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An issue that failed to resonate in last April’s school board elections following assurances from the candidates and the administration that it was no longer relevant, has suddenly emerged as a topic for discussion at Monday night’s meeting of the Evanston Township District 202 School Board.

“District’s Future Involvement with PEG” is listed as Item No. 7 on Monday’s agenda and is tentatively scheduled for discussion from 8:15 p.m. until 8:45 p.m.

The public portion of the board’s regular November meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in Room N-112 of the high school, at 1600 Dodge Ave.

PEG is the Pacific Educational Group, a California-based consulting organization that received a contract from the district in 2009 for a series of controversial workshops that was being phased out a year ago “with only minor expenses,” according to the district’s chief financial officer William Stafford.

But insiders at the district report that a large contingent of teachers traveled last month to St. Louis for PEG’s annual Summit for Courageous Conversation, Oct. 26-30, at a “back of the envelope cost (to the district) of an estimated $20,000.”

Based on comments made during the April school board election campaign, many of the candidates for the board said they were opposed to any continuing relationship with PEG, and the emergence of the issue on the board agenda is presumably an effort to clarify its intentions.

At the board’s last meeting in October, however, several board members expressed concern over a continuing “gap” in scores between white and black students on the standardized ACT tests, which the PEG consultants had been hired to address.

The “courageous conversation” workshops are part of a program designed at “working at all levels from the Board and superintendent to beginning teachers” that “helps the educators focus on heightening their awareness of institutional racism and developing effective strategies for closing the achievement gap in their schools,” according to PEG’s website.

Earlier stories:

PEG fails to rouse D202 hopefuls

D202 teachers defend work of racial consultants

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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41 Comments

  1. Spend money for the students

    This is utterly shocking and disheartening. The hucksters from PEG have already had years of peddling their unique brand of racist garbage at ETHS — to its administrator, teachers and even students — to justify getting thousands of dollars from Evanston taxpayers. This is money that could have been devoted to programs that actually help prepare students for college and careers, instead of feathering PEG's already-full pockets. Now these scam artists are back on the ETHS agenda. PEG has pulled its flim-flam routine with dozens of school districts across the country with the argument that PEG can help close the achievement. Ask for results! Ask anyone anywhere — has spending on PEG helped close the achievement gap at your school or schools? The answer is (and will always be) NO. Read what the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has written about PEG's racist teachings, espoused by PEG's lead huckster, Glenn Singleton. Bottom line: PEG blames racist white teachers almost exclusively for the achievement gap and lumps races with broad generalities that are truly absurd and insulting: "In promoting the view that white people and "Black and Brown" people have very different cultures, Singleton employs crude racial stereotypes that most Americans rejected years ago. For example, he claims that "White individualism" fosters "independence," "individual achievement" and "upward mobility," and that white people are "intellectual" and capable of "quantitative thinking." In contrast, "Black and Brown" culture promotes "collectivism." Black and Brown people are "emotional and "interested in feelings," and communicate through "body motions" like "rolling of the eyes" and "other nonverbal expressions." Singleton's "Framework for Systemic Equity/Anti-Racism Transformation" offers little in the way of research-based instructional techniques. Instead, it focuses on getting white teachers to confront and confess their own presumed racial biases." Here's the link to the article: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/142129013.html Please write to the D202 School Board and tell them that $20,000 of taxpayer dollars was just wasted on a PEG conference and that needs to be the end of our relationship with PEG. Here's the email address to reach all of them with one email: schoolboard@eths.k12.il.us

    1. …in front of their supervisors

      "..it focuses on getting white teachers to confront and confess their own presumed racial biases. " 

      The statement at ETHS would conclude … in front of their supervisors.

  2. PEG’s “Field of Dreams”

    "If you hire PEG, they will reduce the Achievement Gap." That is the myth perpetuated by PEG. If it's true, then where are the results? Ever since ETHS engaged PEG, I called them and asked to see results of improvements in the Achievement Gap at any of the schools where they've worked. To date, I haven't received a response. I have also contacted over 10 schools that have hired PEG and asked to see results in the Achievement Gap as a direct result of PEG's work. To date, I have not received any information. PEG was founded in 1992 by Glenn Singleton. The only book he's published since he founded PEG is "Courageous Conversations about Race" in 2006 and an updated version in 2012. PEG is very good at marketing and appealing to people who are frustrated by the Achievement Gap and are seeking an easy excuse. When all else fails, play the race card, and as PEG claims on their website, "Systemic Racism is the most devastating factor contributing to the diminished capacity of all children."

