Senate Bill 5044 mandated training for school staff in cultural competency, diversity, equity, and inclusion in order to dismantle institutional racism in the public school system.
School directors will receive training for them at a later date.
The first training for staff in equity took place on August 31, 2021 between 8:00 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. The District offices were closed so that all could attend the training.
Director Berg attended the staff training and the remainder of this section constitutes his observations and comments on the training.
Overall, the training was positive and useful for the staff, and ultimately, the students. The emphasis was on recognizing individual students and their specific needs. Comments from the staff were diverse and reflected their commitment to assess and address the needs of individual students individually in their personal and academic achievement.
The Educational Equity definition used in the training was limited to the issue of race, and issues of sex, gender, religion, poverty, etc. were barely mentioned throughout the training. The equity definition used was:
Racial equity is the condition that would be achieved if one's racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and this we also include work to address root causes of inequities, not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or that fail to eliminate.
This differs from the Equity Statement of the Washington School Directors' Association (WSSDA), which reads:
Equity is foundational to the work of WSSDA. Educational equity can only exist when a student’s level of opportunity and achievement cannot be predicted based on race, characteristics, or circumstances. Therefore, we must identify and eliminate any discriminatory practices and prejudices within our state’s public education system.
Both of these equity definitions focus on equity of outcomes and not equity of opportunity. Compare the SKSD policy on equity, OE-16, which is "committed to every student having the opportunity to reach their full potential".
Mr. Bernardo Ruiz, Racing To Equity co-founder, CEO, and Co-Principal Consultant, of Seattle was the training moderator.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) was not specifically taught, although there were some influences of CRT in the training. The training facilitator, Mr. Ruiz, appeared to endorse many components of CTR, and used the term "capitalism enslavement of peoples". (Communism has enslaved many times more people in the past century that capitalism.) Mr. Ruiz also "disagreed 100%" with one teacher's comment who stated that fatherless homes were a major cause of problems with student achievement.
There was no mention of some of the more deleterious components attributed to CRT, such as expecting white students to apologize for their whiteness or collective and historical guilt, nor dividing students into groups of oppressors or oppressed.
Copyright © 2021, 2022 John R. Berg - All Rights Reserved.