Submitted by Brian Flick
For community members who were unable to attend the August 19th school board meeting I share my abridged comments. Please recall that the Superintendent was directed May 20th because of community and Trustee concerns to brief details and answer questions surrounding the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place For Hate (NPFH) program.
Since the May 20th school board meeting the community has learned the following facts:
1) NPFH is based on Critical Theory tenets.
2) NPFH is designed to foster social activism and social justice among students.
3) NPFH’s definition of racism is “the marginalization and or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.”
4) NPFH teaches that kids need to be careful not to “misgender” their peers. It encourages teachers to ask students what their gender pronouns are, to present articles and videos on this topic, and to correct students when they don’t use their peers’ chosen pronoun.
5) The requirements for participating and receiving the NPFH designation means de jure the District has adopted NPFH curriculum.
6) Lastly, we learned that NPFH is about politics and what to think; three examples from lesson plans available on their website: 1) Students will identify three visions for police change: reform, transform, or abolish; 2) Students will learn about Georgia’s new “restrictive” voting law and plan actions they can take to influence corporations to take a stand about social justice issues; and 3) Students will consider the concept of equity and analyze how the vaccinations should be prioritized and disseminated.
I also believe it would be helpful to remind everyone what was said by the Trustees and the Superintendent during the May 20 school board meeting.
Niamh Foley admitted that ADL NPFH Education Consultants had to approve activities.
Trustee Antrim said “I applaud the program. I have reviewed the materials, and I have not seen anything other than encouraging kindness and things that we all instill in our children.” She stated that only partisan people think that the ADL is partisan.
The Board President said, “I am not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater.” He said we need to vet it better and expressed concern that it may be bleeding into the classroom. Trustee Valdez-Clayton said that the program had not been briefed to the Trustees.
Does the community believe it is wise for CUSD to keep our kids hyper-focused on their differences, tell them that those differences determine their identity, and suggest that identity dictates if they are a member of the oppressed or an oppressor group?