It’s really hard to be a teacher these days. What, with all of the ever-increasing rules and regulations, teaching to the test, jumping through political correctness hoops, and being told how to do your job by various political figures and special interest groups, it’s a wonder anyone goes for a teaching degree anymore. The “No Child Left Behind” fiasco is a prime example of the failure of test-driven accountability policies. The federal government believed an unproven but ambitious belief that if we test children and hold teachers responsible for improving test scores, we would have almost everyone scoring as “proficient” by 2014. Thus, we would achieve “equality.” Obviously, this approach has not worked. Now it seems that teachers have another hurdle to jump, especially white teachers.
It seems that Minnesota is taking their white teachers to task for one particular reason-being white. EAG News reported on Thursday that the St. Paul Public School District has spent a substantial sum since last spring to Pacific Educational Group, a San Francisco-based company that conducts “white privilege” teacher education courses. According to the district’s website, there is a section entitled Courageous Conversation Protocol. It is part of the Pacific Educational Group (PEG), and is recommended reading for all SPPS staff. One of the six conditions for this program is to “Examine the presence and role of “Whiteness.”
A teacher, who is remaining anonymous, claims a photograph was shown during one of these training sessions. The picture showed a white hooded KKK member and the caption read, “When do you wear the hood?” Teachers in St. Paul Public Schools have been subjected to mandatory “equity” training involving examining “the presence and role of ‘Whiteness’” and the detrimental impact it supposedly has on minority students. The slide was used in one such training session at Bruce Vento Elementary during a staff meeting. The source states that the school principal put the picture up on a projector and “asked the staff to sit in silence and reflect on it for 3 to 4 minutes.” Another anonymous source stated, “This picture — and the idea that it would be helpful in some way — is totally unbelievable.”
All of the critics of this indoctrination or instruction-depending on viewpoint-are not white. Aaron Benner is a black fourth-grade teacher who has been working in the St. Paul, Minnesota school district for 14 years. Wednesday Education News reports Brenner has watched that insane philosophy take root in his district and make a bad situation even worse. He also states that violent, unruly behavior is at an all-time high, to the point where it’s difficult for teachers to instruct or children to learn because black students are frequently not held accountable for their actions, Brenner blames the district’s three-year-old contractual relationship with the Pacific Educational Group.
According to Brenner, PEG teaches that black kids frequently lag behind academically because lessons are taught in white cultural terms they don’t understand. PEG also teaches that black kids get into a disproportionate amount of trouble because school officials don’t understand their cultural norms. PEG’s answer is for educators to adjust their academic and behavioral expectations of black students, stop suspending or expelling them for bad behavior, and literally roll with the punches. But Benner, who is black, says PEG is pedaling dangerous nonsense that’s ruining the schools and destroying the chances of black children gaining the discipline and structure they need to succeed in life.
“It’s so comical. PEG says shouting out in class is a black cultural norm, and being on time is a white cultural thing. It’s so demeaning, so condescending to black kids. If a white person were making claims like this, black people would be in an uproar.
Thursday Benner says he was targeted by the St. Paul school district after speaking out about the lack of discipline.
Remember last year when the Obama administration issued new school discipline policies based on the concern that students of color are “disproportionately impacted” by suspensions and expulsions? There was an incident in Portland, Oregon, where millions of dollars have been spent on restorative justice and “courageous conversations about race.” A black high school student repeatedly punched his white teacher in the face, sending her to the emergency room. Subsequently, the teacher was reportedly counseled by the assistant principal not to press charges against the student, and was “lectured … about how hard it is for young black men to overcome a criminal record.” Additionally, the teacher said, according to the Willamette Week, the administrator told her to examine what role she, “as a white woman” with white privilege bias, played in her own attack.
According to PEG, white culture is based on “white individualism” or “white traits” like “rugged individualism,” “adherence to rigid time schedules,” “plan(ning) for the future,” and the idea that “hard work is the key to success.” Minority students shouldn’t be expected to subscribe to those values because they are foreign to their culture, according to PEG.
Juan Williams, a black professional, journalist and author said earlier this month, “The tradition of black Americans throughout history is one that values the opportunity for education.” Willaims added, “That includes being on time and working hard in school.”
Allen West says it well, “Folks, it’s way past time to take back our schools, our school boards, and the training and educating of our children.”