Editor’s note: This excerpt is from a letter delivered to the Peninsula School Board Aug. 26 signed by about 400 district residents. PSD school board resolution No. 21-28 can be found at www.psd401.net.
As concerned citizens of the Peninsula School District, we are alarmed by the board’s passage of resolution No. 21-28 without public comment at its July 22 meeting, “Regarding State-Mandated Training for Staff and School Board,” which addressed the diversity, equity and inclusion training called for in Senate Bill 5044.
This resolution suggests the board is catering to partisan political pressure instead of standing up for the best educational practices our students and teachers deserve.
The board’s vague wording places our teachers and school staff in a position where any diversity, equity or inclusion resource they bring into the classroom could be attacked as a part of Critical Race Theory, an academic concept bogusly targeted by a national campaign of propagandists to whip up fear that learning about our nation’s history of racial injustice is “reverse racism” and teaches white students they personally are “oppressors.”
The resolution, which included language directly echoing anti-CRT talking points, sadly gives oxygen to the anti-CRT fringe in our community, which is very vocal but does not represent the majority of our community.
Meanwhile, the resolution failed to provide any clear definitions or endorse any resources for use by PSD teachers.
Let us be clear: Of course, no teacher should teach white students they are personally responsible for injustices perpetrated by their ancestors. But all students do need to be taught about the centuries-old systems of racial oppression in our history that continue to create injustice and inequality today. We are confident that our teachers — with the kind of diversity and equity training that Senate Bill 5044 supports — can teach our nation’s history in a responsible and sensitive way.
The board should put the needs of our students first and not let political fear-mongering censor our teachers or curriculum.
James M. Albrecht, Meredith Browand, Thelma Brown, Lynn Jabs, Lisa Marcus, Jill Neumeister, Joy Stanford, Allison Sutcliffe, Barb Turecky
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