State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Launches New “Education to End Hate” Initiative to Combat Bias, Bigotry, and Racism

Press Release

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SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Monday announced a new, multifaceted “Education to End Hate” initiative designed to empower educators and students to confront the hate, bigotry, and racism rising in communities across the state and nation. Under a new effort outlined during a virtual press conference, the State Superintendent said that the California Department of Education (CDE) will lead a series of strategies—including educator training grants, partnerships with community leaders, and virtual classroom sessions—that leverage the power of education to create a more just society.

“We do not need any more evidence that our country is facing two pandemics: coronavirus and hate. It feels like every day we are seeing heartbreaking examples: more anti-Semitic behavior, bullying of Asian American students because of our President’s rhetoric, Islamophobia, discrimination of our LGBTQ neighbors, and violence directed at people of color,” Thurmond said. “It’s time to double down on our efforts to combat all forms of hate, bias, and bigotry. By digging deeper into the complexities of our diverse and difficult histories—not denying or ignoring them—I believe education can provide the pathway to healing, understanding, and racial and social justice.”

The State Superintendent’s “Education to End Hate” initiative has three components:

Educator training grants: The CDE will award up to $200,000 in mini-grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to support educator training in the areas of anti-racism and bias. The grants will be funded by contributions from an ongoing philanthropic partner, the S. D.  Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Organizations with extensive experience in leading related educator trainings—including Equality California, the National Equity Project, and the Simon Weisenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance— have already agreed to partner and offer professional development and resources through this program. More details on grant guidelines and the application process will be released to school districts soon.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center is the preeminent organization fighting anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate globally. Its Museum of Tolerance (MOT) is a proud and trusted partner to schools throughout California in advancing anti-bias education, inclusion, and equity through unique professional development programs and educator resources,” said Rabbi Meyer H. Hay, Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance. “Committed to confronting hate and promoting human dignity and respect for all, the MOT has also adapted its experiential content for virtual programs for educators, students and parents.”

Virtual Classroom Series: Throughout the month of October, the CDE will host a series of virtual classroom sessions broadcast live throughout the state that will be designed to engage students, educators, and families in a wide-ranging dialogue about the many forms of bias young people across California face—and ways schools can lead efforts to end discrimination.

Roundtable with leaders: In the coming days, the State Superintendent will convene a public roundtable discussion among leaders from prominent racial and social justice organizations, educators, and state lawmakers to brainstorm additional ideas for ways schools can influence the change necessary to ensure a physically and emotionally safe learning environment that is inclusive for all students.

Several lawmakers, who have each worked on multiple fronts to advance equity, on Monday expressed their commitment to supporting this initiative, including:

  • Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), Chair of the Senate Education Committee
  • Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus
  • Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Chair of the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus
  • Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus
  • Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), Vice Chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus

“Sometimes in our darkest hour is when we do our best work. We know that racism and hate are taught, and we know that children are born loving everyone. You learn what you live, and unfortunately racism and hate are still being taught in living rooms across the state of California and across this country,” Senator Leyva said. “If we learn about each other, the hope is that we won’t hate each other. The hope is that we will know that we have more in common than not. I want to thank State Superintendent Thurmond for always taking on these big issues.”

“In a time when President Trump is attempting to convince Americans that discussing issues like race, gender, and sexual orientation are counterproductive to American ideals, California must take a stand,” Senator Wiener said. “Education is critical in combating hate and bias against LGBTQ people. I am proud to see that California is once again leading the fight against hate.”

“The pandemic brought with it a rise in hate against Asian Americans. We have seen this happen in other moments of national crisis and that’s why I have worked on policies to address bullying and discrimination faced by our students,” Assemblymember Chiu said. “The additional resources and strategies that Superintendent Thurmond has announced today will help ensure that our schools continue to be a safe place to learn.”

“We know our children face racism and bigotry in their lives. Classrooms should serve as safe learning environments that allow students to process and understand these difficult experiences,” Assemblymember Gonzalez said. “Superintendent Thurmond’s initiative will help ensure students, parents, and teachers are prepared with the tools they need to confront racism, bigotry, and hate-based violence and to facilitate honest conversations about the realities students are facing every day.”

