Buffalo Public Schools has a 169-page document explaining how it is using ESSER funds from the 2021 school year through 2024. Under a section titled “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” in the document, the school district discusses training teachers “on anti-racism, culturally and linguistically responsive practices, eradicating disproportionality, and implementation of the 1619 Project and the Emancipation Curriculum.”
The ESSER Relief Funding has the powerful potential to equalize programming and resources in schools and provide our brilliant scholars with some of the most profound social emotional, instructional, and equitable supports, like we have never seen before.” . — Buffalo Public Schools
The plan includes the open implementation of Critical Race Theory (CRT). The district explains in the document that ESSER funding will help bring in “enhanced culturally and linguistically responsive scholar programming.” This includes “college credit bearing programs (partner with local colleges to bring college courses to the students; especially those courses that focus on diverse history and culture and critical race theory).” The document also features a statement from the former executive director of the “Council of the Great City Schools.” This statement appears to further support the implementation of CRT into public schools.
In this letter, he explains: “While the arc of history may bend toward justice, the unfolding story of social change is often a series of fits and starts, a steady volley of progress and pushback.” He then states that “the pushback was inevitable, and it has come in the form of opposition to the teaching of critical race theory.” He then appears to explain that a refusal to teach CRT is “indoctrination.” He states:
Education, by definition, should equip us with all the facts and information we need to form our own opinions and perspective. All the facts, not some of the facts. Not just the facts that make us proud. Otherwise, it is just indoctrination.
The Council of the Great City Schools’ website explains that the organization “brings together 77 of nation’s largest urban public school systems in a coalition dedicated to the improvement of education for children in the inner cities.” The organization continues to explain: “The Council keeps the nation’s lawmakers, the media, and the public informed about the progress and problems in big-city schools. The organization does this through legislation, communications, research, and technical assistance.”
The Buffalo Schools’ website promotes a “Scholars for Social Justice (SSJ) Program” that consists of eleventh and twelfth grade students. The district explains that students in this program “engage in literature on critical race theory and discuss tenets of youth social justice advocacy.” The district explains that students in the program will read Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You from known political activists Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. The district further explains:
Scholars are currently taking an indepth look at the definitions of racism and anti-racism and their impact upon Buffalo teens. Using their own experiences and experiences they have witnessed as a starting point for courageous dialogues, scholars are discussing such themes as racism: past and present, microaggressions, and uplift suasion. The Scholars for Social Justice are also looking at how social media can lead to social activism and language that can be used to inspire and create social change.
The school district additionally has a page online titled “Recommended Reading and Videos.” One article listed as a resource is titled “5 keys to critical race theory’s benefits for all students.” The article explains that “educators must remind resistant parents that the central goal of education is to provide the student with a critical understanding of the world in which they live.” The article then explains further that “an uncritical racial education promises to continue the long history of racial oppression and violent strife that has plagued our country since its inauguration.”