Parents at an elite New York school are upset.
In late December, I covered the antiracist efforts of faculty at the Dalton School.
A group of staff made 24 demands.
- Commit to racial equity in leveled courses by 2023; at that time, if membership and performance of Black students are not at parity with non-Black students, leveled courses should be abolished.
- Convene a committee of students, alumni, parents, and faculty to audit progress and develop new suggestions to supplement these measures by 2023. At least half of the committee participants should be Black.
- All faculty, staff, administration, Parent Association volunteers, and trustees should undergo yearly anti-racist training.
- Administrators, faculty, and staff should produce individual public anti-racism statements. Faculty should also include anti-racist resources for each class they teach. Each department/grade level should publish its DEI-related efforts in an annual report.
- Hire a staff member outside of the DEI office whose entire role is to support Black students and students of color who come forward with complaints and/or face disciplinary action.
- Offer a special orientation session for incoming students and families of underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds. Provide anti-racist orientations for all families on a yearly basis.
Going forward, any Black student or student of color who appears in Dalton’s promotional materials should receive reduced tuition, or be retroactively compensated the equivalent amount if they graduate before their likeness is used.
Well, select moms and dads have put together a response.
As stated by The Washington Free Beacon, they’ve got a “‘loving concern’ over [Dalton’s] ‘abandonment’ of liberal-arts education in favor of an ‘antiracist curriculum.’”
They want the school to ditch its lessons of critical race theory and go back to its previous curriculum.
Additionally desired: a survey of parents, kids, and alumni about the antiracist efforts.
From the open letter:
Love of learning and teaching is now being abandoned in favor of an “anti-racist curriculum.” Every class this year has had an obsessive focus on race and identity, “racist cop” reenactments in science, “de-centering whiteness” in art class, learning about white supremacy and sexuality in health class. Wildly age-inappropriate, many of these classes feel more akin to a Zoom corporate sensitivity training than to Dalton’s intellectually engaging curriculum.
The Free Beacon notes Dalton’s racial justice revolution followed “months of racial unrest.”
“Dozens of…particularly expensive, private institutions,” it pointed out, responded with new lessons for kiddos claiming “laws and society in the United States are inherently racist.”
For elementary and middle schoolers, $54,000-per-year Dalton employed “racial literacy curricula.”
Additionally, it started what the Beacon calls “identity-based student-orientation programs.”
Therefore, the letter insists, Inclusion Not Accomplished:
Many of us do not feel welcome at Dalton any more. That really hurts to write. This ideology is extremely exclusionary to those families (perhaps a majority of the Dalton community) who don’t identify as part of an oversimplified racial dichotomy in a beautiful and diverse world, or those who choose not to make their racial identity the centerpiece of their family life or their children’s education.
To be clear, we abhor racism. We celebrate Dalton’s diversity and its inclusive environment, and we believe in better outcomes for Black Americans. Diversity is the best thing to happen to Dalton in the last twenty years. We, too, have been inspired by the tragic events of last summer and are taking action in our own ways to make a difference. We totally understand the administration’s desire to do something. We simply object to “anti-racism” on philosophical, ethical and pedagogical grounds, and we support other ways to oppose racism and teach children to become thoughtful and empathetic people. In our view, these recent curricular changes achieve precisely the opposite results as intended.
It seems to me we’re progressively becoming a culture that’s slave to trends.
Remember #MeToo? Gun-slingling celebrities were tweeting like it was going out of style.
And as it turned out, it was.
Now, from those same individuals: Not a patriarchy-pummeling peep.
They’re already onto the hipper cause.
We seem to be swaying in the breeze, and far with each blow of the wind.
That’s not a put-down of any issue worth addressing.
But the movements seem to be coming increasingly swiftly, with changes made in a moment and then society moving on.
Recently, the education system’s be reworked.
Will those changes last? What will be their impact?
One thing seems certain, however it may be aptly applied: If you divide people, you’re going to end up with division.
How does that fit into “One nation, under God?”
I guess, in the coming years, we’ll see.
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