“Hate, bigotry, and racism should never be a part of our schools. As children continue their education during a challenging time, we must ensure their well-being is protected,” Assemblymember Limón said. “I applaud the efforts of the CDE and State Superintendent Thurmond to continue prioritizing and taking action on this issue.”

An archived broadcast of the full press conference can be viewed on the CDE’s Facebook page.

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s website. You may also follow Superintendent Thurmond on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe this is just a distraction of the schools not opening. Your only concern is to make sure schools can open safely. You’ve had since March to figure this out. Wasted money by paying employees to stay home with no plan on going back. Earn your keep and get it together.

  2. Great! Is he going to teach the true foundation of Hate that is the HISTORIC DEMOCRAT PARTY? Once we obolish this HATEFUL, RACIST, MURDEROUS, GENOCIDAL blight on AMERICAN HISTORY! Then and only then will we heal!

    KNOW HISTORY, KNOW PEACE
    NO HISTORY, NO PEACE!!

    • Well, as long as you put it that way, Ray! We haters hate you as well. Just so you know.

  3. What’s he going to do? Order pre-frontal lobotomies for all the kids? People have the right of freedom of association and they have the right to think what they want. What’s with this guy?

  4. God, this guy needs to be voted out of office and replaced by someone who will concentrate on public education instead of “social activism.”

    • How was he even voted in? Didn’t he get in trouble with the police over a traffic citation? Wasn’t he mouthing off to the police over that? He’s damn lucky they let him walk!

  5. Ironically black people are the most obsessed with talking about race, yet are the most homophobic (hip-hop is hugely to blame and the biggest genre in America) and statistically most violent. Kids aren’t born racist true, and them growing up in a diverse state like California will teach them that we’re all alike, so this is just more virtue signaling.

    • We would have fewer problems if we weren’t so “diverse.” In world history, every country which became diverse, failed miserably.

  6. YES Finally someone who will take control of our education system and TEACH truth to the proletariat. Only with true state controlled narratives can we hope to achieve the dream of socialism. Only with true state controlled resources can we achieve true human flourishing. DON’T let the racist CON-servatives trick you with lies of individual pursuits and historical denials. Don’t let them quote family values when they care only about their family, not yours. Subsume yourself to the will of the STATE. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.

  7. YES Finally someone who will take control of our education system and TEACH truth to the proletariat. Only with true state controlled narratives can we hope to achieve the dream of socialism. Only with true state controlled resources can we achieve true human flourishing. DON’T let the racist CON-servatives trick you with lies of individual pursuits and historical denials. Don’t let them quote family values when they care only about their family, not yours. Subsume yourself to the will of the STATE. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.

  8. We are NOT all alike! We never have been that and never will be. Where do these “activists” get the idea that we are? I can like whom I want to like and not like whom I don’t and there is nothing anyone can do about it! Does this clown think that forcing people to be instructed how to think or forcing 9th graders to take “ethnic” studies will change things? It will do THE OPPOSITE! Human nature is just that and it surpasses this guys little crappy philosophy.

  9. Hey Tony… Stop falsely teaching our children that there is rampant racism everywhere. When you tell them that racism is the fault of white people, it shames the white children and gives students of color an excuse to slack off and not try harder to compete. Stop wasting money on this PC crap. Shame on you!

    • Raise your kids in such a way that if some idiot teacher tries to “shame them” because they are white, teach them to return the favor in spades. Our kids have been taking martial arts instruction since they were 6. Just let some try to get funny with them and they are in for a bi surprise.

  10. Just who is this joker? What gives him the right to dictate to people how to act and think? If someone encounters bigotry and racism, they learn how to deal with it. If this country were ETHNOCENTRIC like the Founding Fathers decreed, then we wouldn’t have any of these silly-assed problems!

    Wouldn’t you know it, looks like that super-ass Scott Wiener has thrown his hat into the ring along with the other super left-wingers (Leyva, Chiu, Gonzalez and Limon) came along for the ride! Guess what, you jerks! It won’t work!

  11. More divisive rhetoric. Systemic racism is the biggest lie the democrats push. Down the with DEMS…TRUMP 2020

  12. Good luck to Thurmond and the gang! I’m sure they will get far forcing people to change their views, but you have to give them credit for trying!

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