For-profit

Our Transformation of Education

Location:

California

Type:

Consultancy

Principal Consulate:

R. Tolteka Cuauhtin

Our Transformation of Education is a consulting firm based in California that provides critical race theory-aligned “antiracism” services founded by left-of-center activist and academic R. Tolteka Cuauhtin. Tolteka Cuauhtin is best known for her work as co-chair of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) advisory committee, an 18-person group charged with advising on the development of a new ethnic studies curriculum to be recommended to California schools.

Background

In 2021, R. Tolteka Cuauhtin served as co-chair of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) advisory committee, an 18-person group charged with advising on the development of a new ethnic studies curriculum to be recommended to California schools. In March of that year, following an extensive drafting process, the state of California approved a curriculum. However, many of the individuals involved in the curriculum’s drafting, including Cuauhtin, took issue with it. To that end, he and other former committee members formed the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Institute (also known simply as Liberated) in an effort to develop a better curriculum and offer training sessions to California teachers. During this period, Cuauhtin also formed his own educational consulting firm, Our Transformation of Education. [1] [2] [3]

Activities

In the summer of 2021, the Salina Union High School District hired Our Transformation of Education to assist it in developing its own ethnic studies program. According to a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations, the firm would render its services during the course of the 2021-2022 academic year in two stages. The first stage would involve identifying appropriate teachers to teach the program’s sections, clarifying the program’s “Scope and sequence,” and developing a new ethnic studies course reader, which would include examples relating to “indigeneity and active ancestral roots,” “coloniality, dehumanization, and genocide,” “hegemony and normalization,” and “transformative resistance and regeneration.” The second stage would involve co-designing a two-day professional development workshop for staff. [4]

The cost of the services to be rendered by the firm are estimated in the memorandum to be $6,000 for four hours of “co-facilitation with educators” and $7,500 for two days of “professional learning,” totaling $13,500. [5]

Controversy

Tolteka Cuauhtin co-authored a book titled Rethinking Ethnic Studies with activists Miguel Zavala, Christine Sleeter, and Wayne Au in 2019. In March 2021, Chuauhtin was serving as co-chair of the advisory committee for the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. Some of his recommendations as well as material from his book cited throughout the proposed curriculum became the subject of controversy. Notably, a report in the right-leaning City Journal discusses Cuauhtin’s claim that the United States was founded on a “Eurocentric, white supremacist (racist, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous), capitalist (classist), patriarchal (sexist and misogynistic), heteropatriarchal (homophobic), and anthropocentric paradigm brought from Europe.” [6] [7] [8]

Additionally, the report discusses the proposed curriculum’s religious aspects. For instance, one portion of the proposed curriculum recommends that teachers lead their students in the singing of songs and chants, such as the “In Lak Ech Affirmation,” a stylized appeal to various Aztec deities, particularly Tezkatlipoka, Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli, and Xipe Totek — the traditional cults of which employed human sacrifices. [9] [10] [11]

R. Tolteka Cuauhtin

Tolteka Cuauhtin is the founder of Our Transformation of Education. He is also a teacher, governing council vice-chair, and advisory lead for social justice humanities at Cesar Chavez Learning Academies, a group of four independent high schools in Los Angeles located on a single campus; the Coordinator of Statewide Curricular Advocacy for the Ethnic Studies Now Coalition; and the Chair of the education committee for San Fernando Pasek’va Indigenous Peoples Day. Additionally, Cuauhtin is a member of the California Teachers Association and the Stanford Instructional Leadership Corps. [12] [13]

References

  1.  Stutman, Gabe. “‘Liberated’ educators implement their own ethnic studies programs.” The Jewish News of Northern California. July 15, 2021. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://www.jweekly.com/2021/07/15/liberated-educators-implement-their-own-ethnic-studies-programs/. ^
  2. “Memorandum of Understanding Between Our Transformation of Education, R. Tolteka Cuauhtin and Salinas Union High School District for facilitating professional development for Ethnic Studies.” Salinas Union High School District. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/salinas/Board.nsf/files/C43NQB60D781/$file/Our%20Transformation%20of%20Education%20MOU%20.pdf. ^
  3. “Our Transformation of Education.” Parents Defending Education. Accessed January 3, 2022. ^
  4. “Memorandum of Understanding Between Our Transformation of Education, R. Tolteka Cuauhtin and Salinas Union High School District for facilitating professional development for Ethnic Studies.” Salinas Union High School District. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/salinas/Board.nsf/files/C43NQB60D781/$file/Our%20Transformation%20of%20Education%20MOU%20.pdf. ^
  5.  [1]“Memorandum of Understanding Between Our Transformation of Education, R. Tolteka Cuauhtin and Salinas Union High School District for facilitating professional development for Ethnic Studies.” Salinas Union High School District. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/salinas/Board.nsf/files/C43NQB60D781/$file/Our%20Transformation%20of%20Education%20MOU%20.pdf. ^
  6. Rufo, Christopher. “Revenge of the Gods.” City Journal. March 10, 2021. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://www.city-journal.org/calif-ethnic-studies-curriculum-accuses-christianity-of-theocide. ^
  7. Rufo, Christopher. “Revenge of the Gods.” City Journal. March 10, 2021. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://www.city-journal.org/calif-ethnic-studies-curriculum-accuses-christianity-of-theocide. ^
  8. Rethinking Ethnic Studies. Rethinking Schools. January 29, 2019. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://rethinkingschools.org/books/rethinking-ethnic-studies/. ^
  9.  Rufo, Christopher. “Revenge of the Gods.” City Journal. March 10, 2021. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://www.city-journal.org/calif-ethnic-studies-curriculum-accuses-christianity-of-theocide. ^
  10. Rufo, Christopher. “Revenge of the Gods.” City Journal. March 10, 2021. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://www.city-journal.org/calif-ethnic-studies-curriculum-accuses-christianity-of-theocide. ^
  11. Rethinking Ethnic Studies. Rethinking Schools. January 29, 2019. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://rethinkingschools.org/books/rethinking-ethnic-studies/. ^
  12. “R. Tolteka Cuauhtin.” Pukuu Cultural Community Services. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://www.pukuu.org/team/r-tolteka-cuauhtin/. ^
  13. Welcome to Cesar E. Chavez.” Los Angeles Unified School District. Accessed January 3, 2022. https://ccla-lausd-ca.schoolloop.com/. ^
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