A hot topic at the last two CUSD Board meetings was Critical Race Theory (CRT). Many parents stood up and expressed their concerns about this ideology, which presents itself as a plan to combat racism, but rather is racist at its core. Last week, two California teachers were fired for bringing these types of teachings into their high school classrooms. It is a real issue!
Superintendent Mueller and Senior Director of Learning Dr. Battle have been asked if CRT is being taught in CUSD. They both answered no. Considering the district spent $30,000 on No Place for Hate in 2020, which “encourages schools to move beyond kindness to social justice,” how can their statements be true? Why is a program that promotes social justice being presented in a K-12 district? Mr. Mueller was tasked at the August meeting to report who in the district approved and paid for the program at last week’s meeting. It was not addressed.
On the first day of school, I reviewed the syllabus and curriculum of my daughter’s 11th grade English class. There were several items of immediate concern that I noted. An online syllabus contract required students to enter their preferred pronoun to complete the homework assignment for credit. When parents complained, it was updated to an optional field. When I inquired why this personal question was asked, the teacher stated it is required by the Ed Code. The teacher was wrong, this is not a provision of the Education Code. Rather, based on AB711, the California Department of Education provided guidance about student records which stated “if a student so chooses, district personnel shall be required to address the student by a name or the pronouns consistent with the student’s gender identity. This syllabus was the only one my daughter received that asked that question.
Another item noted is that the class will be evaluating the philosophy, “Is the American Dream more likely to inspire or destroy us?” The American Dream is, by definition, “a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and becoming successful.” What could be the benefit of debating this with teenagers who have nothing but hopes and dreams for their future?
This teacher has class Instagram and YouTube accounts which are not monitored by the district. On Instagram, posts included a Marxist Literary Criticism video and a letter to students asking them to be anti-racist by recognizing their own implicit bias and narratives to unlearn. These posts have recently been removed from the account. Board Policy 4040.8 states “employees shall not develop any classroom or work-related web sites, blogs, forums, or similar online communications representing the district or using district equipment or resources without permission of the Superintendent or designee,” but the Board has not done anything about this infringement.
Personal beliefs on race, religion, activism and politics have no place on CUSD campuses. The district needs to start monitoring what is being taught. They need to re-educate teachers on what is and is not appropriate discussion in the classroom and provide a list of consequences for overstepping those boundaries. Live streaming also needs to be available in every classroom.