Hispanic kids in California struggled with CRT-inspired ethnic studies 'brainwashing'

Over at Reason, Robby Soave has a really interesting story about a high school English teacher from Salinas, California, a district with a large Hispanic population. After the start of the pandemic, teacher Kali Fontanilla noticed that a bunch of students seemed to be failing a new ethnic studies class. Fontanilla herself wasn’t teaching the class but she taught English to many of the students who were inexplicably failing. She became curious about why, so she went into the online portal where teachers kept their lesson plans to see what the class was about.

She was shocked by what she saw.

“This was like extreme left brainwashing of these kids,” says Fontanilla. “Critical race theory all throughout the lessons, from start to finish. The whole thing.”

“The teacher had the kids all learn about the four I’s of oppression,” says Fontanilla. The four I’s were institutional, internalized, ideological, and interpersonal oppression. “And then there was a whole presentation on critical race theory and they actually had the students analyze the school through critical race theory.”…

“The kids don’t even want this stuff,” says Fontanilla, noting that the ethnic studies course replaced a much more popular health class—in the midst of a pandemic, no less. “Most of them are just like, ‘Why do we have to take this class?'”

Slides contained in the lesson plans mentioned Critical Race Theory by name. Soave notes that the syllabus for the ethnic studies class is available on the high school’s website and it’s quite revealing. For instance, the goals for the course include critiquing capitalism and imagining a “post-imperial life.”

Critique empire, white supremacy, racism, anti-blackness, anti-indigeneity, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of power and oppression at the intersections of our society;…

Conceptualize, imagine, and build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promote collective narratives of transformative resistance, critical hope, and radical healing.

One of the “signature assignments” in the class is for each student to create an intersectional rainbow. The assignment specifically mentions CRT proponent Kimberle Crenshaw.

Students will rank their various identities with corresponding colored strings to create intersectional rainbows. Gender, race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, beliefs, nationality, ability, age,
etc. Students will compare and contrast their intersectional rainbows with their peers, while framing their discourse within the intersectionality paradigm as laid out by Kimberlé Crenshaw.

Other assignments include criticism of the school-to-prison pipeline:

“Grasping at the Root” School-to-Prison Pipeline / Prison-Industrial Complex Analysis: Students will conduct a comparative analysis of the school-to-prison pipeline and prison-industrial complex by “grasping at the root” of these two phenomena. Students will examine the historical origins of these trends and survey the hegemonic structure they seek to establish.

And there are two mock trials mentioned, which should be helpful in preparing students to join cancel culture mobs on Twitter:

Students conduct a mock trial in which they charge various persons implicated in the crime of genocide against Native Californians. This activity focuses on systems of oppression, using the Spanish mission system as an example. Students use the language of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNUDHR) as a guideline

There are only two scholarly articles listed as course resources and both of them mention critical race theory:

  • Yosso, T. J. (January 01, 2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8, 1, 69-92.
  • Solorzano, D. G. D. D. B. (October 01, 2001). Examining transformational resistance through a critical race and LatCrit theory framework: Chicana and Chicano students in an urban context. Educational Administration Abstracts, 36, 4, 411-568.

All of this in a class for freshmen. So much for CRT not being taught in schools.

Fontanilla, who is black woman who describes herself as Christian and conservative, said of the curriculum, “It’s hyper-race-focused.” She requested a copy of the curriculum so she could share it with parents in the district, but when it was sent to her the two slides that explicitly mentioned CRT had been removed. Again, you can see screenshots of these slides at Reason, so there’s no doubt they existed.

Fontanilla wound up writing a letter to the school board. It was read aloud during a board meeting last summer and brought cheers from parents but nothing changed. She decided she didn’t want to be part of a school system what was forcing this left-wing ideology on kids. Like a lot of other Californians, she and her husband have since moved to Florida.