Letter to NJUHSD Board of Directors RE: the “Critical Race Theory” presentation

by Margie Joehnck

I am well aware that Critical Race Theory is a class primarily taught in law schools about the effect various laws have had on the continuation of racism and is not being taught in high schools.  It just has become a buzz word for any effort to deal with the effects of racism in this country.

From reading the press release from the California Department of Education of March 18, 2021, I now know that the state has prepared a resource kit for high schools to use to build an ethnic studies program that is not mandated; instead, high schools can use these resources as they see fit. I also know that this school district has its own task force on anti-bias & inclusion that has been working to develop curriculum and activities appropriate for our students.

I strongly urge you to stay the course. I can’t imagine a better gift to students who have grown up in such a homogenous community as far as racial identity goes.  They will undoubtable live at some time in their lives in a far more diverse community and they will be forever grateful to have a head start in getting to know their new neighbors and co-workers.

To quote from the press release Dr. Webber, a San Diego State University African Studies professor, who helped establish the discipline there in 1972, said, “A well-taught ethnic studies curriculum is beneficial to all students regardless of race. It transforms their lives. My former students are different professionals because they have a different level of respect for others.”

Also from the press release, Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo, who wrote the 2016 legislation directing development of the model when he was in the California Assembly stated that “Our students need and deserve an education that more truthfully reflects the contributions of people of color (and those that are of color) must see themselves in what they learn.” Research has shown that these classes can improve the graduation and college-going rates among all students-and especially teens of color.

Please do not allow yourselves to be sidetracked from this important endeavor.

I am well aware that Critical Race Theory is a class primarily taught in law schools about the effect various laws have had on the continuation of racism and is not being taught in high schools.  It just has become a buzz word for any effort to deal with the effects of racism in this country.

From reading the press release from the California Department of Education of March 18, 2021, I now know that the state has prepared a resource kit for high schools to use to build an ethnic studies program that is not mandated; instead, high schools can use these resources as they see fit. I also know that this school district has its own task force on anti-bias & inclusion that has been working to develop curriculum and activities appropriate for our students.

I strongly urge you to stay the course. I can’t imagine a better gift to students who have grown up in such a homogenous community as far as racial identity goes.  They will undoubtable live at some time in their lives in a far more diverse community and they will be forever grateful to have a head start in getting to know their new neighbors and co-workers.

To quote from the press release Dr. Webber, a San Diego State University African Studies professor, who helped establish the discipline there in 1972, said, “A well-taught ethnic studies curriculum is beneficial to all students regardless of race. It transforms their lives. My former students are different professionals because they have a different level of respect for others.”

Also from the press release, Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo, who wrote the 2016 legislation directing development of the model when he was in the California Assembly stated that “Our students need and deserve an education that more truthfully reflects the contributions of people of color (and those that are of color) must see themselves in what they learn.” Research has shown that these classes can improve the graduation and college-going rates among all students-and especially teens of color.

Please do not allow yourselves to be sidetracked from this important endeavor.

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