This year has seen enough wokefulness to last a lifetime. Since March, we’ve been told that if we don’t wear our masks, we’ll be killing grandmothers. In May, Black Lives Matter retaliated against the murder of George Floyd with riots, looting, and taking over city blocks, while law enforcement was ordered to stand by. From defunding the police to de-prioritizing whites for the COVID vaccinations, the move to end systemic racism has affected every facet of our nation, and in some cases simply substituted one human inequality for another. Education has been on the front line. But one school may be taking things a little too far, and some New York parents, who pay a whopping $54,000-a-year tuition, are threatening to remove their children.
Faculty at the Dalton School in Manhattan decided to get on board the woke train and make its school experience more inclusive, in hopes of stamping out any form of racism. The very progressive Dalton already had been under fire from parents fed up with paying high fees, especially when their children are not in school during the pandemic, even though many surrounding schools have returned to in-classroom teaching. Then a controversial plan to improve the lives of black students and faculty was presented, leaving many parents threatening to pull their kids from the institution.
Dalton teachers are boycotting work until their list of demands is met. While some are not unreasonable, others could be considered racist against white students.
Collect and publish data regarding race and discipline (including suspensions):
According to faculty who signed off, “Research suggests that schools tend to discipline Black students more often than their non-Black peers and that race, gender, and class are all linked to likelihood and severity of punishment.” To counteract this, the school suggests publishing historical data to determine what role race has played in its disciplinary practices.
Collect and publish data regarding race, grades, retention, and graduation rates:
This item encompasses a few agendas. One suggests that grading procedures can be considered racial discrimination because “Black students and students of color at Dalton must perform under more challenging conditions than their white peers.” Examples include police violence and, of course, being subjected to racism on campus. The school also wants to review all vendor and third-party contracts to ensure that as many black-owned businesses as possible are being used, partly because “Black-owned businesses tend to employ more Black people than their white-owned counterparts.”
Publish endowment investment portfolio and divest from several industries:
This calls for divesting from:
“private prisons and detention centers, companies that manufacture technology, equipment or weapons for police; companies that use prison labor; the bail-bond industry, and other companies as determined by a committee of students, faculty, parents, and trustees.”
Furthermore, “[i]n alignment with the Movement for Black Lives, Dalton should immediately divest from the ‘criminalizing, caging, and harming of Black people’” and “ensure that its financial resources do not contribute to ongoing dehumanization and harming of Black people.” One might ask the question: Is it okay for white people to serve time in prison for crimes they committed, but not those with darker skin?
And the list continues:
- Hiring of 12 full-time diversity officers, plus an additional full-time employee whose “entire role is to support Black students who come forward with complaints.”
- Hiring of multiple psychologists with “specialization in the psychological issues affecting ethnic minority populations.”
- Paying off student debt of incoming black faculty.
- Eliminating AP courses if black students don’t score as high as whites.
- Requiring courses on “Black liberation.”
- Mandating diversity plot lines in school plays.
- Overhauling the entire curriculum to reflect diversity narratives.
Another item — reduced tuition for black students whose photographs appear in school promotional material — doesn’t indicate whether white students also receive the same benefit. The faculty list did, however, say, “Just as Dalton compensates staff and faculty for the value they create for the school, it should similarly compensate Black students and students of color.”
While eliminating racial discrimination is important, so is equality – equality for all. Reverse racism seems to be happening too frequently in a misguided attempt to level the racial playing field. Some of the demands may be understandable, but others could be seen as prejudicial against white students. Paying off the debt of black teachers but not that of whites is one example. Likewise, compensating those of a certain race for contributing to promotional material but not others.
Stung by parents expressing unhappiness over hefty tuition for home-schooling and a list of faculty demands that heavily favor one race, Dalton officials responded in a statement that they do “not support all the language or actions it contains.” It proclaimed that:
“Dalton’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism is grounded in our deep appreciation for the dignity of all community members, an understanding of differing life backgrounds, empathy for one another, and the ability to engage and listen with respect across differences.”
Some parents might consider Dalton’s latest moves not the pursuit of equity but the allotment of reparations.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.
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