High school students are being radicalized and indoctrinated by ethnic studies coursework in the Salinas Union High School District in Monterey County, says a group of parents who obtained the curriculum and are now warning other parents.
This is Part l in a series about Critical Race Theory curriculum, political activism and indoctrination in California’s public schools.
The Salinas Union School District is using Critical Race Theory teachings, which is purposely political and dispenses with the idea of rights because it blames all inequalities of outcome on what its adherents say is pervasive racism in the United States, the Heritage Foundation explains.
The first page of the SUHSD History & Social Science Scope and Sequence syllabus is just one example:
- Intro to Holistic Humanization: The Ethnic Studies Community Unity and Solidarity Chant – You Are My Other Me
- Intro to Critical Consciousness: The Biological Fallacy of Race and its Social Construction as a Tool of Ideological Oppression
- The Real Life Education Situation as Institutional Oppression for Communities of Color: The Education Debt and Opportunity/Achievement Gap; Deficit Thinking and Internalized Oppression; Disconnection/Alienation.
Still unsure? This is also from the syllabus:
- What is Ethnic Studies and Why Did It Emerge? The Reconnection to Our Education: Ethnic Studies Saves Lives
- Reclaiming race as a space of people of color empowerment in the 1960’s-today: Black Power, Red Power, Brown Power, Yellow Power, White Allies in Solidarity
Wednesday evening, the Salinas Union High School Board of Directors held a meeting to approve the Ethnic Studies curriculum as a requirement of graduation. Dozens of parents attended the meeting, and many spoke during public comment. KION Central Coast News reported on the rowdy meeting, as parents expressed their outrage at the school board for forcing “political activist” content on their kids.
This 3 minute clip shows outraged parents confronting the school board:
Notably in the news clip, a parent shouts to SUHSD Board President Phillip Tabera, “You are the racist.” Tabera says back, “you are… you are…”
Tabera has been a member of the SUHSD Board since 2000.
Another parent asks, “Since when did public education become a political activist organization?”
The Globe spoke with Kelly Schenkoske, a Monterey County mom who has been counseling and coaching other parents on how to research the curriculum. Kelly obtained actual curriculum documents through California Public Record Act requests, and has been sharing the specifics with parents, and now the Globe.
Throughout the SUHSD ethnic studies program is Critical Race Theory, which has a strong political commitment and activism at the core. Many adults don’t know what Critical Race Theory is because it wasn’t taught in schools so overtly until recently.
The Heritage Foundation offers one of the best explanations:
- Critical Race Theory makes race the prism through which its proponents analyze all aspects of American life.
- CRT underpins identity politics, which reimagines the U.S. as a nation riven by groups, each with specific claims on victimization.
- CRT’s intolerance can be found in schools, the workplace, and the entertainment sector, “normalizing” belief in systemic racism for the average American.
The Heritage Foundation went a long way to deeply unpack CRT:
As its name should make abundantly clear, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is the child of Critical Theory (CT), or, to be more precise, its grandchild. Critical Theory is the immediate forebearer of Critical Legal Theory (CLT), and CLT begat CRT. As we discuss in this Backgrounder, however, there are strong thematic components linking CT, CLT, and CRT. Among these are:
- The Marxist analysis of society made up of categories of oppressors and oppressed;
- An unhealthy dollop of Nietzschean relativism, which means that language does not accord to an objective reality, but is the mere instrument of power dynamics;
- The idea that the oppressed impede revolution when they adhere to the cultural beliefs of their oppressors—and must be put through re-education sessions;
- The concomitant need to dismantle all societal norms through relentless criticism; and
- The replacement of all systems of power and even the descriptions of those systems with a worldview that describes only oppressors and the oppressed.
In the Salinas Union High School District Ethnic Studies program is this list of vocabulary words:
- Pan (Panethnic, Pan-African)
- Multiple intelligences?
Here is another example from the SUHSD Ethnic Studies activities – remember that this is high school curriculum:
“The Revolution Starts With Me” – Recipes, Rituals, Remedies & Resources for Self Care:
In this Unit One activity, students curate recipes, rituals, remedies, and resources for self-care. They recognize the extra labor that is required of marginalized communities simply for existing in this world. Students view self-care as self-preservation and self-determination, thus personalizing their own remedies and healing.
Another list of Vocabulary partners with this Unit Two activity, students document the migration journey of a relative (or chosen family member). This activity takes place after a deep analysis of the immigration system, particularly as it pertains to power, population, and control. (emphasis SCUSD):
Vocabulary for Unit Two:
- Master Narrative
- Explicit and implicit biases
- Critical Lens (perspective)
- Ideological, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized levels of privilege and oppression
- Settler colonialism
- Autoethnographic research
Another example of actual SUHSD Ethnic Studies activities: Mock Trial, Mexican Repatriation:
In this Unit Three exercise, students conduct a mock trial in which they charge various persons, institutions, and organizations in the illegal mass deportation of Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and American citizens of Mexican descent during The Great Depression. Using a critical, historicized lens, students examine the socio-political motives of this racial expulsion and assess the consequences suffered by marginalized communities in East Los Angeles.
The vocabulary for this Unit Three exercise:
- Cultural perpetuity
- People of color
- Capital (and forms of capital)
Kelly said there is a high percentage of illiteracy among students in the Salinas school district as many students do not speak English as a first language. She said these children are being used and taken advantage of by certain activist teachers who feed them “specialty books” for new English readers, but the books are inappropriate, activist tomes, and some even sexualized.
Kelly also said SUHSD is using the MICVA challenge, which receives funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Mikva Challenge is partnering with Salinas High School for their new Civics Engagement program, which includes “civics in action” training. The MICVA Challenge appears to be a replacement for traditional Civics teaching. As one parent said, “What happened to teaching Civics facts, like our shared American common values, how the electoral college works, local elections processes, going to city council meetings, etc.?”
Kelly said the school board and teachers supportive of Critical Race Theory use the vocabulary and language above to make it sound academic, but it’s really teaching radical political activism.
MICVA Challenge focuses its work in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Waukegan, Madison, New York City, Los Angeles County, and is popping up all over California now. (In Part ll of this series, the Globe will delve into the MICVA Challenge, as well as more curriculum).
Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 331, authored by Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside), which would have added an ethnic studies class requirement to graduate from high school in California. School districts are adding the requirement anyway.
The Heritage Foundation provides a well-researched and thorough paper on Critical Race Theory, and its roots in Marxism: Critical Race Theory, the New Intolerance, and Its Grip on America.