Questionable Curriculum: Germantown School District

*** Warning: Graphic language ***

Despite Superintendent’s Denial, Critical Race Theory Is Found in Teacher Training and Other Materials

June 21, 2021

By MacIver staff

This is the next entry in the MacIver Institute’s Questionable Curriculum series, an ongoing investigation of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and its use in K12 schools and education statewide.

As MacIver Previously reported, Critical Race Theory preaches that the United States was founded on racism, became the prosperous nation that we are today because of that racism, and that our country, even today, is fundamentally defined by our racism. . Racism is found in everything we do and everything we don’t do, according to the CRT and its practitioners.

The CRT takes the founding principles of this country such as equality, excellence and equal protection before the law and replaces them with the communist ideal of fairness, that is to say that every American, whatever whether his abilities, his work ethic or his moral fiber, should terminate until the same result is obtained.

When we asked our readers for tips and examples of critical breed theory from their local schools, we were overwhelmed with the responses we received. This next article in the series highlights the Germantown School District and how CRT is showing up in classrooms and district teacher development programs.

Germantown School District

Germantown Schools Superintendent Brett Stousland insisted that critical race theory is not present in the school district except for two electives offered in high school. In a letter to parents dated April 29, 2021, Stousland said: “Currently, the CRT is presented as a theory in only two high school electives; AP Literature and Composition and Critical Thinking and Writing. CRT is one of many critical theories students are exposed to in these courses.

According to Christopher Rufo, director of the Critical Race Theory Initiative at the Manhattan Institute, said, “There are a series of euphemisms used by his supporters to describe critical race theory, including” equity ”,“ social justice ”,“ diversity and inclusion, ”and“ culturally appropriate education. ” Critical race theorists, masters of language construction, realize that “neo-Marxism would be hard to sell.”

So even though the educational institution categorically declares “we do not teach critical race theory,” they often teach critical race theory to their teachers and students under a different name.

Through a FOIA request from a parent group in the district, we can confirm that critical breed theory is more prevalent in the district than Stousland suggests. In fact, the very next day after Superintendent Stousland assured parents that the CRT was “presented as a theory in fair two high school electives “, many Germantown teachers attended a” Cultural Responsiveness “seminar on April 30, 2021 that studied books like Me and white supremacy and culturally and language appropriate education.

During this seminar, the discussion focused on how racism is “a system involving cultural messages and institutional policies and practices that work to the advantage of whites and to the detriment of people of color”, “Why Do whites who are advantaged by racism want to put an end to this system of advantages? and “What is it about the curriculum and the culture of academic opportunities within the school that reinforces the idea that academic excellence is a largely white field?” “

Here are some examples of the white supremacist culture covered in this teacher seminar:

  • “Pushing students to work independently or to write before verbal processing”, which “can lead to stress and isolation”
  • “Superficially speed up content or discourage interruptions for questions”

According to the discussion guide, teachers should examine their actions “to see if they further harm students of color, rob them of their power and create a psychologically hostile learning environment.”

A key player in promoting critical breed theory, or one of the alternative names of CRT, in the Germantown school district appears to be Brenda O’Brien, the director of teaching and learning for the district. According to the Department of Education’s salary database, Principal O’Brien received a salary of $ 123,500, plus an additional $ 40,319 in benefits, during the 2020-2021 school year.

In October 2020, O’Brien contacted Linetta Davis (Linetta Alexander Islam) of Ubuntu Research & Education, a “Fostering Research-Based Accountability to Create a Fair World” group. In her bio on the Ubuntu website, Davis states that she chose to work for the company “Because fuck White Supremacy in education.” I spent 15 years teaching despite this. Now the rest of my life will be spent tearing that shit down! “

It appears that Germantown schools were planning to work with Ubuntu to host a workshop for a teacher training day on March 12, 2021. O’Brien said in a subsequent email that the workshop was designed to “identify and find out. multiple identities and how they intersect, become aware of those who may be excluded from advocacy in schools, challenge barriers and create solutions using an intersectional framework.

The intersectionality workshop as offered by Ubuntu Research for the in-service teacher would have cost $ 3,500. However, the district did not sign the contract and enter into a formal project relationship with Ubuntu.

Instead, at the teacher on duty on March 12, 2021, the staff discussed the book Me and my white supremacy. The book encourages “people with the privilege of white to examine their racist thoughts and behavior. [It] guides readers through a journey to understand their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) from inflicting harm on blacks, aboriginals and people of color, and in turn , help other whites to do better too. “

The “self-reflection” questions that teachers should answer after reading the book include:

  1. In what ways do you hold white privilege? Make a list of the different ways you have white privilege in your personal life.
  2. What have you learned about your white privilege that has positive experiences? Could have caused harm to others? Make you uncomfortable?
  3. Author Robin DiAngelo conceives of white fragility as a “state in which even a minimum of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a series of defensive movements”. How does your white fragility show up in conversations about race? Do you fight, freeze or flee?
  4. Think back to your life, from your childhood to your current situation. In what ways have you consciously or unconsciously believed that you are better than BIPOC? According to the author – “Don’t hide it. This is the crux of white supremacy. Own.”

While the Cultural Sensitivity Seminar was optional, 42 district teachers registered to attend. The ultimate goal of the discussion was to “create ‘building level action plans’ around improving the school experience through different lenses – policies, procedures, disciplinary practices, etc.”

This content was provided specifically to teachers, but it is clear that the purpose of the discussion was for educators to take what they learned back to the classroom.

It seems like Me and my white supremacy wasn’t the only racist book pushed on district staff in recent months. A document found via an open registration request showed discussions of staff browsing the books Why Are All Black Children Sitting in the Cafeteria Together ?, Culturally Appropriate Teaching and Brain, and Culture-appropriate teaching and linguistics were also used for staff discussions in April 2021. Each discussion featured self-reflection and group discussion questions similar to those presented in the teacher training. The context in which these books were brought up is not clear, and whether or not these discussions were required by the district.

This isn’t the first time that parents in Germantown have had reason to worry about critical race theory and similar divisional principles infiltrating their school district.

In an October email to staff members, Germantown Schools Teaching and Learning Director Brenda O’Brien provided teachers with a list of “social justice»Books for their classes. The provided website contains hundreds of awakening books aimed at elementary school students on topics such as activism and organization, early childhood anti-prejudice, LGBTQ +, and white identity.

Social Justice Books Website

According to O’Brien’s email, if teachers find a book they want, tell him “if you want to add titles to align them with the topics of your curriculum.” She also advises staff on how to teach social justice to their students. By teaching elementary kids to be activists and organize, it seems like CRT is deeply embedded in everything you do as a school district and from an early age. Despite what the Superintendent of Germantown claims, the CRT program is certainly not limited to two high school classes.

The MacIver Institute will continue to update this entry and others as more information becomes available.

Questionable Curriculum: Critical Race Theory (et al) in Wisconsin – A Continuing Series

If you have any other classroom CRT tips or examples that warrant investigation, please contact us at: [email protected]

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About Brian Steele

Brian Steele

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