Saturday, March 12, 2022

California’s path to Race Marxism is a cautionary tale

By Wenyuan Wu | Californians for Equal Rights Foundation 

California Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville. - Rich Pedroncelli | AP

California politicians and activists for many years have been aggressively proselytizing a race-centric dogma in much of the state’s public affairs, which has transformed public education. Instead of aspiring to excellence in education, or even proficiency in reading and math, California has embraced Race Marxism, commonly referred to as Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Democratic governors, the state legislature, and political activists have aggressively pushed legislation, policies and initiatives that arbitrarily segregate students and communities based on race and color. Not only is this discriminatory, but it’s contributed to disastrous learning outcomes among California’s six million K-12 students. California’s failures spell disaster for the rest of the country if they are followed.

California’s race to the bottom was solidified in 2016 when former Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB-2016 into law, which required the State Board of Education (SBE) to create the first ethnic studies model curriculum (ESMC) in the country. Its original purpose was to adopt a model to prepare students to “be global citizens with an appreciation for the contributions of multiple cultures.”

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo, called it “historic.” A Stanford University study suggested that ethnic studies courses have created long-term benefits for students, including lowering the risk high school students dropping out, improving attendance and “significantly” improving academic performance. I’ve studied both Stanford’s 2016 study and its updated analysis in 2021, concluding that these benefits shouldn’t be over-generalized.

By March 2021, after more than 60,000 public comments were filed and bi-partisan opposition was voiced, the SBE approved its controversial model. It’s rooted in CRT, which at the time wasn’t widely known or understood.

The finalized ESMC unapologetically lists learning “political contributions to anti-imperial and anti-colonial movements” and critiquing “empire building in relationship to forms of power and oppression” in its guiding principles. Promoting “collective narratives of transformative resistance, racial healing and critical hope” is another basic tenet. To make matters worse, the legislature passed a bill, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law, requiring high school students to take an ethnic studies course as a prerequisite to graduate. California then became the de facto flagship propagandizing Race Marxism through state-sanctioned curricula, creating a national blueprint for failure.

Even before the passage of the bill, at least 20 school districts passed resolutions to adopt a Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, a more radical version that even the ultra-progressive state legislature and Gov. Newsom had previously rejected. Among them, the Hayward Unified School District publicly endorsed CRT and Liberated Ethnic Studies last July; the Los Angeles Unified Governing Board committed to teach an ethnic studies tract to “make intersectional racial and social justice a reality.”

As if things weren’t bad enough, the California Department of Education next began to update its California Mathematics Framework (CMF) with an equity-focused theme to address structural barriers and “center Black, Latino and multi-lingual students.” In the name of equity, the proposed CMF intended to eliminate advanced classes for high-performing students, starting with middle school grades. The new framework also emphasizes political action to fight “systemic racism and white supremacy.”

This is in addition to the efforts of a failed education establishment that for decades hadn’t improved quality of education. California’s Pre-K-12 public education system ranks 40th nationally; five out of 10 public school students in grades 3 through 8 can’t read at their grade level. Six out of 10 aren’t proficient in math. This is despite the state spending nearly $25,000 per pupil.

Coupled with learning losses exacerbated by an ongoing state of emergency, failed distance learning, and lockdown and restrictive policies, California’s education underperformance is astounding. In order to compensate, or cover up its ineptitude, the state’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, recently changed its graduation criterion to Pass/Fail after anticipating that 74% of its 12th graders weren’t expected to graduate under a previous 1.0 GPA requirement.

The majority of LAUSD’s 618,489 students, 82%, are underrepresented minorities and poor; 80.2% qualify for free or subsidized meals. Instead of focusing on improving learning outcomes to prepare them for the workforce or college, the LAUSD school board fervently pursued “woke” edicts cementing its commitment to excelling in its critical race to the bottom.

However, all hope is not lost, even in California. Recently, voters in one of the most liberal cities of San Francisco resoundingly recalled three school board members who prioritized progressive politics over education. A rising number of liberals and Independents are joining the grassroots resistance against “woke math.” What we witnessed is that the unraveling of Race Marxism is possible when freedom-loving Americans stand up.

Californians would do well to remember their 33rd governor, who rose to national political prominence because of his emphasis on American exceptionalism. California, its students, and Americans, are better-served when we focus on our strengths and remember that what unites us is greater than what divides us. Education isn’t about cultivating victimhood or divisiveness, but about cultivating joy in learning, and fostering critical thinking and transferable skills to enable us to live successful, meaningful lives.


Wenyuan Wu is the Executive Director of Californians for Equal Rights Foundation. She writes for Minding the Campus of the National Association of Scholars and sits on the board of Parents Defending Education Action. Since late 2020, CFER has focused its advocacy and research efforts to combat the intrusion of critical race theory in American public life. CFER is encouraging reports of CRT-related practices in schools and workplaces through its online hotline.



Black Middle School Kids Who Jumped White Kids Charged With Hate Crimes


Students head for their buses at York Middle School in York, Maine, on Sept. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Five black children who attend Lyons Creek Middle School in Broward County, Fla., are being charged with hate crimes after assaulting several white students.

The incident happened Wednesday morning at the Coconut Creek Recreation Center, just a short distance from Lyons Creek Middle School. At least one of the victims was targeted because of his race, according to police.

The arrest reports from Coconut Creek Police stated the victims were “racially profiled.” According to the reports, the students told police that the other students approached them, yelling, “It’s opposite day!” and “brown power!”

“The group looked at (the student) and stated “he is white” before another student “tackled him to the ground which subsequently allowed the group of middle school kids to start hitting him with their hands, feet and phone chargers,” the reports said.

One student said he was attacked after he was dropped off at the center before classes. He told NBC 6 that a group of guys from his school ran over to “jump” him and another group of students.

The attackers hit and kicked him, and yelled things that made him believe that he was being targeted because he is white, the student said.

“I put my hands up so they don’t whack my face,” the student who was dropped off said. “After they jumped me, they said this is, like, revenge for what they did in the 1700s for slavery.”

Broward County Public Schools said in a statement that this was an off-campus incident that police and fire responded to. The principal of the school sounded out a robocall to make parents aware of the incident, saying they are always working to provide a safe and secure learning environment and will work to ensure that any off-campus incidents do not impact students at the middle school.

“They can’t do anything to the other kids because it didn’t happen on school property,” said Frank Foster, who said his kid was attacked. “He wants to go back to school there because all of his friends are there, but he doesn’t feel safe. There’s an opportunity to move out, but that seems like a punishment.”

If you were told day after day that white people are responsible for your economic circumstances and have oppressed you and all black people for 350 years, how happy would you be about seeing any white person?

The notion that teaching critical race theory isn’t harmful is absurd on its face. And even if these black kids were not directly exposed to CRT, they almost certainly have been made aware of its tenets by popular culture.

Putting aside the question of whether there should be “hate crimes” at all, teaching black kids that whites are their oppressors doesn’t lead to peace and harmony in the classroom.