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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Reform California Holds Town Hall Opposing CRT in Coronado

Reform California, a political group led by Carl DeMaio, held a town hall opposing critical race theory in Coronado on Monday, August 16th. He was joined by CUSD board member Stacy Keszei and Mayor Richard Bailey.

Dozens of people filled a room at the Coronado Community Center on Monday, August 16th, for a town hall criticizing critical race theory. It was organized by Reform California, a general purpose political committee led by radio show host Carl DeMaio. He claims the Coronado Unified School District is incorporating critical race theory under the guise of the anti-bullying initiative No Place for Hate—a nationwide educational program created by the Anti-Defamation League.

CUSD Superintendent Karl Mueller recently spoke with The Coronado Times, saying this is not true.

“We are not teaching Critical Race Theory at CUSD,” Mueller said. “Everyone is conflating any focus on equity or inclusivity as it relates to race under CRT. We are not teaching that one race is inherently good or bad. We are not shaming white people for the past. What we are doing, is we are teaching our students to understand and embrace all human experiences with sensitivity.”

“Critical Race Theory is filled with divisive and dishonest propaganda that has no place in any classroom,” DeMaio said on Monday.

Critical race theory is typically discussed in graduate schools, not on the K-12 level. It teaches that racism is systemic in the United States and is ingrained in law and other modern institutions.

Despite this, many at Monday’s meeting still believe that CRT is being taught in the district.

“While it’s not overt critical race theory being taught in these classrooms, it’s these political programs they’re bringing into the classroom,” CUSD board member Stacy Keszei said.

At the town hall, DeMaio said his organization will lobby to replace the school board if they don’t replace the program. He was met with a standing ovation from the crowd.

“The first thing is we need to organize and have a plan of action to demand the school board have an open process and try to achieve a community consensus,” DeMaio said. “Failing that, if they can’t do it, I must reach one conclusion, we don’t have good school board members and they have to go…the elections are next year, there’s always a recall option, we know a thing or two about recalls, don’t we?”

During the town hall, some parents voiced concerns, saying they don’t know what is being taught in the classroom. Others argued that teaching these topics takes away from a student’s childhood.

CUSD board member Keszei also suggested that taking part in the No Place for Hate program is taking away from core subjects.

“They want to fly to the moon. They want to be able to build that airplane,” Keszei said. “But if they don’t have the math and they don’t have the science, and the English and reading skills, they’re not going to be able to achieve that.”

Superintendent Mueller also addressed this in our previous coverage, saying “we are beholden to the California state standards and our responsibility and focus is to provide our students with a solid foundation, across all disciplines, for success as they transition from grade level to grade level, school site to school site and, ultimately, to be prepared as they pursue post-secondary options.”

Mayor Richard Bailey also spoke at the meeting. He did not directly address the topic of CRT, but instead, urged the community to vote.

“My call to all of you is to continue to be a voice, no matter what side you are on,” Bailey said. “I also encourage you through your votes to the school board, through your votes for state and county representation, to keep in mind just how important local control really is.”

Although several public comments were made during the town hall, no one at the meeting spoke in favor of CRT or any type of ethnic studies.

Other school districts in San Diego County are also facing pushback from parents who are against ethnic studies curriculum at San Diego Unified and Poway Unified School Districts.

A CUSD board meeting was held Thursday, August 19th, 4pm, at District Offices.


Is CUSD Teaching Critical Race Theory? and Other Pressing Questions – Superintendent Karl Mueller Responds


Tyra Wu
Tyra Wu
Tyra is a multimedia journalist with several years of experience. She has worked at various news organizations including Fox 5 San Diego, KPBS and The Coast News. She is also a student at SDSU studying journalism.Tyra grew up in Carlsbad and is excited to be reporting on another coastal community. She is particularly interested in reporting on issues of race, diversity and education. When she's not working you can find her surfing, hiking or hanging out with her dog, Hachi.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]