School Board Battles ‘Misinformation’ Over Equity Efforts

After months of attack by critics charging that the division has embraced critical race theory, the School Board on Tuesday held a special workshop to provide an update on its equity initiatives designed to tamp down the growing culture war playing out each month in its meeting room.

“LCPS is not indoctrinating students using critical race theory. Critical race theory is not a part of the curriculum,” said Interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler, to punctuate the workshop, held under the title of “A Path Forward Together.”

For months, board members have been dealing with a torrent of complaints over racial education in schools, most of which, Ziegler said, has been based on misinformation, rumors and even fabrications.

CRT began as a broad set of ideas about racial inequity in academia nearly 40 years ago. In the past year, it has become a movement that fans the flames of conservative opposition to the social justice movement. Internet message boards are filled with comments about students across the nation being “indoctrinated” with the progressive ideology.

While division leaders said CRT is not a part of the curriculum and there is no imminent plan to adopt it, Ziegler and his staff highlighted the history of the school district’s equity work.

That work, in part, recognizes that students of color now comprise nearly 60% of enrollment. Today, 59 of Loudoun’s 95 schools have majority minority enrollment, with seven more approaching that threshold.

“They are growing up in a much different Loudoun County than you and I did,” Ziegler said.

“We have come to this point through a combination of school division initiatives, state initiatives, and concerns from our community,” he said. “Our work has sometimes been driven by outside factors. One was an investigation by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office launched in October 2019, which investigated allegations that African-American students enrolled in Loudoun County Public Schools have been denied an equal opportunity to participate in LCPS’s Academies of Loudoun.”

In 2019, the Equity Collaborative was contracted to conduct a study of equity throughout the district. The study documented individual instances of offensive behavior, noted differences in academic performance, found a low level of racial literacy among faculty and staff, and drew the overall conclusion that systemic racism existed throughout the school system.In response to these findings, the School Board formed an Equity Committee to dive deeper into the concerns and installed equity specialists in every school.

The report “helped us understand that the school system needed to change to address all students’ needs,” Ziegler said. “Students who came to school expecting a safe and affirming environment setting them up to learn were experiencing racial and cultural insensitivity, and our staff was trained in how to handle it.”

But those changes don’t involve teaching CRT in the schools, he said, despite the “ongoing misinformation.”

“I will say again tonight that it is not,” he said. “The implication for this criticism was that somehow teaching teachers to understand and deal with race issues in the classroom would somehow diminish the learning climate and achievement in the classroom for all students, a correlation that simple does not track.”

“Equity is not an academic exercise, but a reflection of reality,” he said.

Several board members felt that the workshop didn’t provide a clear enough distinction between the division’s equity efforts and the national debate over CRT.

“One of the things that we hear often from some of the community is you say you’re not teaching critical race theory, but you are teaching culturally responsive framework and that is just a rose by any other name,” said Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge). “For people who don’t live and breathe this every day or who aren’t talking about instructional matters, to some people it sounds like you’re replacing one buzz word with another.”

“I think teaching the history of racism is important, regardless of whether everyone agrees or disagrees with any theory. And I think we can all agree that the topics we talked about today, the debate surrounding CRT and all of the other topics, are part of our current national dialogue,” said Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian). “They are current events.”

“Informing students about the debate does not equal indoctrinating them with that theory,” she said, comparing it to teaching about different religions or economic theories. “The next generation can learn from the mistakes we made in the past and do better.”

Jeff Morse (Dulles) said his equity priorities are to focus on younger students in early grades and to push for a more diverse workforce. But he also is concerned that the school division’s efforts haven’t been communicated well, with some classroom discussions or assignments being taken out of context and becoming national news items.

“All that has done is created incredible turmoil in the community because of message is getting lost. Our message has to stay focused. We have to communicate it. It has to be focused on the equity and not the other issues that are being brought in and that message needs to be consistent across all of our instruction,” Morse said.

Harris Mahedavi (Ashburn) agreed with other board members about the need to have a broader community conversation about the issue and to make the concepts and terms used in equity talks more understandable for board members, students, and the community. “There’s a lot of consulting-speak words here,” he said.

13 thoughts on “School Board Battles ‘Misinformation’ Over Equity Efforts

  • 2021-06-02 at 10:20 am
    Permalink

    LCPS put on their normal dog-and-pony propaganda show last night:

    1. LCPS doubled down on Marxist CRT. They read a statement that one shouldn’t be able to predict outcomes based on “…. ability”. That means that everyone, including those of different talent, must eventually have the same outcomes. That means we cannot have accelerated math or ability grouping. We cannot challenge each student to their potential. But we must have a Marxist equal outcome result aka CRT.

    2. LCPS stated that all “groups” (that they define) must have the same results (gaps must be eliminated). This implies that the ONLY reason gaps exist between students with different income, race, etc. is not because of talent or culture or work ethic but because of “systemic racism”. That is the textbook definition of Marxist CRT. And it’s evil. The smartest kid in the room may be black, Hispanic, white, Asian or Indian. But it is because of who they are as an individual, not because of some “racist LCPS system”.

