An Introduction: This op-ed details the tragic, race-based takeover of Riverside County, CA schools. Though it’s only about those, I think it’s relevant to all schools around the nation where the subversive, anti-American idea of CRT has been pushed on pupils and/or become a popular idea among a school’s faculty. Remember that as you read it; though about one school district, it could be applied to many, many more.
Article by Kenny Snell
Since the adrenaline-filled “Summer of Love,” the educational bureaucracy of Riverside County, from the county office of education to individual school districts, has embraced a paradigmatic shift to propagate race-based teaching practices. Informed by critical race theory (CRT), these pedagogical exercises assume different monikers such as “Check Your Privilege,” “Racial Justice,” “Multitiered System of Supports,” and “Trauma Training.”
Alarmingly, CRT practices in Riverside are entrenched throughout every institutional orifice in a racially diverse and dynamic area which is also America’s 10th most populous county.
As early as July 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death, Judy White, then Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, penned an opinion piece to advocate for anti-racism, CRT’s illogical policy prescription, and promote Black Lives Matter, an explicitly political cause whose demands expand far beyond the realm of education into power interplays.
Superintendent White then passed on the torch of doing justice’s work to her assistant Dr. Edwin Gomez, Riverside’s current County Superintendent of Schools which oversees California’s fourth largest county education office. Under Dr. Gomez’s leadership, anti-racism has become the first of the district’s top four priorities.
This top-down heavy hand on ideological conformity has trickled down to the county’s various K-12 school districts. In the Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD), staff has been mandated to attend a slew of professional development trainings to “achieve equity and elevate learning,” at a hefty price tag of a $5.5 million, 5-year block grant, much of it awarded to CRT-supporting consultants Katie Novak and Solution Tree.
DSUSD principal, teachers and other professional staff members are expected to promote “culturally and linguistically relevant instruction,” adopt “positive behavioral supports,” and focus on “social-emotional learning.” The district has also contracted with Solution Tree for staff training in a course of four years to develop a “Multitiered System of Supports.”
Coincidentally, all Solution Tree consultants are avowed racial justice warriors who are motivated to dismantle white supremacy, ableism, racism…
While pleasant-sounding and benign at the first glance, these fancy terms of the new-age educational pedagogy are hijacked by CRT, a race-based, politicized ideology that traces all observed racial disparities to systemic racism, defines our human enterprise through the arbitrary prism of race and champions political actions to dismantle racism.
The toxic, divisive and counterproductive doctrine is problematic in its own moral underpinnings.
But more importantly, extravagant CRT-inspired educational programming seems to be unfitting for a public school district where, prior to the 2021 reform for universal free lunch, over 68% of its student body qualified for free or reduced-price meals.
DSUSD, like most other districts in Riverside, is also majority-minority, with a 77% Hispanic student body and an overall 81% minority enrollment, whereas he White population is 14.9%. From 2017 to 2019, DSUSD students had consistently scored in the 2nd lowest performance tier (orange) in English-Language Arts and Mathematics, 13.2 and 51 points below the standard respectively.
Coachella Valley Unified School District, which neighbors and shares portions of cities with the DSUSD, has a 97.9% Hispanic majority and only a 1% White population, according to the California School Dashboard. Over 94% of the students in CVUSD qualify for free or reduced-price meals. CVUSD students fare the same as DSUD in English-Language Arts and Mathematics, orange tier and below the standard.
Clearly, the students of Riverside County need help in core academic instruction. Perhaps instead of seeking out grants that teach students and train staff to identify as victims or else be considered as white, heterosexual, Christian oppressors—any of those could land one in the oppressor camp— Riverside County school districts should find grants to improve student performance in core academics.
So what can be done by the good citizens of Riverside County, a county with a moderate electorate splitting votes between Biden and Trump and doubling down 2-to-1 against the racial-preference ballot measure Proposition 16 in 2020?
When our elected representatives in education policy making no longer represent citizens’ interests and demands for true education, as opposed to ideological indoctrination, we must exercise our citizenry right and duty to replace them and elect those who can better voice for the community in their place.
To start, the County Superintendent and three county board of education seats are up for election this year. Various local school board positions also must face the voters in November. There is an ongoing campaign to recall the woke DSUSD school board.
Now, more than ever, it is the time to act and unite to safeguard our public education and protect our children against the egregious encroachment of CRT. It is time to obliterate politics and indoctrination from our K-12 classrooms, and return to teaching that every single student has dignity and worth as an individual.
It is time we end the teaching of everything through a racial lens, to end segregating our students by their intersectional victim status. To accomplish these tasks, we must replace every elected official, not just the local school boards. And to accomplish that task, it is imperative that good people step forward to run.
Riversiders, be the change you want to see in this volatile and occasionally troubled world dominated by fads of political fashion, rather than truth.
*A special thanks to Wenyuan Wu over at the CFER Foundation for her invaluable assistance in developing this article!