CFER Foundation


Published October 20, 2021

CFER Releases a Pioneering Research Initiative on School-District-Level Data Regarding Critical Race Theory, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Ethnic Studies




For Immediate Release

October 20, 2021

SAN DIEGO, CA -- October 20, 2021- Today, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER) presents important findings of a pilot research project regarding actual implementation of critical race theory (CRT), diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and ethnic studies in 43 school districts in San Diego County and Paso Robles Joint Unified School District in neighboring San Luis Obispo County. The ambitious initiative surveys empirical data at the level of individual school districts through meticulous, fact-based compilation of primary sources such as school board policies, school board meeting agendas and minutes, and school district websites. CFER expects this pilot to be expanded into a national database that better informs parents and community members on the propagation of CRT at the local level.

"Our groundbreaking pilot initiative is truly first of its kind and we hope it can serve as a wake-up call for community stakeholders to comprehend the pervasiveness of CRT's invasion in our public education," commented Frank Xu, president of CFER. "As a research-oriented think tank, CFER is committed to raising public awareness on timely and interlocking issues addressed by this research project."

Specifically, this research pilot takes on the topics of DEI and ethnic studies, not as separate concepts, but as intricately interrelated constructs rooted in critical pedagogy or CRT. In theory, "Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party; Equity means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist; Inclusion means that everyone has the opportunity to dance." But real-life applications of DEI and equity have been hijacked by CRT, to the extent that these terms become perfect crystallizations of the race-based doctrine. By the same token, promoting ethnic studies has become a sweeping movement that ushers in various CRT elements through focuses on power and privilege, forms of oppression, intersectionality, hegemony and other pedagogical tools. In short, ethnic studies is the paradigmatic vehicle for CRT. A more detailed explanation of linkages among CRT, DEI and ethnic studies can be found here.

Each school district is rated on a scale of zero to five, with zero meaning all-encompassing promotion of DEI and CRT and five signaling the district's non-participation in DEI and its prohibition of CRT. Five broad categories are evaluated: 1. Whether or not the school district has a policy banning or discouraging the teaching of CRT; 2. Whether or not it has a policy promoting DEI or its equivalents such as racial equity; 3. Whether or not it has committed local funding to advancing DEI or its equivalents; 4. Whether or not it has hired personnel to conduct the DEI policy or its equivalent; 5. Whether or not it provides one or more ethnic studies courses.

Research findings of our pilot project confirm that school districts in more urban and coastal areas in San Diego County are more likely to embrace CRT and promote CRT-based indoctrination through both curricular and extracurricular activities. The percentage of underrepresented minority students is not a reliable indicator of CRT indoctrination, as majority-Hispanic school districts like Escondido Union High and Julian Union High have better scores than majority-white school districts such as San Diego Unified. Further research on a larger number of cases needs to be conducted to investigate whether these hypotheses can be validated in a more general context.

The full database of our research pilot can be accessed here.


Wenyuan Wu

About Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER):

We are a non-partisan and non-profit organization established following the defeat of Proposition 16 in 2020, with a mission to defend and raise public awareness on the cause of equal rights through public education, civic engagement and community outreach. In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to amend its constitution by passing Proposition 209 to ban racial discrimination and preferences. Prop. 209 requires that “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” CFER is dedicated to educating the public on this important constitutional principle of equal treatment.


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