Recently Equity and CRT have been hot topics at Wilson. It has been a topic of discussion in school board meetings, committee meetings, administration meetings, and around the community.
And the only thing our community can agree on is that we do NOT agree on this topic.
When taking a step back and researching how did we get here, it is hard to understand the logic of why we are so focused on this, outside of feelings and a few stories. While those are important factors, we all know that when it comes to making a shift or change, we need facts, data, and input.
And Wilson has yet to provide ANY of that.
At the Wilson Equity Forum, Dr. Faidley stated several times that equity at Wilson is NOT CRT. Many throughout the community continue to argue and yell that Equity is not CRT.
So why do some still feel it is?
Maybe it is because actions speak louder than words, and the Equity Task Force has not been acting in accordance with these words.
So how did we get here? Let’s take a look…
The Equity Task Force started as the Student Support Services Committee. The original formation of this committee was to fill a gap of the “students in the middle”. This committee was to help those students who didn’t do school well, but did not qualify for special needs. They were to answer the question, what could be done to help them? Pretty noble and a great goal in our books.
According to Dr. Kennedy the committee met once and told stories, shared ideas, and soon after this meeting they decided to change the name to Equity. She states that CRT was NEVER discussed.
While we appreciate Dr. Kennedy’s explanation, the Chair of the Committee Ms. Kasper stated the opposite at the same board meeting. She stated that she had no idea how much racism she experienced in high school until she graduated and read a book in college that opened her eyes. She then referred to the work they have completed around race and the materials they were using as guides in this process. This is where the disconnect started to open up many of our eyes. If you look at the Equity Task Force Agendas, they are riddled with books, articles, and references to CRT based agendas. The guidebook that Ms. Kasper is using is based on CRT Theories. The Gorski article, Avoiding Racial, written by an author that prides himself as being a CRT expert. When you research these items referenced they all boast they have ties to CRT.
On the Agendas (see below) you will see the recommended and required reading and discussion items that were being offered were all about race and written by authors who support CRT. One such article from the October 7th, 2020 Meeting, “United Front on Education” promotes an “Our House, Our Rules”, where administration and teachers have to have each others backs, which is great and they should. But it also states that the school is “their house” and its “their rules” and the parents and the community have no say. In this meeting we also see that our school has joined the Berks County Equity Committee.
Add to this the recent release of their Equity Promotional Video where they held student led focus groups talking about racism. The reckless decision to have students lead these conversations is for another blog post, but know that ANY certification in Diversity, Inclusion, or Equity takes 100’s of hours to achieve. And if it does not, you should question the validity of that certification.
In addition to ALL of this we also consistently see Black Lives Matter appear in our school’s curriculum, book fairs, bulletin boards, and more. Black Lives Matter openly admits to being an extreme political group that supports Critical Race Theory. It is also important to note that it is against school code for the school to support or promote any political group.
And this is just a few. So while Dr. Kennedy tries to assure everyone that CRT is NOT in Equity, the actions of the committee and committee members support CRT and they refuse to disconnect from it.
Not only has the Equity Task Force Committee members refused to disconnect from CRT, many on our school board also refuse to disconnect as well.
The question is why?
We ALL know you can have equity without a focus on CRT. We all agree that Equity is so much more than CRT. We also know that the word Equity is dividing the community.
So why did only one board member (Nigrini) offer up a resolution to denounce CRT? Why did only one board member (Martin) ask that we have neutrality training of our teachers so we can have real, honest debates without knowing where the teacher stands and without influencing our students. (This goal would also achieve teaching our students the ability to have a civilized discussion and critical thinking skills.)
Why isn’t everyone on our board promoting this?
Why haven’t they decided to regroup, rethink, and re-strategize how to do this. Starting with a REAL needs assessment of what does our community actually want and need? What is the REAL struggle within our community.
Our students say their needs are NOT CRT, it was right there in their promotional video, our teachers do not want CRT, MANY in our community do not want this, and our Administration has said it has no place in our schools.
So why is it that some of our board members are pushing this so hard?
Why not stop, think, and regroup? Why not listen? Why are we pushing this so hard?
Makes you wonder…..
And this is where many of us in the community are at.
We are wondering, what is going on?
Why isn’t our board stepping up, rolling up their sleeves, and coming up with real answers and solutions?
That question continues to go unanswered and THAT is why you see so many at our board meetings speaking out. So many parents speaking out on social media, emails to the board, etc.
These parents are not the racists that the Pro-CRT Community members would have you believe. They are parents like you and me, they are the volunteers, they are on the PTO/A’s, they are your kid’s coaches, they are parents that are so passionate about doing what is best for ALL students that they are willing to take time out of their VERY busy lives to try to make change. They are fighting to stop these agendas that have NOTHING to do with our kids.
If the school had done an unbiased needs assessment that included questions around all needs of the school, and sent it to everyone, this conversation would be different. If they actually shared results of the survey, then worked on what is the meaning behind these answers, they would absolutely have the community’s support.
But, they didn’t…and for some reason…they wont.
And the big question is why?
BLOG REFERENCES AND RESOURCES:
It is VERY important to note that while we have SO much more information on these topics and more, we know that it is important to vet information. We do not post or reference anything until we have evidence, conversations, etc. If you want more information on our process, please reach out. Thanks!
Board Meeting Videos:
Wilson School Board Meeting 8/2/21
Dr. Kennedy Speaking about the formation of the Equity Committee: around 1:34:01
Wilson School Board Meeting 9/7/21
Board meeting where Nigrini and Martin offered up Solutions (starts around 1:08:03)
Equity Agenda’s referenced:
*We have also reached out to the School Board for answers on all questions posed in the blog post above. We will let you know if we get a response. *