    3. LCPS stated that the Equity Collaborative made “findings” on systemic racism in LCPS. They failed to state that the Equity Collaborative refused to release ANY data and failed to confirm any of the accusations of racism. In fact, they didn’t collect any true data using anonymous surveys but rather collected unsupported anecdotes from selected “preferred” minorities. Similarly, the Equity Collaborative failed to even interview Indian, Asian or white students to see if they also experienced racism (then, it wouldn’t be so systemic). They effectively had a pre-determined outcome with the workshops simply to get some anecdotes. Not only is that academically and intellectually dishonest, it is Marxist CRT all over again (LCPS “must be racist” regardless of what the data shows).

    4. LCPS stated that Western Civilization, including the culture and knowledge that founded and built America, was no longer acceptable because it signified “white supremacy”. If a child from the Congo immigrated to the US, do you think they would want to read the “Congo classics” in school? (hint: they don’t exist). No!!! Public schools exist in part to assimilate kids into our American, Western civilization culture. The notion that a child’s curriculum will be based on which ethnic groups are in the classroom not only is nonsensical, there exists no data to show that provides even a similar education as one based on Western (European) civilization’s culture. Put another way, they don’t create expensive private schools so you can be taught via Guatamalen educational resources or Sierra Leone classics. They do create expensive schools that kids from all nations want to attend that teach European classics. If you want to learn about the limited literature from Guatamala or Sierra Leone, move to those countries or go to the library.

    5. LCPS reaffirmed it was unacceptable for the Academies to not be more “diverse” even though 70%+ of the students are minorities. They are just the “wrong” minorities according to NAACP members (who want their own kids to take those slots) and the radical, woke “equity” hires in LCPS. Predetermining that all demographic groups (but strangely, not tall/short and fat/skinny and Type A/B blood) must be perfectly equally represented or ….. wait for it…. that systemic racism from CRT must be the cause of the “disparity”.

    In essence, we got to hear a bunch of borderline illiterate fools tell us, without using any data whatsoever, that the CRT they were teaching is not really CRT because LCPS officials didn’t say the actual word “CRT” even though all of their policies are premised on it. And they think because folks are so dumb (hey, LCPS taught them poorly so they are not expecting much), nobody will know LCPS is already teaching CRT. Unless and until LCPS says students will achieve different outcomes based on unique talents, work ethic, cultures and home resources, they are still teaching CRT without calling it such. Btw, have they found a way to bury the Equity Collaborative invoices that discuss literally teaching CRT to LCPS yet?

    If LCPS were interested in promoting academic growth (a topic I have preached for 6+ years now), LCPS would (A) focus on improving academic performance for all, not eliminating gaps and (B ) actually focus on improving teaching effectiveness. They focus on neither. They do not report on academic growth at all. If they were concerned about kids’ academic growth, they would not have banned them for 6 months.

  • 2021-06-02 at 11:11 am
    Permalink

    Let’s start with a public condemnation and apology by the school board members who participated in the secret extremist hate list group?

    Otherwise, none of their words, or attempts to portray “it’s all a misunderstanding,” will soothe the divisiveness and hostile education environment they forced onto our county. Apologize and condemn the hate list. Our kids education is too important to be left to extremists.

  • 2021-06-02 at 12:03 pm
    Permalink

    Ziegler and most of the Loudoun County school board are irredeemable woke fools determined to use the school system to indoctrinate our children in Marxist ideologies like “equity”, which is code word for socialism and reverse racism.

    Martin Luther King emphasized equal opportunity. It is up to individuals to achieve their own outcomes.

    Chief Justice Roberts, in a Supreme Court ruling regarding a reverse discrimination case, said “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discrimination on the basis of race”. Making kids feel guilty because of their skin color and trashing western culture as evil is reverse discrimination.

    Booker T Washington warned about the “people who make a business keeping the troubles, the wrongs and hardship ( of blacks) before the public”. He went on to say “having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs……because it pays….and they do not want to lose their jobs”. Sounds just like our school board and their equity consultants.

    Instead of learning from the past and celebrating the progress our society has made in race relations, the woke fools running our schools choose advance divisive, offensive ideologies based on woke propaganda that has no basis in facts or reality.

    How did we get here? The voters elected these fools. The voters can reverse this by recall or the next election.

    • 2021-06-03 at 1:33 am
      Permalink

      Bingo. I’m for Equal Opportunity, not “equity”. The two things are NOT the same. Equity means equal outcomes without equal effort or ability. Equity is not a good thing… is penalizes those with superior abilities, it demoralizes and destroys growth and initiative. It is the evil driving force behind the abject failure of ALL socialist countries.

