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California school district to hire an anti-CRT consultant approved by newly elected conservative board

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

A newly elected majority-conservative school board in California recently approved a resolution to hire an anti-critical race theory consultant.

On March 13, in a 3-2 decision, Temecula Valley Unified School District voted to allocate $15,000 to anti-CRT initiatives, including hiring a consultant to hold "discussion groups" at an after-school board workshop.

The discussions would cover the history of critical race theory and the board's December resolution to ban CRT. The district, which enrolls approximately 28,000 students, plans to host six two-hour sessions.

Christopher Arend, former school board president of Paso Robles Joint Unified School District, was hired by the district to host the discussion groups and serve on the workshop's six-member panel, which will be held at James L. Day Middle School. All of these panelists are reportedly against teaching CRT in classrooms.

While Arend was president at Paso Robles, the district passed a resolution in 2021 banning CRT. He has also written a manuscript for a new book titled "Critical Race Theory Scam."

TVUSD governing board members Dr. Joseph Wayne Komrosky, Jennifer Wiersma, and Danny Gonzalez voted to approve the resolution, while Allison Barclay and Steven Schwartz voted against it.

Schwartz accused Arend of not having the proper qualifications to teach critical race theory.

"He's not an expert, he's not an expert on CRT. Because he's an attorney and he's studied it does not give him the degree in history or ethnic studies or anything that is related to critical race theory," Schwartz said, citing that Arend does not have teaching credentials.

When asked to clarify his "expertise" regarding the education code, Arend stated, "This has been a subject I had been interested in for a very long time. It kind of goes hand in hand with studying the law. When you study the law, you study one of the main principles of equal protection under the law."

In response, Schwartz argued that the funds should go towards other district expenses, including high school field trips and graduation expenses.

"I don't think we need to spend 15,000 on a gentleman who thinks CRT is a disgustingly racist ideology," Schwartz stated.

Wiersma defended the board's decision to hire Arend and claimed that the district had spent "thousands" of taxpayer dollars to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion training.

"My point is that I kind of went through our track record of what we've done for training. Things that are important to us. They come from a variety of fields, and so, this is not out of the ordinary," Wiersma said.

"I think as important as this discussion is on global, state, and national levels, it is important to have somebody that comes to the table and can advocate but also pull in people for the discussions from that point I would hope there would be some talk about where the resolution might need to go with the workshop, which is entirely different. You're going to have five different experts that don't vote the same, they don't look the same, and they don't have the same background," Wiersma added.

During a recent school board meeting, one of the district's teachers blasted Arend for allegedly previously agreeing to teach CRT for gas money, according to an audio clip played by the teacher.

"He said he'd do it for gas money. That $15,000 is a lot of gas money. In my opinion, hiring Christopher Arend or really any of the CRT panels should be a no-go. CRT is a non-issue at TVSD and for the record, I resent the time, money, and resources being spent on this non-issue. We should be focused on our students and our educational programs at TVSD," she said.

Another speaker claimed that the school board's resolution might violate state law.

"The state has content standards and frameworks. The state of California made our curriculum. Teachers must teach that," she said. "So we have to make sure this CRT resolution you passed doesn't prevent the teachers from doing the job they must do. We must teach about racism in our society."

The district did not reply to a request for comment, Fox News Digital reported.

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