A program to help faculty and staff of Evanston Township High School understand and communicate more effectively with racial minority students at the school was lauded by teachers on the District Equity Leadership Team Monday night at a meeting of the District 202 School Board.

When board member Jonathan Baum questioned the approximately $70,000 a year paid to consultants of the Pacific Educational Group (PEG), teacher Rick Cardis responded that, if anything, they were underpaid.

Cardis contended that the program was the most effective professional development experience he has ever had at the school and praised the work of the consultants, who provide ongoing training and discussion with the school’s deans, counselors, department chairs, staff, social workers, and teachers.

He was joined by fellow teacher Matt Walsh in praising the ability of the PEG team to enable teachers to hold what the program refers to as “courageous conversations” with minority students that enables the teachers to better differentiate their teaching techniques to reach all students.

The equity program is part of the district’s efforts to narrow the educational performance gap between white and African-American students that has been an ongoing focus of the school for years.

The consultants work with schools all over the country, including Oak Park, New Trier, and Highland Park in the Chicago area. District officials told the board that about $265,000 has been spent on the program so far, at the rate of about $70,000 per year, but that the payments to the consultants are scheduled to end within the next two years.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. PEG should go

    PEG should go.

    PEG's philosophy of "white privilege" and "systemic racisim" is based on critical race theory.   In this regard, I belive Judge Richard Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit put it well when he wrote:

    "What is most arresting about critical race theory is that…it turns its back on the Western tradition of rational inquiry, forswearing analysis for narrative.  Rather than marshal logical arguments and empirical data, critical race theorists tell stories — fictional, science-fictional, quasi-fictional, autobiographical, anecdotal — designed to expose the pervasive and debilitating racism of America today.  By repudiating reasoned argumentation, the storytellers reinforce stereotypes about the intellectual capacities of nonwhites."

    This is precisely what has occurred at ETHS in the context of freshman year restructuring and the associated PEG workshops. 

  2. Show proof of institutional racism at D202

    The key component of PEG's philosophy is that there is "institutional and systematic racism" at our schools.

    I'd like to hear Baum ask the District EQUITY (built-in bias just by the name) Leadership Team to provide evidence that there is institutional and systematic racism at D202 that justifies spending about $300,000..

    Only two teachers praised PEG. Can you imagine what would happen to ANY D202 teacher that criticized PEG?


    1. What is proof?

      What exactly would you accept as "proof"?  I think that to most minorities it is pretty obvious that it is there.  Difficult to prove, though.

      1. He said “evidence” not

        He said "evidence" not "proof.".  And the fact that the only evidence they point to is the achievement gap itself is the problem.  Such "logic" is entirely circular.

        1. Actually, he said “proof”

          How about you show me "proof" (or evidence) of a divine being and the we'll talk.

          Somethings can't be proven to non believers.

          "Racism is like dirt. You know it when you see it, you feel it when it's on you, but maybe you just can't quite put it into words." -Hosea Sanders ABC7

    2. PEG diversity training workshop

      In the notes from ETHS PTSA Yahoo Group, There was board discussion about the discomfort of talking about being racists in an open meeting. Imagine how the ETHS staff feel when they discuss the same thing in PEG training in front of their supevisors?

      I wonder… Since Board members, Administrators, teachers and staff have been instructed to create racial biographies during the training as part of their job, are these documents able to be accessed as documents under foia? Are these documents able to be subpoenaed by anyone filing a descrimination lawsuit against the school?

    3. Reply to “Show Proof…”

      There is unfortunately a massive amount of "evidence" for which you seek. Start with the public report card. (See page 8 of this report card)

      More difficult would be showing any evidence that there is NOT institutional racism.  Do you have such evidence?  If so, please share.  

      All I'm seeing is huge, persisent gaps in acheivement by race.  Are you satisfied with this?  I certainly am not.  Are you suggesting that we as a community not seek to eliminate this gap?  It seems you are.

      We have a large job to do as a community and I am proud that our School Board has the guts to do something about it.  

  3. Problem with PEG

    The issue with PEG isn't whether there should be diversity training at all.  The issue is HOW MUCH of OUR TAX MONEY are we prepared to pay to one FOR-PROFIT company that looks at "diversity" as ONLY a black-and-white issue and does this with a particular ideological slant.  ETHS' diversity goes way beyond color; there are issues of family income, heritage or culture, gender, religion, etc. that PEG has no interest in addressing.  And there are organizations who would come in FOR FREE and assist the ETHS Board, staff, and students in addressing them.

  4. family engagement, poverty, language, and mobility

    PEG identifies family engagement, poverty, language, and mobility as the four areas that contribute to school success or failure.  Which is true.

     What else do these four things have in common? According to PEG, they are all linked to race. 

    I see these four things as linked to family, regardless of color.

    In 1995, Hart and Risley conducted the most intense, longest running study on this very issue. 

    This is their findings:

    "Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children describes the remarkable findings of Betty Hart, Ph.D., and Todd R. Risley, Ph.D. Their longitudinal study of parent-child talk in families in Kansas was conducted over a decade. A team of researchers recorded one full hour of every word spoken at home between parent and child in 42 families over a three year period, with children from seven months to 36 months of age. The team then spent six additional years typing, coding, and analyzing 30,000 pages of transcripts.

    Follow-up studies by Hart and Risley of those same children at age nine showed that there was a very tight link between the academic success of a child and the number of words the child’s parents spoke to the child birth to age three.

    Hart and Risley’s Three Key Findings:

    1. The variation in children’s IQs and language abilities is relative to the amount parents speak to their children.

    2. Children’s academic successes at ages nine and ten are attributable to the amount of talk they hear from birth to age three.

    3. Parents of advanced children talk significantly more to their children than parents of children who are not as advanced"



  5. PEG

    I attended one of PEG's initial workshops/structured discussion parent groups several years ago.  They were interested only in race, and would not listen to a discussion of income-related or other causes.  There was no actual effort to find out what was happening at the school, what parents thought, or what social science evidence showed.  It was a completely biased pseudo-social science approach.  Any money spent on them is a complete waste.

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