    I, too, am frustrated by the Achievement Gap. But as a community, let's work together to address the underlying causes and develop specific and measurable plans to enable all children to achieve their potential. PEG's approach is divisive and hasn't produced results in its 20 years. If anyone has seen a study validating their efforts, please share them.

    There are many troubling aspects of ETHS' continued engagement with PEG. First, the administration, led by Superintendent Dr. Witherspoon, made public comments that ETHS was winding down its relationship with PEG. Sending 25 + people from ETHS to a 2 or 3 day conference in St. Louis is NOT winding down a relationship. 3-5 people I could accept. 25 ? And it's not just the money that is galling, but the opportunity cost of having 25 people away from the classroom. Think about this: There is the direct cost of travel and conference expenses. But ETHS has to hire substitute teachers to teach in place of conference attendees (how much did ETHS spend on subs?), and on average, students don't learn as much from substitute teachers as from their regular teachers. Also, how many administrators attended? I don't expect that ETHS had to hire substitutes for the administrators, but the time they spent at the conference could have been spent on plenty of other important items. And while there are many things working well at ETHS, there is a lot of room for improvement on many other items.

    I fully support diversity training and ETHS should provide diversity training to its staff. But let's hire an organization that is inclusive and respectful in this process. I support efforts to eliminate the Achievement Gap that can produce measurable results. For example, the recent discussion and collaberation on literacy by both D65 & D202 is a step in the right direction. Evanston is a community that values diversity, that supports diversity, that appreciates diversity. We are not a community that appreciates being misled by its leaders, nor are we a community that seeks excuses.

    All students and our community deserve better.

  3. Courageous conversation about the Achievement Gap?

    With the continuing Achievement Gap in Evanston, can our community have a conversation about this issue? Would people be willing to engage in this discussion? As a start, should D202 School Board ask the Administration to provide their insights and expertise? What about D65 – can they be invited to participate?

    The Achievement Gap continues to persist in Evanston, and throughout our country, but do we know why? How can we make progress if we don't understand the underlying causes of the Achievement Gap?

    1. Achievement Gap solutions

      You can see the concern about achievement gap by the new course changes for next year on the agenda…

      Almost all are for AP or honors level changes. ….What gap?

    2. At least we try in Evanston

      This is a very important conversation to have and it is happening within our commmunity; it just does not get as much attention as PEG.  

      One program, called Project EXCITE, works on closing the gap by starting with minority students in 3rd grade and working wth them through high school.  It is led by Northwestern and implemented by them and 65 and 202.  This type of proactive injection of hands on shaping of youth really help to close the gap.  It is not the solution because there is no one single solution, but it involves, schools, community, and the family.  

      In my opinion, this program even starts a bit late (3rd grade), because these types of programs should start when the child is one or two years old. It needs to involve nutrition, child care, job training for parents, and a whole host of other services to help our community.  

      Project EXCITE is a huge step in the right direction and the community needs to embrace this type of program and see what else can be done with younger children.  Thank you all in the community that have made Project EXCITE successful for over 10 years!  

      Here is a link to their site if you want to learn more:  https://www.ctd.northwestern.edu/excite/

      1. My children would have

        My children would have benefited and enjoyed the NW Project Excite, but they weren't eligible because they're not minorities…

        1. Project Excite

          All children could benefit from the curriculum and opportunities offered by NW Project Excite! However, part of what they do is to provide scholarships to courses available to all other students for a fee -provided they meet the academic requirements.

          Since its foundation, one of the goals of Project Excite is to develop the potential in math and science of gifted minority students, who have been in a historical disadvantage due to bias, cultural and economic factors, among others.

          Many of the courses taken by Project Excite students are part of the "Center for Talent Development". Interested parties can find more information on this link:

          https://www.ctd.northwestern.edu

        2. You poor thing

          It must be so painful for your kids to be discriminated against based on the color of their skin.

          1. Why be snarky about discrimination?
            Yes, it is painful for anyone to see his or her child discriminated against due to the child’s race.

