What is Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium?
Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium (LESMC) is an ethnic studies consultant group whose vision is to “promote the advancement and implementation of well designed [sic] Ethnic Studies courses and programs for the purpose of advancing students’ achievement, educational equity, community activist scholarship, and community leadership skills.”
The organization seeks to achieve this vision by collaborating with “educators, school districts, and teacher preparation programs,” providing the “best learning practices for a standardized Ethnic Studies programs,” and act as a resource for “professional development.”
Schools and students are influenced directly by LESMC’s:
- Teacher trainings
- Curriculum development
- Lesson planning
The History of LESMC
Following the removal of specific topics and materials from the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, members of the committee broke off to form their own consortium to continue to advocate for the liberated version of ethnic studies.
In February 2021, Guadalupe Yanez Carrasco Cardona filed for Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium to become a 501c (3) corporation with the state of California. Cardona, a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, is an elected Board of Directors member of the local teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), a speaker at the National Education Association’s (national teachers’ union) 2022 Leadership Conference, and praxis chair for The Association of Raza Educators Los Angeles chapter.
The consortium is also led by Theresa Montaño, a college professor who has served as a National Education Association board director, president of the National Council for Higher Education, and as vice-president of the California Teachers Association.
Other members of the consultant group include schoolteachers, professors, and school district administrators from around California.
Critical Race Theory
LESMC advocates for the integration of Critical Race Theory (CRT) into ethnic studies. “Critical Race Theory is one of the many theoretical lenses used in Ethnic Studies.” LESMC continues, stating that since “Ethnic Studies is an anti-racist project, students are encouraged to develop counter-stories or counter-narratives to the dominant voices in traditional curriculum.”
The foundation of LESMC’s ethnic studies includes the “Seven C’s” guiding principles. These principles are “embedded in all LESMC lesson plans and units.”
The Seven C’s:
- Cultivate empathy, community actualization, cultural perpetuity, self-worth, self-determination, and the holistic well-being of all participants, especially Native peoples and people of color.
- Celebrate and honor Native peoples of the land and communities of color by providing a space to share their stories of struggle and resistance, along with their cultural wealth.
- Center and place high value on pre-colonial, ancestral, indigenous, diasporic, familial, and marginalized knowledge.
- Critique empire and its relationship to white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, and cisheteropatriarchy.
- Challenge imperialist/colonial hegemonic beliefs and practices on the ideological, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized levels. These are often referred to as the “Four I’s of Oppression.”
- Connect ourselves to past and contemporary resistance movements that struggle for social justice on the global and local levels.
- Conceptualize, imagine, and build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance, critical hope, and radical healing.
LESMC provides several services to school districts, faculty and staff. Services include:
- The Anti-racist Culturally Responsive Institute focuses on “theoretical and applied research and pedagogy that assists school communities in establishing anti-racist and culturally responsive school climates.” The two-day institutes emphasize understanding “levels and forms of racism,” “manifestations of white supremacy,” and “defining and challenging racial micro/macroaggressions.” The institute also features participants designing a “process for challenging systemic structural racism and white supremacy culture in schools.”
- The Year-long Ethnic Studies District Advisement & Implementation Track has the LESMC faculty working with districts and schools to “establish develop [sic] a program and process for the implementation of ethnic studies.” The LESMC faculty also offer a “’layering’ method to infuse ethnic studies pedagogy into core content courses.”
- The Ethnic Studies Professional Learning Institute “will help develop teacher capacity for the implementation of Ethnic Studies” in the school district.
LESMC offers model curriculum resources through their website including lessons such as “What is Normal?” for PK-2, “How Does Normalization Dehumanize?” for grades 3-6, and “Questioning Common Sense: Hegemony & Normalization” for grades 7-12.”