Small California school district to spend $40m on ‘ethnic studies’ semester for high school students


A small school district in California is planning to spend $40 million teaching ‘ethnic studies’ to high school students – with consultants training teachers on the new curriculum at a cost of $1,500 an hour.

Hayward Unified School District in June became the first in the state to officially adopt the new curriculum, promising in a press release cited by an op ed in The Wall Street Journal that it ‘will be informed by and include Critical Race Theory.’

On June 25, the Bay Area district announced that they had approved the teaching of ethnic studies throughout all grade levels, from preschool to 12th grade, and it will become a graduation requirement by the 2022-23 school year.  

The school board described ethnic studies as ‘the interdisciplinary study of race and ethnicity, as understood through the perspectives of major underrepresented racial groups in the United States.’

High school students in a classroom in California. The governor of California is spending $100 billion on education, and school districts are spending the money on schemes such as ‘ethnic studies’ – which require extensive training for teachers

April Oquenda, the president of Hayward Unified School District, on June 25 celebrated the announcement that ethnic studies would now be taught in her area

April Oquenda, the president of Hayward Unified School District, on June 25 celebrated the announcement that ethnic studies would now be taught in her area

They stated: ‘This discipline contends with racism, white supremacy culture, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, and nation-within-nation relationships.’ 

The course is designed ‘to educate students to be socially, politically, environmentally, and economically conscious of their personal connections to local and transnational histories. 

‘The policy and efforts to develop an Ethnic Studies framework are informed by and will include Critical Race Theory and the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.’

Dr April Oquenda, president of the board, said: ‘It’s important that we teach our students of all ages about their ancestral legacies. 

‘Culture is essential in the fight for racial justice, and the district believes that the promise of the full inclusion of ethnic and cultural groups who have contributed to the development of our country has not yet been realized.’ 

San Diego Unified School District is expected to approve a similar plan later this summer, the paper reported. 

R. Tolteka Cuauhtin, author of Rethinking Ethnic Studies, is charging $1,500 an hour to train teacher in the new curriculum

R. Tolteka Cuauhtin, author of Rethinking Ethnic Studies, is charging $1,500 an hour to train teacher in the new curriculum

Eight states have banned the critical race theory and several others are considering passing similar resolutions

Eight states have banned the critical race theory and several others are considering passing similar resolutions

Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, is seen on July 13 promoting the California Comeback Plan. It includes $100 billion for education

Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, is seen on July 13 promoting the California Comeback Plan. It includes $100 billion for education

CRITICAL RACE THEORY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  

The fight over critical race theory in schools has escalated in the United States over the last year.

The theory has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year and the introduction of the 1619 Project.

The 1619 Project, which was published by the New York Times in 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on American shores, reframes American history by ‘placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the US narrative’.

The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.

Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.

Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influence American politics, culture and the law.

The curriculum is influenced by teachings from the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute. 

One consultant affiliated with the institute, R. Tolteka Cuauhtin, has been hired by another school district, Salinas Union High School District, to provide professional development for teachers to help implement ethnic studies – at a cost of $1,400 an hour, the WSJ said.

The $40 million is being spent on in Hayward – a district of 30 schools, serving 21,000 students. By comparison, New York schools district, the largest in the nation, serves 1.2 million students.

The paper described the new curriculum as spawning a cottage industry of ‘woke’ educational specialists, poised to benefit from an influx of cash.

Gavin Newsom, the Democrat governor of California, has unveiled a $100 billion plan for education in the state, entitled: ‘California Roars Back’.

It includes $3 billion for community schools, which join with outside groups to offer additional services; $4 billion for behavioral health, which will looks at systemic racism, among other issues; and $2.6 billion for ‘research-tested interventions,’ such as ‘high-dose tutoring.’

California’s teaching union in January recommended ethnic studies as part of curriculum.

They issued a guide, recommending that the curriculum being described as intending to ‘conceptualize, imagine, and build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promote collective narratives of transformative resistance, critical hope, and radical healing.’ 

Kenny Xu, president of Color Us United – a group which ‘opposes dividing America by race, religion, sexual orientation or any other characteristic’, wrote in the WSJ that there had been a lack of transparency about the new curriculum.

‘Taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to fund courses that are fundamentally racist and anti-American,’ he wrote. 

‘California’s parents deserve to know what is happening in their districts, and Americans deserve to know how their money is being spent.’



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