            Why should a wealthy family’s child get the benefit of a free Northwestern University-run program to boost academic achievement while a child on free lunch doesn’t get the same opportunity? That is not fair as the wealthy family can pay for any Northwestern program that they wish.

            I take no joy in such a selection process. In fact, it is against the law.

  4. PEG

    $20,000 sounds to me like a low estimate for sending 27 staff members (and at least one board member) to a PEG conference in St. Louis for three days.  For starters, the registration fee was $600/person.  Add to the registration fee travel, hotel, meals…and then there's the cost of subs,  $20,000?  I don't believe it.  And the sneaky way the 202 Administration slid this by under the radar doesn't do much to enhance their credibility.

  5. PEG Conference

    Note the dates were October 26-30, 2013.—-five days.

    Twenty-seven staff sent—that is un-believeable.  Don't they trust "A" representative to tell them what was discussed ?  Was this a mini-vacation—with spouses and children—like the "fact finding" trips Congress is so fond of taking ?

  6. Don’t kid yourself, PEG resonates

    Don't kid yourself. PEG definitely resonates in this community; however, because of the chilling climate around race discussion that PEG itself has created, people are not empowered to come forward publicly and call PEG out for some of the destructive things PEG has done: shaming people for their background and skin color, using class time that should be spent learning on "re-educating" students about "correct" attitudes toward race, drawing teacher effort away from the classroom and instruction, and misleading the families of under-achievers that achievement has little connection to either family stability, poverty, or personal effort. 

    I suppose D202 can keep spending money on PEG. In a sense, it does no harm: The kids in all races who are going to achieve — and there are kids of all races who achieve at ETHS — will continue achieving despite what PEG does. However, the kids who don't achieve will continue to not achieve. Can we accept that?

  7. Can’t we all just get along?

    I am tired of people complaining about the use of THEIR tax dollars. Do the math! $20,000 divided by the number of households paying property taxes equals not much at all!  So, QUIT COMPLAINING! People talk about their tax dollars when it's convenient for them (or pertains to THEIR position). Do you even read your tax bill? Do you understand it?

    I am also tired of people talking about Evanston's "diversity." Yes, it is demographically diverse. Diversity is a buzzword and  a CONVENIENT word for people who don't think that they are racist and those who don't believe that there is institutional racism in ETHS.

    Why do YOU ALL suppose that the achievement gap exists? 

    Thank you, ETHS, for attacking this GINORMOUS, yes I said GINORMOUS, problem in our community!

    1. Most people miss the point

      Thanks so much for your comment, most Evanstionians miss the point. It isn't about money, or any other tangible things. All these problems that people are complaining about is just an excuse, and a diversion from the actual cause. I'm glad you mentioned the "diversity" in Evanston. It's the same at ETHS, but then when people look beyond the hallways and into the classrooms it's another story. I don't get some Evanstonions, we are quick to yell that we are a community, but have no unity. 

    2. Those who attended were already on board

      If teachers, the D202 Board and superintendent and general public agree there is institutional racism at ETHS, then it should be mandatory for all to attend such conferences. Unfortunately, I am afraid the teachers who attended were already on board with PEG's ideas and methods.

      While $20,000 many not seem like a lot of money, it is still a waste if all it is accomplished is more division and polarization of the Evanston residents, while at the same time not helping close the achievement gap at ETHS.

      1. Give examples of “Institutional Racism” at ETHS

        When we can identify examples of "Institutional Racism" at ETHS, then the Administration, Teachers and Staff can take the appropriate corrective actions. Please give specific examples of "Institutional Racism" that currently exist at ETHS. Then we can give this list to the School Board and request that Dr. Witherspoon rectify the situation in a timely manner. 

    3. Why does an achievement gap exist?

      PEG tells us that an achievement gap exists because of institutional racism.   Where is the research to support this?

       Here is research that identifies other factors as causes of an achievement gap:

      1. Amount of parental language spoken to children birth-age 3 is correlated with IQ/school performance at age 8.

      2. Impact of parental stress on children's neurocognitive development- Chronic stress(low income women especially prone due to financial strain) literally changes children's brain chemistry with increases in ADHD.  GOod news though- if parents can counteract this stress with increased attention and love to children, it is manageable.

      3. The best teachers don't always teach the most at-risk kids. We need to put the best and brightest in front of the hardest to teach kids.

