The Omaha Public Schools used more than $130,000 in federal stimulus dollars to buy each teacher, administrator and staff member a manual on how to become more culturally sensitive.
The book by Virginia education consultants could raise some eyebrows with its viewpoints.
The authors assert that American government and institutions create advantages that “channel wealth and power to white people,” that color-blindness will not end racism and that educators should “take action for social justice.”
The book says that teachers should acknowledge historical systemic oppression in schools, including racism, sexism, homophobia and “ableism,” defined by the authors as discrimination or prejudice against people with disabilities.
The authors argue that public school teachers must raise their cultural awareness to better serve minority students and improve academic achievement.
The Omaha school board approved buying 8,000 copies of the book — one for every employee, including members of the custodial staff — in April. The decision to buy the book was made 11-0, with board member Mary Ellen Drickey passing on the vote.
Janice Garnett, OPS assistant superintendent of human resources, said she could not recall another time that the district had bought copies of the same book to give to every staff member.
Employees will be asked to read a couple of chapters each quarter and then meet in study groups to discuss the book using a study guide produced by the district, she said. For teachers, the study sessions will be a part of their professional development.
[…]Only those educators who acknowledge the existence of white privilege in America, that “white” is a culture in America and that race “is a definer for social and economic status” can reach proficiency, the authors contend. Those who score poorly on the worksheet are asked in the book what they will do “to align yourself with the values expressed.”
[…]The book says teachers must overcome irrational fear of homosexuality and reject the “color-blind” approach to teaching in which teachers treat all children the same. Instead, the group identity of students of color should be recognized and esteemed, the authors say.
[…]The authors — Franklin and Brenda CampbellJones and Randall B. Lindsey — all former teachers, write that their intent in the book is “to prepare educators to unshackle themselves from tradition and become facilitators for reconciliation of historical injustices.”
[Franklin] said the book has been well-received by other school districts using it, including San Diego and Atlanta, and districts in Maryland and Canada.
The push for cultural proficiency, sometimes referred to as cultural competence, is a trend across the country, though what’s meant by these terms varies. Definitions range from encouraging teachers to understand the cultural backgrounds of students to more aggressive efforts to rewrite curricula and adapt school systems to immigrant cultures.
A primary concern of critics is that schools and universities could use cultural proficiency as an ideological litmus test and that the money put toward such programs could be better spent directly on academics.
[…]Asked last week if she believes white privilege exists in Omaha, [School board President Sandra Jensen] said: “That depends on the cultural lens that one looks through.”
A vote for the Democrats is a vote for these overpaid leftist educational bureaucrats. “Stimulus” money is nothing more than government waste. It RAISES unemployment, by redistributing wealth from job creators to left-wing bureaucrats.