Concerned community members provided Parents Defending Education with invoices between the Manchester Essex Regional School District and controversial organizations that were received through public records requests. The school district made several payments to the notoriously political organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The district paid the ADL over $11,000 for services, according to the documents:
- On August 8, 2018, the district paid the ADL $750 for “Peer Training Summer Institute for Educators.”
- On January 8, 2019, the district paid the ADL $5,000 for “Peer to Peer Program Training.”
- On April 27, 2020, the district paid the ADL $5,500 for “Peer to Peer Training.”
The payments appeared to be for services from the ADL’s “A World of Difference Institute.” The ADL’s website appears to show that these programs include training teachers in “anti-bias” teaching methods and in “becoming an ally.”
The invoices also show that the district paid the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence at least $30,000 for services regarding the implementation of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence’s website states: “We provide training to educational leaders, teachers, and school staff to support the systemic implementation of SEL (social and emotional learning) and foster those skills in all stakeholders in these communities, including in families and out-of-school time.”
The school district also had three invoices with an organization labeled as “Culture7coaching.” The invoices were for a total of $27,000. Services included “developing leadership team cultural competence plan” and “bringing cultural competence to life in the classroom.” The phrase “cultural competence” is often used to describe a method of teaching that includes the race and ethnicity of students as part of the lessons taught in classrooms.