California has spent up to $500 million on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in its local government, K-12 school districts, and higher education in the years between 2020 and 2022, according to a report from a nonprofit watchdog group.
The Center for Organizational Research and Education (CORE) researches activist groups to report on their “funding, agendas, and tactics.”
“In recent years, the concept of critical race theory and its variants—often camouflaged as more generic ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ (DEI) activities, has entered the national spotlight, and infiltrated publicly-funded entities,” CORE said.
The analysis summarizes the results of 400 public record requests sent to state and local governments, and higher education and K-12 institutions in California, CORE said.
“The results are unmistakable: spending related to DEI and critical race theory-framed activities is a vast and growing component of taxpayer-funded spending at all levels of California government,” CORE stated.
DEI has become its own $1 billion industry funded by taxpayer dollars, CORE said.
“Based on the responsive documents our team received, we calculated at least $188 million directly linked DEI spending, and $308 million more in adjacent spending, totaling nearly $500 million in possible DEI spending in California,” CORE said in its report.
The total DEI represents 46 percent of requests for public records of DEI spending sent out, CORE said, with less than 11 percent of institutions responding that they had no records related to the request.
“Considering roughly 40 percent of our requests are still unfulfilled, we expect the true amount is much higher,” CORE said. “Our findings are proof that critical race theory and DEI are a vast and growing part of the California government.”
Anti-Racism in the Department of Conservation
CORE points to the Department of Conservation, which, “despite experiencing some of its worst-recorded forest fires and water shortages,” the department spent $180,000 of its environmental budget on including critical race theory in its training.
“This included nearly $88,000 in training geared toward critical race theory and racial equity themes from contractors well connected within the state of California,” CORE said. “In a set of emails obtained through the records request, the Department of Conservation staff discuss the purchase of over $9,000 worth of Ibram X. Kendi’s book, ‘How to be Anti-Racist,’ specifically to be handed out to staff including ‘Supervising’ and ‘Senior’ oil and gas engineers in the Department’s Geologic Energy Management Division.”
“It is unclear whether reading Kendi helped the engineers tackle California’s power shortages that summer,” CORE said.
Tapping into the Office of Workplace Equality’s $906,000 budget, the Department of Water Resources spent over $414,000 toward DEI goals, which included a full-time DEI staff person who earned $171,747 in salary.
“The department also conducted various anti-racism training sessions totaling $53,000 over the two-year span,” CORE said.
Bias Training in Local Governments, Universities and Colleges, and K-12 Schools
On a local level, CORE said DEI-related spending activities totaled $110 million in county governments and nearly $90 million in city governments, creating a “layered cost for taxpayers.”
Twenty-three of California’s public colleges and universities accounted for almost $103 million in DEI-related spending, the report found.
CORE reported that a total of $36 million in DEI spending accounts for the 16 schools that responded.
“DEI experts—funded by taxpayer dollars—also seem particularly focused on turning schools into laboratories for progressive viewpoints,” CORE said.
‘California’s Newest Billion-Dollar Industry’
Both Fox News and the Daily Caller initially reported on CORE’s analysis of spending.
A spokesperson for Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom told The Daily Caller, “Unlike some states that aim to ‘both-sides’ the Holocaust or erase slavery from history books, in California, we do it differently. We’re proud to be the most diverse state in America—we don’t just tolerate that diversity, we celebrate it. So instead of engaging in clickbait culture wars, we’re going to stay focused on educational excellence and economic growth.”
The argument for critical race theory is often that it’s teaching real history, while those who would have critical race theory removed are trying to “whitewash” history; however, there’s been no evidence of any public school attempting to erase entire sections of its curriculum on slavery.
“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is becoming California’s newest billion-dollar industry—on the taxpayer’s dime,” CORE lead researcher Will Coggin told Fox News Digital.
“It’s everywhere from kindergarten in the classrooms to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Instead of effectively addressing issues like housing, crime, or homelessness, California officials have chosen to line the pockets of well-connected diversity consultants,” Coggin said.
Reporting by The Epoch Times.