Ethnic Studies Takes CA Community Colleges By Storm

David Acevedo

CounterCurrent: Week of 8/8

Education in the Golden State has been something of a roller coaster over the last year. In November, Californians rejected Proposition 16, a bill that would have overturned the state’s ban on race and sex preferences in its public colleges and universities. We then saw the final Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum in March, which will effectively enshrine racialist indoctrination in California’s K-12 schools. 

A couple of months later, the University of California system completely abandoned the SAT and ACT on the grounds that the exams are “inequitable,” not even accepting test scores as an optional part of undergraduate admissions applications. California State University temporarily suspended consideration of these exams due to the coronavirus, but if it follows current trends, it will soon nix the exams as well.

In the coaster’s latest loop-the-loop, the Governing Board of California Community Colleges (CCC) approved two new requirements for all of its campuses: 

  1. All students must now take an “ethnic studies” course in order to receive their associate’s degree, and 
  2. CCC institutions must now incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), as well as so-called “anti-racism” in their employment procedures. 

In practice, these translate to at least one quarter/semester of neo-racist “education” for all CCC students, causing untold and in many cases irreparable harm, and illegal demographic discrimination in hiring. This is no small matter—CCC is the largest higher education system in the country, with 2.1 million students and well over 50,000 academic staff members across 116 campuses. That’s more than the population of 15 states.

In this week’s featured article, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation Executive Director Wenyuan Wu traces the background of these new requirements, as well as the damage they will almost certainly inflict on CCC students. Wu is uniquely qualified to write on these matters, as one who has been on the front lines of California’s K-12 and higher education battles for some time. She writes, 

[T]he transaction costs for CCC associated with promoting CRT dogma in both course offerings and institutional practices are much higher than those in more prestigious universities. After all, CCC serves students, many of whom come from less privileged backgrounds and are eager for practical knowhow and career readiness. Therefore, CCC’s new hybrid initiative to mandate ethnic studies and DEI with an overarching focus on anti-racism, CRT’s logical policy prescription, is particularly dangerous.

Must students with limited resources and short-term demands for career pathways learn about “collective struggles” and “resistance” from teachers that look like them to succeed in life? The CCC Governing Board appears to believe so. What it doesn’t know is that if students truly take these deleterious ideas to heart, it will soon reap the whirlwind.

Exactly how students, professors, and staff who wish to resist these requirements may do so remains an open question. It has become exceedingly difficult to circumvent top-down mandates such as these, leaving little choice for the parties affected. Further, students who matriculate at community colleges tend to do so in large part due to the proximity to home and the lost cost—both of which are disrupted by leaving CCC for another system in order to avoid an ethnic studies requirement. I expect that the vast majority of students will simply take the class in order to get the degree, either being successfully propagandized in the process or strongly reacting in the other direction. In any case, this mandate will ensure the radicalization and further polarization of America’s body politic.

CounterCurrent is the National Association of Scholars’ weekly newsletter, written by Communications & Research Associate David Acevedo. To subscribe, update your email preferences here.

Image: David Traña, Public Domain

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