Letter: Identifying and addressing inherently divisive concepts in our own school system

For the editor:

On January 15, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin issued Executive Order 1 of 2022, which ended the use of inherently divisive concepts, including critical race theory, and restored excellence in the K-12 public education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Executive Order 1 directed the Superintendent of Public Instruction to begin the work of identifying and addressing inherently divisive concepts – including “critical race theory and its offspring” – in public education. He defined “inherently divisive concepts” as meaning “the advancement of any idea in violation of Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”.

Specifically, Executive Order 1 required SOPI to identify policies, programs, training, or curricula that fall within the definition of divisional concepts. I respectfully submit this interim report to you and the citizens of Virginia.

On February 23, the Virginia Department of Education released its interim report and took action to reverse certain policies, programs, and resources that promote discriminatory and divisive concepts, as outlined in Executive Order 1. The report also contained a sample of criticism based on race theory. materials.

The preliminary report also noted that concepts have spread to the Virginia Department of Education and Virginia school divisions that they will need to proactively review policies, practices, and pedagogies in the state to make abide by the Civil Rights Act and comply with Executive Order 1.

So what does this have to do with Grosse Pointe?

Well, many of the actionable problems found in the Commonwealth of Virginia’s initial report are also present in our local school system.

The first example provided in the Virginia Department of Education report highlights the adaptation of the basic tenets of anti-racist education. Grosse Pointe Public Schools saw these same anti-racism principles embraced by the school board‘s “Racism Resolution” in August 2020, and by documents presented by the Council for Racial Equity and Inclusion in their presentation. to the school board in October. 2020 and September 2021.

Another example identified in the Virginia Department of Education report was the shift in school culture from excellence and opportunity toward equitable outcomes for all students.

The Grosse Pointe Schools 2022-2024 Strategic Plan clearly shows a shift within the district from an approach based on “excellence in education” to one based on “equity of outcomes”. The Grosse Pointe Schools Strategic Plan is completely devoid of any reference to academic excellence and is instead filled with an equity-based approach to education.

Finally, the Virginia Department of Education report reversed guidelines that focused on building an equitable culture to address learning loss caused by COVID-19 and school closures. Virginia’s previous administration had created “equity checkpoints.”

The statements of most concern were such as “equity in education is achieved when we eliminate the predictability of student outcomes”.

Grosse Pointe’s 2022-2024 Strategic Plan contains this same type of language, including the goal “to allocate resources as the district continues to navigate healing and recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic and of reconfiguration”.

In other words, they will attempt to spend district funds to fix the problems they themselves created by closing two elementary schools and keeping our school buildings closed for over a year while private schools and parish halls were open during COVID.

The time has come for the residents of Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods to demand more of our school district administrators and school boards. A return to “educational excellence” must begin now.

Terrence Collins

Grosse Pointe Park

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