Jan Greenhawk, Editor, Easton Gazette
Are Maryland schools adding another consultant group to promote racism in the quest to eradicate racism? The handout above shows that they are. It's from a group called "Cancelling Racism" and it is on the table for consideration by different school systems. Notice the last entry in the second column. Sources tell us that there are systems in the state considering hiring this group to help with staff training.
This is a case of deja vu.
During the last couple of years before I retired from teaching, I was working in a local high school after having spent several years in the Central Office. In my time in Central Office, I was on several committees created to address the issue of the achievement gap between minority and majority students.
These committees never accomplished much other than bemoaning a problem while never actually addressing it. We did TRY different approaches including staff training and tons of research about the topic. Minority achievement stayed flat.
Around 2007, I returned to teaching at our local high school. My fellow teachers and I were subjected to a long line of "anti-racism" sessions that were supposed to make us better at dealing with minority students and thus help their achievement. We were told to "unpack our whiteness," "admit our racism," and realize that our whiteness was the main problem keeping minority students from achieving.
We were told to ignore if minority students were late to class, that it was their culture to disregard time and be late. We were told to get rid of deadlines for assignments, excuse poor behavior or language, set lower standards for minority students. These were suggestions based on racial and ethnic stereotypes many of us found offensive, especially my minority colleagues. In particular, it offended me because I never saw these tendencies portrayed by all members of any particular ethnic group. It was truly racism being spouted by consultants accusing others of racism.
I made it through two sessions of the nonsense before they politely told me I no longer needed to attend. Even though my success rate with students of many different ethnic and socio-economic groups was excellent, I was a "bad influence" on other teachers. I taught students as individuals, not members of "groups" and said so. That was not a message they approved of.
I didn't wonder why. I knew why. The people in charge of my district, mainly the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent, didn't want me, someone who might point out the fallacies of the training, participating in a training that would eventually cost the district roughly $500,000 over 7 years. It was with a group called "Courageous Conversations" created and managed by the Pacific Education Group.
That group has since disappeared off the national scene. They have morphed into other groups and sent their trainers out into the world to continue the scam with a "train the trainers "model. One of these trainers is part of this group called "challenging racism."
This is her BIO:
" (Name Removed) has been involved in the work of Challenging Racism for more than 15 years. She was Lead Curriculum Writer and Facilitator for the Arlington County Discussions on Race and Equity Project begun in 2020, and Team Lead for the Montgomery County Thrive 2050 discussions about historic inequity in housing. As a teacher in the Arlington Public Schools, she was in the first cohort of trained facilitators moderating Courageous Conversation for teachers and staff in schools across the county. Since 2015, Dawn has facilitated Challenging Racism classes including the first CR Faith based group. She has been a facilitator and resource lead in Challenging Racism Teacher Education for Ford’s Theatre’s production of Twelve Angry Men 2018 and Fences in 2019.
Many don't realize these "anti-racist" training businesses are making millions of dollars a year; even those listed as having 501c3 status. Perpetuating the lie that systemic racism is perpetrated mainly by privileged White people is big business:
The Challenging Racism website lists its annual income as greater than $5 million. That is a pittance when compared to some of the big players in the "anti-racism" space. Challenging Racism makes millions while working mainly in three states. Does that money go to staff salaries? With five staff members, that's a pretty hefty income for each.
They are not alone among the people making millions off public and private schools in this country.
One of the authors of many of the training books and regimens used in groups such as Challenging Racism is Robin DiAngelo, a white liberal woman who declared herself an expert on teaching black children. She has made quite a living off of this self-proclaimed expertise:
She is just one of many. She is named in the following article along with Ibram X. Kendhi as leaders in the oppression promoting cult. Author John McWhorter points this out in his latest book. NPR actually interviewed him for his viewpoint:
And, John Stossel points out the hypocrisy of a movement that promotes racism while supposedly fighting racism:
Why do school systems keep promoting this scam?
Certainly, some are convinced that providing anti-racism training is actually helping their students achieve more academically. A look at recent test scores in Maryland counties proves otherwise:
Educators will blame poor test scores on the Covid pandemic. However, if the obsession on educating children strictly as members of racial/ethnic groups was improving student achievement, we should have seen much more growth in those scores before 2020. We haven't. Scores have remained flat or have actually declined.
Yet, the scammers will continue to convince school systems that racism is the core of the issue. They have to if they want to make money.
The latest school improvement program in Maryland, the Blueprint for Maryland's future, requires that systems hire these scammers to satisfy goals of "cultural diversity" and "culturally relevant teaching." If a system doesn't adopt programs the State likes, they can remove funding from the school district. The Blueprint pretends to offer solutions to help student achievement through expensive feel-good programs, but while a few ideas such as programs like "Science of Reading" are promising, others are wasteful and useless. They do nothing but increase local education costs by millions of dollars and impose stifling taxes on communities.
There are better answers for solving the student achievement puzzle.
One solution is to take wasted SEL and CRT time in the school day and during teacher training time and develop teaching skills and strategies that work for all children. Systems need to offer teachers different methods to teach different content. Instead of teachers being trained in fraudulent "culturally responsive teaching," colleges should make sure teachers have a strong background in content. Teachers should be trained in truly scientific and time-tested teaching skills that will help them do a better job. Give them the teaching tools that will actually work with students.
Another solution is to truly commit to the fact that all children can achieve. Maybe not at the same rate or to the identical level in all subjects, but to the best of their abilities. Strip away student, teacher, and parent excuses for lack of achievement, and replace them with support to help students learn. Help students see the value of hard work. Teach students that sometimes you fail when learning, but that failure doesn't stop you. Teach them that obstacles and people will get in their way, but they can work to get past them.
Give children extra tutoring, extra work, etc. so they can truly learn and feel accomplished in their learning. Don't let kids "off the hook" when it comes to deadlines and academic requirements. Be honest with students and set high standards!
I have a friend who runs a group for young women in a local middle school. The group works with the girls through their high school graduation. She teaches them good work habits, job skills, how to dress, speak, use social media responsibly, and act professionally. She brings in mentors to show the students how they became successful. The intent is to assure that the girls leave high school able to achieve even more in society. She doesn't take it easy on these young ladies (some of them minorities and poor), she sets high standards and makes them stick to them. She is a businesswoman and leader in our community.
We need more programs like hers. Her program is a non-profit that doesn't make millions of dollars. It is run by people who care about students and what they can achieve. They follow these students from middle school to graduation, providing a consistency many of them lack in the schooling system.
Most of the people in our schools care about students. They aren't afraid to tell students that there are real problems in our world/country. They aren't afraid of setting standards. But, many of the good teachers who have tried to demand more of their students are often criticized and negatively evaluated by administrators. These teachers often end up out of the profession because of frustration.
There is no doubt that humans have personal prejudices and biases. Teachers, students, administrators, families, etc. all have them. Perhaps the best approach to addressing those is not to look at every issue through the lens of these failings, but to allow all of us to work together and get to know each other so that this changes.
Instead, systems keep asking hate grifters to create bogus answers to the student achievement puzzle. They keep letting them divide and frustrate our young people based on the color of their skin. Districts unknowingly keep the racism industry alive and lucrative. Now they have added the additional divide of gender identity and sexual preference.
Maybe it's time to put these groups out of business and focus on helping our children truly achieve academic and personal success and understanding of people as individuals, not stereotypes.