October 08, 2021
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it received a 53-page training document from a whistleblower in the Westerly School District of Rhode Island which details how Westerly Public Schools are using teachers to push critical race theory in classrooms.
The training course was assembled by the left-leaning Highlander Institute and cites quotes from Bettina Love, from whom the Biden administration distanced itself publicly after her statements equating “whiteness” to oppression.
The school district continues to deny that it teaches critical race theory.
The document reveals the following:
- The training course for teachers, entitled “Culturally Responsive & Sustaining Pedagogy is taught by Vera De Jesus and Michaela Comella, partners at the Highlander Institute, which has an about section on their website that describes itself as:
Highlander Institute partners with communities to imagine and create more equitable, relevant, and effective schools.
Highlander Institute is named after the Highlander Folk School, a social justice leadership training school and cultural center located in New Market, Tennessee known for its role during the Civil Rights Movement.
- The training course claims that there are “unfortunate truths about the history of Rhode Island and the United States.”
- The training course notes that there is “systemic inequity” that must be overcome in the school system.
- The training course asks teachers “How does systemic racism manifest itself in the education experience for students?”
- The course instructs teachers to ask themselves, “How do I challenge systemic inequity as an educator?”
- The course goals are to “foster and sustain cultural pluralism, ultimately for the purpose of social transformation.” Further, its stated goal is to, “disrupt the impact of educational inequity and empower students to transform their own lives, their communities, and society.”
- The course highlights “A Framework for Culturally Responsive & Sustaining Pegagogy” which includes:
- “Awareness” that “we all operate within an inequitable system”
- “Cognitive Development” where teachers “leverage students’ identities and interests …” and “scaffold and develop students’ thinking skills”
- “Critical Consciousness” where the goal is that students are motivated to “critical action so they can transform their lives, communities, and society.”
- In order to promote collectivism, it states that teachers may have to “gather information about students’ identities …” in order to have them reflect. These activities link to a journaling activity where students are prompted to write about the demographics of their neighborhood.
“This whistleblower document shows yet another school district, under the rubric of critical race theory, that wants to use teachers to abuse their positions to turn children into Marxist agitators,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Rather than threatening parents, the Justice Department should be investigating this rampant racism being pushed by lefitst extremists in schools across America.”
In June, Judicial Watch uncovered records from Wellesley Public Schools in Massachusetts which confirm the use of “affinity spaces” that divide students and staff based on race as a priority and objective of the school district’s “diversity, equity and inclusion” plan. The school district also admitted that between September 1, 2020 and May 17, 2021, it created “five distinct” segregated spaces.
In May, Judicial Watch obtained records from Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) which include documents related to their “Anti-racist system audit” and critical race theory classes. Students of “Maryland’s Largest School District” who attended Thomas Pyle Middle School’s social justice class were taught that the phrase “Make America Great Again” was an example of “covert white supremacy.” The phrase is ranked on a pyramid just below “lynching,” “hate crimes,” “the N-word” and “racial slurs.” They were also taught that “white privilege” means being favored by school authorities and having a positive relationship with the police.