For Immediate Release
April 13, 2022
SAN DIEGO, CA – April 13, 2022- Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER) issues the following statement to request that the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) Board of Education re-evaluate its current programs related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and promptly discontinue all divisive, race-based trainings, including various DEI initiatives.
We firmly request that the SDUHSD Board abstain from dividing students and employees on the basis of race, in light of a highly contentious incident at the board’s most recent DEI training workshop, hosted by the board on April 11, 2022. During the training session, SDUHSD superintendent Dr. Cheryl James-Ward made some inaccurate comments arguing the district’s Asian-American students perform well because they come from rich immigrant backgrounds. After CFER issued an action alert asking the community to demand accountability and clarifications, Dr. Ward called an emergency public meeting in the afternoon of April 12 to apologize for her inflammatory remarks. While CFER welcomes Dr. Ward’s attempt to engage with community stakeholders and correct her previous account, this unfortunate event only highlights the inherent flaws of race-based thinking and DEI programs rooted in critical race theory (CRT).
“The incident proves that the so-called DEI training divides communities instead of bringing us all together,” commented Frank Xu, president of CFER, “Our public education system needs to abandon these corrosive, politically charged initiatives and help all students thrive on an individual, merit-based basis. I want to call upon all SDUHSD community members to follow up with Dr. Ward regarding her upcoming official statement on this incident and urge her to reject race-based narratives”
For the 2021-22 academic year, SDUHSD has devoted considerable resources to promote DEI, including $522,300 for professional learning that incorporates equitable access, social-emotional learning (SEL) and culturally responsive practices as well as $674,500 for additional inclusive programs. All such programming must be reviewed by the public to ensure that benign, well-intentioned activities don’t become hijacked by divisive ideologies. Informed by a worldview that filters all social relationships and societal outcomes through the prism of race, the DEI dogma lacks both empirical evidence of success and conceptual clarity. Based in the ideological foundation of CRT, DEI pledges are often structured to mirror the specific demographics of the specific institutions in the general demographics of the embedding communities, demonstrating the blatant objective to racially balance.
CFER will continue to monitor the implementation of SDUHSD’s district goals and policies pertaining to DEI, SEL and similar concepts. As we look forward to working with the board and the district to ensure all relevant programs are conducted for educational purposes and based in scientific evidence, CFER also wants to urge the public to follow up with Superintendent Dr. Cheryl James-Ward regarding her pledge to issue a statement on the incident. We should ask that she make an explicit stance against race-based, divisive practices. In a collaborative spirit, CFER has decided to cancel our 04/12 action alert regarding Dr. Ward’s Thursday town hall meeting,
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.