“Teaching While White” and Pacific Education Group’s “Beyond Diversity” to be featured professional development courses for area teachers
New Trier will offer a professional development course titled “Teaching While White” and Pacific Education Group’s “Beyond Diversity” in February and March.
The courses have been opened up to teachers in feeder districts such as Wilmette District 39 as well. D39 will also offer other courses to its teachers titled “Exploring Identity,” which will cover the CRT-inspired theory of intersectionality, and “Thinking Critically About Race: An Introduction” for those who are newer to critical race theory-inspired training sessions.
For course descriptions click here.
“Teaching While White” will feature a discussion of “why being "colorblind" is not a solution, what language is appropriate to use, how stereotypes influence everyone, and how we can be more conscious of our own biases in the classroom to ensure we are effective teachers for all students.”
We would be interested to know if this course covers MLK. Jr’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” where he said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Furthermore, we wonder if they will mention that the study of bias has come under scrutiny. The most well-known test to determine implicit biases has been found to have little value, especially in predicting discriminatory behavior.
“Beyond Diversity” is a two-day course where “Participants engage in a thoughtful, compassionate exploration of race and racism and grapple with how each influences the culture and climate of our school.”
Evanston D65’s Beyond Diversity training, which all faculty and staff were required to attend several years ago, introduced teachers to ideas and terms such as “critical race theory,” “anti-racism,” “equity,” “racial consciousness,” “white fragility,” “systemic racism,” and a “white privilege survey,” along with aspects of “white culture” that include apparently inappropriate values such as “self reliance,” “hard work,” “nuclear family,” “objective, rational, linear thinking,” “adherence to rigid time [schedules]” and “delayed gratification” (pictured below). This training is now moving north to the New Trier area.
Diversity training that centers around problem solving has been shown to add real value to organizations. However, the type of training profiled above either does not work or, even worse, can backfire.
On the topic of race, time would be better spent reading speeches by MLK, Jr., or any number of current black public figures – or how about a book group comparing Shelby Steele’s “White Guilt” vs Ibram Kendi’s “How to be an Anti-Racist?” – instead of paying consultants from a multi-billion dollar industry to conduct divisive sessions that view people exclusively through the prism of race rather than as valuable, diverse, multifaceted and unique individuals.