by Guy Page
The Essex-Westford School Board voted 8-1 last night adopted its Equity Policy, after hearing one-minute testimonies by both supporters and critics.
The policy will be the foundation for a curriculum that would underscore historical inequities as a basis for promoting educational and social policies of ‘equity’ – equal outcomes for all races and sexual and gender identities – rather than the Constitutionally-protected civil rights and equality of opportunity.
For example, the second sentence of the approved Equity policy reads: “This nation would not have evolved as it has without the genocide of the indigenous people, nor would the economic infrastructure exist as it does without the enslavement of native African people and their descendants.” To redress this historic wrong, the equity policy promises to “inform curriculum decisions, including anti-racist education and LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual+).”
The policy introduces terms new to many parents. The definitions provided at first glance seem to be contradictory – for example, “anti-racist” and “culturally agile”.
Anti-racist: An anti-racist is someone who is supporting an antiracist policy, practices and behaviors through their actions by expressing and acting on ideas that counteract racism and systemic racism. This includes the expression of ideas that racial groups are equals and do not need developing.
Culturally agile: A dual consciousness that understands one’s own culture and cultural assumptions as well as a basic understanding of cross-cultural differences and the ability to adapt or modify one’s behavior to effectively relate to and value culturally diverse others as equal to their own.
To be anti-racist is to affirm that other racial groups “do not need developing.” Does this mean that white people do not need to “develop” in their awareness of their status as oppressors? Is it anti-racist for a member of one race to constructively point out potential areas of cultural, economic, and educational development to a member, or group of members, of another race?
Similar questions were raised in a recent letter by Essex resident Ron Lawrence to the School Board:
“I implore you to slow down in your implementation of this Equity Policy. It is a policy that is dangerously unmeasurable and without limit to the authority to implement. But you seem to simply brush aside the voices expressing concern about this policy. I have to ask, what on Earth is driving you to implement this program so quickly—especially given the opposition that has only recently become apparent?
Superintendent Beth Cobb has said that this program has not been implemented in the schools. Yet, I participated in the special meeting on Monday, June 7th. During that meeting, children of all ages spoke—every one of them in favor of the Equity program. Kudos to those chlldren for their ability to participate and to speak up. But, I’m afraid that the singularity of their messages tells me that this program is already well underway.
The presentation by Xusanna Davis was troubling—to say the least. In her own words, it was her job to depress the audience. Kids really are going home depressed and ashamed of their heritage. Furthermore, the story has been twisted. I am completely onboard with presenting an accurate history; bur for all the talk about this, what has been conveyed seems far from accurate.”
Essex community leaders in opposition to the equity policy say they will continue to fight the policy, which they believe pits racial groups against each other in a victim-oppressor roles. “Passing the policy is just the beginning, the procedure for execution will be next and curriculum will follow. They will lose steam as they got the policy passed, we have persistence and need to keep pushing back,” one parent said.
The one Essex school board member who voted No, Liz Cady, will speak at a Rutland event tonight. Vermonters for Vermont Initiative (V4V) tonight Wednesday June 16 at 6:30 pm will host a public Townhall Informational on public school’s teaching of Critical Race Theory, better known as equity, in the the classroom.
V4V is a organization started in December 2018 to educate all Vermonters on the dangers of Progressives & Democratic public policy plans.
Tonight, six speakers will take to the stage in the Vermont Building at the Vermont State Fairgrounds in Rutland for two hours to discuss their experience and knowledge of Critical Race Theory. All of the speakers have direct experiences with the public school teachings and with the introduction of CRT with our children. CRT is also being introduced in many of our public institutions and some businesses.
Proponents claims that it does not harm children, that CRT teaches equity to one another. Opponents argue that CRT is destroying our children and making them think as racist, and pitting race and ethnic groups against each other.
It’s been around since the 1970’s, being taught in many colleges across the nation and it comes from the writings of Marxists.
Speaker for the evening are:
– Todd Filmore; MRUHS Parent Group Member.
– John Klar; VT. Liberty Network.
– Michael Lannon; Public School Teacher.
– Tricia O’Connor; Rutland City Schoolboard Member.
– Rep. Arthur Peterson; R-Rutland 5-2
The event will be facilitated by Gregory Thayer, “Vermonters for Vermont” Initiative. V4V ask that you enter the Vermont State Fairgrounds at the Park Street gates by the Rail Road Tracks across from the Vermont Railways on Park Street.