Wednesday, February 18, 2015

NC principals, teachers lectured about ‘white privilege’ during cultural proficiency training


CARY, N.C. – Principals and assistant principals in North Carolina’s largest school district are receiving training in “cultural proficiency” as means of countering systemic oppression of minority students.

“I don’t know if we dwell on the fact that different people come from different levels of oppression,” Rodney Trice, the district’s assistant superintendent of equity affairs, told The State. “Our focus is that when they come through the doors, we have high expectations for all students, regardless of whether they come from a high-poverty family or a nontraditional family.”
Trice discussed the cultural proficiency training and other student equity initiatives he’s planning to implement at a school board retreat last weekend. The cultural proficiency training started last month with principals and assistant principals, who were assigned the book “Cultural Proficiency: A Manual For School Leaders” and required to take survey on “privilege and entitlement,” according to ABC 11.
That survey asked school leaders to rank their societal power on a scale of one through five with statements including “I can easily buy dolls and toys featuring people who look like me,” “I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in rather than isolated, out of place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared,” and “I can be sure that if I need legal help my ethnicity will not work against me.”
“It’s a training that incorporates the idea that heterosexual white men in America benefit from a system of privilege and entitlement while other groups have been victims of systemic oppression,” The State reports.
The cultural proficiency training is part of a longer six-day training session centered on the district’s Effective Teaching Framework that school leaders are expected to share with 10,000 teachers this fall, according to theNews Observer.
“It’s not casting blame, but recognizing the inherent privilege that comes with being a heterosexual white man,” school board member Monika Johnson-Hostler told the news site.
“What we’re trying to communicate is how important it is to know the lens through which these children in their classroom look, so that when you’re teaching you can take into consideration those things,” Ruth Steidinger, Wake’s director of academic support told the school board, according to The State.
But critics like Terry Stoops, director of education research for the John Locke Foundation, don’t believe the cultural proficiency training is necessary.

“I don’t know of any teacher that I’ve ever encountered who believed that some kids can’t learn,” Stoops said, according to ABC 11. “If there are teachers who have that belief, they should perhaps change their profession.”
Criticisms over the cultural proficiency training comes just a week after school officials fielded concerns from parents about two books assigned to fourth-graders that seem to support white privilege theory while also glorifying violence and pushing liberal themes.
The Cary News reported last week that parents were outraged when about 30 fourth-graders were assigned “One Crazy Summer” and “Esperanza Rising,” which discuss issues like the Black Panthers, police brutality, and immigration that some believe is inappropriate for youngsters.
“Kids in the fourth grade need to be taught things about creativity that drive that love of reading,” Campus Reform editor Caleb Bonham told Fox News. “And the way to do that are more encouraging texts, not texts that are discussing police brutality and the evil racism that is America.”
Many parents and taxpayers who read about the district’s new cultural proficiency training online were clearly not impressed.
“And they waste our tax money on this?” John Smith questioned on the ABC 11 site.
“This is so outlandishly absurd I don’t even know where to begin,” Shannon Allen added.
“’PC’ has morphed into ‘CP,’” Scots_Irishman noted.
David Brook wrote on the News Observer site that he believes the white privilege training could result in the opposite of its intended effect.
“We have to go beyond deciding every half century or more what ethic group or gender needs to be held down (on the basis of ancestry and birth) to achieve a perfect society. The school system’s stereotypical ideology behind ‘white privilege’ and its more specific form of white male privilege can quickly become a Pandora’s Box of injustice and conflict,” he wrote.
“Bear in mind that, despite their ‘privilege,’ whites (about half of whom are male) still constitute the greatest number of people in poverty in the US and in North Carolina. Indeed, many of them are poor, ill, impaired, unemployed, and abused. History shows us the downside from blanket classifications of people according to their ancestry over which they have no control.
“Let’s not let pathological altruism lead us to repeat the same mistake again.”


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