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Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Who’s Behind the Flood of Anti-CRT Legislation? ALEC. Is Anyone Reading This Surprised?

July 29, 2021 Leave a comment

I’ve written a couple of op ed pieces and several posts on CRT and in reading about the various bills introduced in State legislatures noted that they all had remarkably similar language and suspected that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was involved in this given their participation in the drafting of anti-government bills. Common Dreams investigative reporters Don Wiener and Alex Kotch confirmed those suspicions in a post that appeared in yesterday’s newsletter:

Right-wing politicians have misconstrued the term’s meaning and convinced many of their constituents that teaching an honest history of racism in America is akin to telling white students to hate themselves and their country.

Republican efforts to ban the teaching of the history of racism in public schools picked up steam when the corporate “bill mill” the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) hosted a workshop on December 3, 2020 called “Against Critical Theory’s Onslaught.”

The virtual workshop, part of ALEC’s annual States and Nation Policy Summit, included state legislators, corporate lobbyists, and staff from right-wing policy organizations and private foundations, according to an attendance list obtained and published by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

Described by Wiener and Kotch as “a pay-to-play operation where legislators and corporate lobbyists meet behind closed doors to adopt model legislation that weakens environmental protections, advances anti-union measures, reduces funding for health care, promotes private prisons, and weakens state regulation of corporations“, ALEC had recently backed off of social issues because the corporate donors who were interested most in the deregulation elements of ALEC’s agenda found themselves having to defend some of ALEC’s inherently racist “model legislation” like Stand Your Ground bills.

The article does an excellent job of describing how ALEC wrongly defined CRT, used that false definition to generate animus among the racist legislators who attended their event, and seeded discontent by getting editorials published and– in all probability— provided templates for position papers and op ed articles as well as the bills themselves.

Teachers unions, school board associations, PTAs across the country should The authors should seek the names of any corporate sponsors who attended the workshop on developing anti-CRT legislation and send it to the AFT, NEA, NSBA, and AASA along with a copy of this article highlighting the section that described how corporate sponsors stopped funding ALEC when pressure was applied. I expect each organization might alert their respective constituents of the corporations who attended the event and, in the case of the NEA and AFT, might divest from them. At the same time, a list of ALL corporate sponsors and the addresses of the HQ might be useful as well. When corporations are faced with the reality that they effectively sponsored a KKK rally they might think twice about donating in the future.

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Columbia Teachers College Highlights Another Wasted COVID Opportunity: A Chance to Use American Rescue Funds to Respond to Needs of Black Students

July 28, 2021 Leave a comment

The NYTimes reported yesterday on a study completed by Teachers College at Columbia illustrating the devastating impact of COVID on Black students and underscoring the need for federal funds to be used to address this deficiency.

The opening paragraphs detail the lack of confidence Black Americans have in the government due to the response to the events of January 6, the continuing police brutality, and the seeming tolerance for systemic racism. This information was astonishing but unsurprising. The information on the disproportionate impact  of COVID on the Black community, though, was stunning:

According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, Black Americans are 2.8 times as likely to be hospitalized for Covid-19 as white Americans are, and twice as likely to die from the disease. Black Americans also saw a steeper drop in life expectancy during the pandemic than white Americans did.

Sixty percent of respondents said they lived with an essential or frontline worker who performed a job in unsafe conditions. Nearly one-third of all survey respondents had lost a family member, a friend or a neighbor to Covid-19. About one-third of the survey participants faced job insecurity, and over 50 percent experienced employment status changes, according to the report. The level of loss, along with uncertain pandemic responses, negatively affected the mental health of about 86 percent of participants.

Given that the spotlight on the injustices visited on Blacks intensified at the same time as COVID wracked their communities, given the disproportionate percentage of Blacks who held essential or frontline work, and given the relentless negative reporting on civil rights initiatives like BLM and CRT, why would a Black child be eager to return to school… especially if that school is overcrowded, under-resourced, and dilapidated.

The solution advanced by Columbia Teachers College probably has no chance of passing given the many issues Congress needs to address, but it is a justified and reasonable one:

“For years we’ve talked about reimagining education and reinventing education. And we actually have a window by which we can do that,” Dr. (Sonya Douglass) Horsford (associate professor of education leadership at Columbia’s Teachers College and an author of the report) said.

The report notes that the “separate and unequal” design of schools keeps them “ill-equipped” to teach and take care of 7.7 million Black students at nearly 100,000 public schools in the United States.

In order to rebuild trust, the study’s authors wrote, leaders should begin to view students, parents and educators as “equal partners in education.” The report recommends using funds allocated to schools by the American Rescue Plan — nearly $122 billion — to respond to the academic and mental health needs of Black students.

Some of these solutions include simply investing in school infrastructure and hiring more Black teachers to update school curriculums to better understand Black history in the United States.

“I see the timing as really being great to pose a set of solutions and research-based recommendations that could help local communities — including students and parents and those who are reflected in the study — to put forth a set of recommendations for how those dollars should be spent,” Dr. Horsford said.

I am certain that those who cannot see the need for reparations will view this as a backdoor means of accomplishing that goal and know that many underfunded rural districts need facilities upgrades and improved teaching staffs. But given the higher incidence of COVID in the Black communities and the high percentage of Blacks who helped see us through the pandemic, now would be a good time to make amends and, at the very least, simply invest in the infrastructure and staffing needed in schools serving predominantly Black children.

USA Today Provides Definitions of Contentious Programs SOMETIMES Bundled into “Critical Race Theory” and OFTEN Viewed as “Divisive”

July 23, 2021 Leave a comment

Olivia Krauth’s article USA Today provides a good overview of every contentious program offered in public schools, programs that some close-minded conservative writers bundle together under the banner of “Critical Race Theory”.  She opens her article with a clear, concise definition of “Critical Race Theory”:

Let’s get one definition out of the way first: Critical race theory is an academic framework that examines if, and how, systems and policies perpetuate racism. 

She then proceeds to offer an alphabetical glossary of programs that some school boards find contentious beginning with “Anti-racism” and ending with “White Privilege”. in doing so, she makes it clear that there is a difference and a distinction between Critical Race Theory and each of these other topics. As noted in previous posts, laundry lists have clear limitations… but in this case this list offers a helpful guide to those wondering what “divisive topics” might include…. which may NOT be helpful to those hoping members of the public are not motivated to file complaints in accordance with recently adopted state laws.

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