  • 2021-06-02 at 1:04 pm
    Permalink

    LCPS could eliminate “gaps” simply by ceasing to assign grades. It could furthermore eliminate “gaps” by ceasing instruction and having all students “deemed” or “identified” as “competent” or “educated.” And if we are going to do that, we can save everyone a great deal of time and trouble and eliminate the schools and the school board.

    If last night’s charade didn’t prove you should take your children out of the public schools nothing is likely to convince you. None of my children spent a day in public schools and the owe their successful college and professional careers to their home schooling. They were educated and not indoctrinated.

    • 2021-06-03 at 1:35 am
      Permalink

      I want my property tax money back! We must sue to stop this!

  • 2021-06-02 at 4:56 pm
    Permalink

    We use to have some one of the greatest school districts, now our schools have stopped focusing on the principles and jump on board any new idea that comes about. Time to get back to the basics!!

  • 2021-06-02 at 5:40 pm
    Permalink

    You really can’t fix stupid.

    The entire school board should have been fired long ago. They continue to defend racist policy which make them all racist.

    Mr Ziegler is no better and displays no leadership abilities.

    They have no shame.

    Loudoun students continue to suffer because elected adults have a political agenda.

    Discraceful.

  • 2021-06-03 at 1:35 am
    Permalink

    I want my property tax money back! We must sue to stop this!!

  • 2021-06-03 at 10:38 am
    Permalink

    When confronted with accusations of racism, mismanagement and being anti-educationists, their reply is…

    Nuh-Uh.

    The “big lie,” fake news, gaslighting…. whatever you want to call it, the SB and LCPS Admin are guilty of doing it.

  • 2021-06-05 at 4:06 pm
    Permalink

    I was unable to attend the meeting, but the above comments are in line with what I have read. And yes, I have read, and continue to read books by pro-CRT “experts,” including some books by founders of the movement, or those who claim to have been founders. I do not merely repeat what others tell us about CRT.

    Critical Race Theory is propaganda, an effort to indoctrinate young, impressionable minds into anti-Constitutional, even anti-American thought. It is very much in line with Marxism, although it isn’t a direct descendant of “Das Kapital” or “Manifesto of the Communist Party.”

    To my mind that makes CRT even more dangerous than previous commentators have theorized, both comments above and on other platforms, in that when CRT advocates are accused of being Communists or Socialists they can always hide behind how CRT differs, no matter how slight or insignificant those differences might be.

    There is no doubt that CRT is an effort to make every social action, every event in our history, about race. That the only proper thought is that personality and character are defined by ones race.

    How pathetic! How condescending and demeaning to minorities to claim that race is something that separates them from the rest of society. Not only does this suggest a return to segregation would be a good thing, CRT flatly claims that Caucasians are evil, responsible for all the ills of society, and that members of that unfortunate race should be spending their lives apologizing for being white, and making reparations for the actions of their ancestors.

    Ah, but CRT doesn’t treat all minorities equally. Asians, for example, are lumped in with whites, probably because those Asians don’t consider themselves oppressed, or if they did they found ways to overcome and to thrive. In point of fact, Asian median income in the United States is significantly higher than those of Caucasians.

    Privilege? Yes, I’ll admit to privilege, but not from having a pale complexion. My privilege comes from being born American. Others have similar privilege by immigrating to the USA legally, whether they choose to become citizens or not.

    Does racism exist? Of course it does, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily harmful, degrading or discriminatory. I would conjecture that almost all of us feel more comfortable with those who are most like ourselves. Even that is minimized with time, as we get to know others who are different. Look at the number of inter-racial marriages there are these days. We can also see it in marriages between different sectors of society, for example when a wealthy, educated man marries a girl from a blue-collar family, a girl with a high-school education, and who reads books only about gardening, sewing and cooking. It seems that the more one is exposed to people of different cultures, religions and races, the more the barriers disappear.

    CRT advocates are doing their utmost not only to keep those barriers in place, but to develop new barriers to divide people into sects and cults. Why shouldn’t they? They make a much better living being divisive that running a book store or being a plumber.

    I urge every parent, every student to reject the efforts of propagandists who seek to make people enemies because of their race. Most of all I urge, no, I demand that our leaders at all levels, from school board members to state and national representatives, and even including our president, to squash this division and diversion by CRT and concentrate on what makes our country the greatest of all, and what will keep our country great by supporting the ideas and ideals which were instrumental in developing that greatness.

    Otherwise our schools would better serve their students by making the Russian and Chinese languages the focus of modern education.

  • 2021-06-11 at 1:44 pm
    Permalink

    You know what. The Loudoun Co School Board is getting **world** attention for all the Woke Nonsense it is inflicting… and the hits just keep on coming. Tanner Cross an attempted Cancel Culture victim. The Chinese immigrant who compares the School Board to the Mao regime. The angry parents who get their microphones turned off at Board hearings. Critical Race Theory racist bigots running amok on the School Board. How did Northern Virginia ever become a Socialist dystopia…. all I can say is God Bless America.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: