Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) regarding the district’s 2023 “Racial Equity Institute” conference for staff.
In one document that PDE received back titled “Culturally Responsive Teaching for MSD Students,” there is an “Intersectionality Wheel of Privilege” that is supposedly “observed in the USA.” Examples of holding “power” include people being “Christian,” “white,” “cisgender man,” “monogamous marriage,” and “salaried.” Examples of “marginalized” include “unemployed,” “undocumented,” and “infinitifat, superfat, largefat, midfat.”
One presentation given to staff is titled “Confronting White Supremacy Culture in K-12 School Spaces.” A goal of the presentation was to “analyze how and specifically where white supremacy still appears in JCPS Systems and in JCPS schools.” Participants are also told to “be comfortable with discomfort.” The following definition is then provided for “Privilege/White Privilege”:
A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.” A definition for “white supremacy” is “the social, economic, and political systems that collectively enable white people to maintain power over people of other races.
The presentation also has a “Wheel of Power/Privilege” that attempts to argue that illegal immigrants and people who identify as transgender are “marginalized.” Meanwhile, people who are “slim” and “white” have “power.”
To combat “individualism” which is used as an example of “White Supremacy Culture,” the presentation tells participants to “think and act collectively.”
Another document is a presentation titled “Dismantling Racism in Math Education” dated July 23, 2023. The presentation teaches that “math was for the elite” and is part of “elitism.” The presentation then has a list of “White Supremacy Characteristics.” These include “perfectionism,” “sense of urgency,” and “individualism.”
Another presentation is titled “Supporting LGBTQ+ Students.” Topics included “why are pronouns important,” “how can teachers incorporate preferred pronouns in their classrooms,” and “how can schools normalize the use of preferred pronouns.” The presentation also promotes “Rainbow Clubs” that are described as “a version of GSAs for elementary schools.” The presentation also specifically promotes a “drag queen story time” for October 10, 2023.
Another document is titled “Racial Equity Walkthrough: Sample Feedback.” This document provides examples and discussions for implementing racial equity into the school district. In one consideration, the document asks: “How might class materials be vetted for bias, stereotype, or surface-level representations of people and events?”
PDE also received a document titled “The Affirming Racial Equity Tool.” This document states that a goal is to change the curriculum taught to students: “Racial Equity Policy Expectation #1: Curriculum materials accurately reflect the contributions and history of non-White cultures in 80 percent of the school.” Teachers must also be “aware of their own internal biases and how those biases impact students’ achievement and engagement in their classroom.”
One document that PDE received was a presentation called “Black Joy and Engagement: Acceleration Through the Arts” from the principal of Shelby Academy. The presentation states that racial equity ideology will be implemented into the curriculum taught to students. The principal’s presentation states:
Rigorous, engaging, standards-based learning experiences that appeal to students’ culture and interests increase student academic efficacy and increase and sustain positive student outcomes!
Another presentation is titled “Celebrate Diversity” and also discusses implementing racial equity into the curriculum by “creating awareness of the diverse racial identities in the school and increasing cultural competence.” The phrase “cultural competence” often includes implementing the race and ethnicity of students into the lessons taught in classrooms. The presentation also states that there is a “safe space provided.”