On Monday, July 17, the Talbot County Board of Education hosted an "Equity Training" led by a group called "Challenging Racism.” This group is a 501c3 non-profit based out of northern Virginia, which conducts these trainings throughout the Mid-Atlantic area. Their website can be found here at challengingracism.org
“Challenging Racism” charged the Talbot County Public Schools $2500 for the Monday night training. Dawn Kyser, one of their lead trainers, has worked for a controversial group named “Courageous Conversations.”
That group is a part of the Pacific Education Group, which received $500,000 from Talbot County Public Schools over an 8-year period before their contract ran out toward the end of Dr. Kelly Griffith's tenure as Talbot County Superintendent.
Has that expense led to great strides in improving the students’ test scores, especially those of minority students? No, in fact, test scores have declined.
Nevertheless, this training has now been expanded to Talbot County School Board members, and after Monday, it sounds as if this training may be further implemented if some have their way.
According to sources, this training was held so that Board members would "get to know each other better,” although board members have been working together since January.
Seemingly, the race consultant industry has figured out that their leadership may find it somewhat difficult these days to just call out white school board members and their staff for their "inherent racism." Hence, it has implemented a softened “social” approach of “get to know each other better.”
Taxpayers’ monies are being used to listen to two consultants encourage board members to answer questions in discussions with each other.
Suffice it to say that the consultants of this non-profit do not seem all that bright.
Kyser referred to the trainings as a “safe space” and stated that their comments would remain "private."
The training was live streamed for starters.
Then she recommended the book, So You Want to Talk About Race.
She told the participants that they would have to "lean into" their discomfort - a popular buzz phrase with equity consultants. Other buzz phrases she used included: intersectionality, lens of racism and privilege, micro-aggression and the "power" wheel.
Then a video entitled, "What it is like to be left-handed in a right handed world" was shown. The video showed how left handed people have to do things differently from right handed people. Apparently, this was to provide a comparison to how people from different groups must fight against being "different." Kyser noted that left-handed people would have difficulty playing baseball and left-handed baseball gloves were more expensive.
That's when ignorance clearly had permeated the room.
For those of us who follow baseball, and tune in to the World Series annually, obviously, Kyser and her team have never heard of the left-hand baseball giants of all time - namely, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial and Babe Ruth, for starters.
After that, the participants had to name one area of privilege they have. In general, they included: ability, education, citizenship, college degree, home owner, geographic location, and reliable transportation.
The rest of the session consisted of small break-out sessions and the consultants handed out questions and then walked around the room, bringing the participants back together to share.
That was all for $2500 of taxpayers' monies for a 2 1/2 hour drive to Talbot County.
And, of course, the Board lawyer was required to be in attendance.
After you watch the video, you may want to send your thoughts on this training to the Talbot School Board and the Talbot County Council, which just funded the school's budget above the maintenance of effort.
Your vote put them all in office.
They decide how to spend your money.
At least one County Council member, Dave Stepp, who was in attendance, has stated he is extremely unhappy about the expense of this training and plans on addressing it with the County Council and School Board.
Easton Gazette invites the public to add their comments in our comment page because near the end of the tape, it sounds as if the School Board training may be expanded to students and teachers. So, consider if you want more union input affecting Talbot students and their families.
These consultants claim at the end, "Your students are our students."
A discussion about how close to a "power wheel" which was discussed may be of interest to some, but is this really how a School Board should be spending their time and public funds when reading, writing, arithmetic, and American history students' test scores are tanking?
If New Age "power wheel" discussion at School Boards replace concern for basic education, perhaps, we need to rethink the definition of education.
This is a link to the livestream video:
School Board emails are below:
County Council emails are below:
Christine Dolan is Senior Editor and Chief Investigative Correspondent of CDM. She is a seasoned investigative journalist and television producer. She is the Founder of American Conversations, the former Spokesperson for the 1990 USA Nelson Mandela Tour. She has worked at four networks, was the Political Director at CNN, has covered three wars and investigated human trafficking in 140 counties for nearly a quarter of a century.