parents and teachers in Los Angeles, represented by the Deborah Project and Judicial Watch, sued the Los Angeles Unified School District for discriminating against Jews in its Ethnic Studies curriculum.
The proposed MHUSD curriculum, which will be discussed as a “first read informational item” on the May 2nd board meeting, contains recommended readings from one particular political viewpoint. There are also some objectionable elements including thematic units on systems of power, social justice and equity.
How Ethnic Studies should be taught, what instructional materials are needed and which kind of professional development is conducive for the goal should not be treated as settled matters or a foregone conclusion. Instead, parents, community members and taxpayers should be given ample opportunities to participate in the process of curriculum development, review all instructional materials and have their feedback fully considered by the school district. It is necessary to reiterate a dynamic process of open discussion and deliberations.
We urge you to attend the May 2nd MHUSD Board Meeting at 5pm in the Boardroom located at 15600 Concord Circle; Morgan Hill, CA 95037. Sign up to give a public comment and address the Board with your demands for transparency and community involvement. You can also contact your board representatives to share your concerns and requests.
Going forward, we encourage you to continue to get involved at the local school district, monitor new developments and speak up. The future of local education and our next generation needs to be vigorously safeguarded.
Thank you in advance!
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.