Who Needs a Summit on Racism? Students or Administrators?
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Students in metro St. Louis attended students a race summit on Wednesday according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
For most of the day Wednesday, about 350 students from 33 high schools continued work they set out to tackle more than a year ago at the first Gateway2Change summit — addressing segregation, institutionalized racism, privilege and bias in their classrooms and throughout the St. Louis region.
It was the third time they had met this school year. They spoke by Skype with the director of education at the King Center, Vonnetta West, about King’s philosophy of nonviolent protest, and the many ways they could bring about change within and beyond their high schools.
“This is the generation that is in the midst of another civil rights movement,” West told them. Their generation, she added, will determine “what civil and human rights look like across the globe for the next 100 years.”
The summit is sponsored by Gateway2Change from EducationPlus, a non-governmental organization (NGO) formerly known as Cooperating School District, and is funded by tax dollars from school districts. It describes itself as a school district cooperative and as of 2015, counted 62 school districts as members. You can find its blog here and its programs/services to member districts. EducationPlus is a supporter of Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and has many presenters available for character education programming.
According to EducationPlus, this is the goal of the summits:
The theme of this first Gateway2change event of the 2015-16 school year is “Activating Hope” and student participants reflected on their values and self-perception. Using design thinking, compassionate communication and “empathy and hope” interviews students worked together to increase their understanding of different perspectives on race and relationships.
Those design thinking, compassionate communication and “empathy and hope” interviews might be financially lucrative for Microsoft:
Earlier in the winter, several student leaders of Gateway2Change traveled to Rochester, N.Y., where students are working to duplicate the model.At one point, the group connected with Rochester students by Skype. A representative from Microsoft sat among the students, doing research for a potential app that would serve as a social media tool to help bridge racial divides.
The head of the Hazelwood School District is under fire after posting what some parents call racially charged remarks on social media.
It comes after more than a month of tense budget discussions over cuts.
Dr. Ingrid Clark-Jackson has been the interim superintendent since 2015. On March 2 she posted on her personal Facebook page, referring to the hate group the KKK.
The post was in response to a former student who offered to support her amidst a budget crisis and calls for her resignation.
“I appreciate all the support. That is what gets me through the day knowing that y’all will come to shut these KKKowards down!!!” the post from Dr. Ingrid Clark Jackson said.
Read more here on the district’s response defending the superintendent’s right to post her own personal opinions on her personal Facebook page.
Who really has a specific political platform and hidden agendas? It is time to examine these character education programs, race summits, privilege, design thinking, compassionate communication, etc and read the curriculum students are following and insist administrators/bureaucrats learn the same information. If administrators and bureaucrats cannot practice what they are allegedly expecting students to follow, it’s a waste of school funding. It may not be the attitudes, behaviors and beliefs of students that we should be focusing on, it’s the political platform and agenda of those in the system who wish to marginalize those who disagree with the bureaucrats. Maybe Microsoft can develop an app to make school district administrators financially responsible instead of accusing those who disagree with them on fiscal matters as racists.
Or maybe educators could teach the opening graphic every day which creates empowerment of character rather than victimization techniques. If students and adults alike embrace these techniques, it would be cheaper than paying for race summits, doesn’t require internet, and might just create more healing in the long run.