      4. Setting high expectations  When teachers set high expectations, students do better.  HOld ALL students to the same high levels of educational excellence, and dont' make excuses based on skin color.

      If we are to be a community that follows the advice of science and not just emotion, then we need to invest in thigns backed by research not opinions.

      As a parent and educator, I am dismayed by the direction that ETHS is taking with PEG. Telling any student that they are achieving or not based on their skin color goes against my beliefs at a very fundamental level. I believe ALL children can learn.  I have yet to meet any teacher in Evanston or anywhere else that believes that children can't learn because of their skin color.

      Several years ago, I personally presented at the National Black Child association conference on increasing student writing achievement.  There was not one presentation that discussed race as a limitation to student sucess, or identified white racism as a cause of lack of success.

      1. Reasons for “Gap” from Hillary Clinton

        Hillary Clinton started a new initiative called, "Too Small To Fail."

        Her effort highlights the importance of the talking and reading to children ages 0 to 5 years old.

        Studies have shown that by age 4, children from lower income families have a "Word Gap" of 30 million words. And only 48% of low income children are ready to learn when they enter Kindergarten.

        The good news is that some communities are taking embarking on specific intervention plans at early ages. Read her report for more information.

  8. ETHS wasted so much money

    What a complete and total misappropriation of district funds. Removing teachers from the classroom to send them to an expensive conference is not only a waste of Evanston tax dollars, but a breach of trust to the Evanston community. How many more conferences will ETHS send teachers to at the expense of students?

    According to the website for the summit (http://www.summitforcourageousconversation.com/welcome/) hotel accommodations, assuming ETHS registered before the hotel rooms filled up, were $125 per room per night. Assuming ETHS did not force staff members to share hotel rooms and that they arrived in time for the welcome reception on Sunday night, $10,500 taxpayer dollars were used for hotel accommodations alone, not to meantion the cost of attending the summit, which is conveniently not available to the public. Also dinner for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night was not provided; did we foot the bill for that, too?

    There was also a "pre-conference" that ocurred over the Saturday and Sunday prior to the actual summit. Did we pay for ETHS staff to relax in their hotel rooms and enjoy taxpayer-provided meals for those days as well?

    And here's the kicker: the site talks about a virtual summit, where you can relive and share with others who could not make it to the summit the presentations and breakout sessions over the internet. ETHS could have saved over $10,000 at least in hotel accommodations if they had used this amazing invention called the internet to view the summit, and teachers could have stayed in the classroom as well. 

    I'm tired of ETHS putting students in the classroom as a second priority. Our tax dollars are for educating Evanston's youth. It's about time ETHS starts using its resources for that purpose.

  9. PEG (and ETHS) to white parents: stay out of schools

    The Summit website has descriptions of the topics and presentations discussed at the conference, and frankly, I am appalled. (See for yourself: http://www.summitforcourageousconversation.com/pdfs/SummitProgram.pdf)

    The worst topic, in my opinion, titled “Unspoken Alliances That Derail Racial Equity: Challenging White Educators and White Parents to Challenge Each Other,” suggests that white parents “perpetuate racial inequities through their involvement in schools.”

    And that’s not all ETHS staff learned, no, according to the website, staff discussed how mathematics classes need to incorporate more “political and racial context and dialogue” and how to employ religion and spirituality into classrooms despite their ban by the first amendment because “they often tend to activate our moral imperative to advocate for our most marginalized groups.”

    I don’t know about all of you, but this is not the direction I want ETHS to go in. 

  10. There is racism in Evanston schools

    It looks like voters might have been duped again.

    D202 spends $20,000 for a PEG conference last month. Why? Maybe because PEG is on the front burner again? Any school board member care to clarify? I know one newly elected board member is a strong supporter of PEG and freely gave her opinions on the PEG website. 

    The so called achievement gap has been an issue for more than a generation in Evanston. We get the same thing from school bureaucrats year after year – just spend more money on programs geared ONLY for minority students. 

    No one at D202, D65, school board members and most of the community has engaged in any thing closely related to a courageous conversation. Because if they had, we would be talking about single parents, babies born out of wedlock and the victimhood cottage industry that has sprung up like poisonous mushrooms all across America. Instead, we get the tired old racism excuse.

    Remember, during the D202 school board election, a mysterious group calling itself, Evanstonians for Equity, placed hangers on hundreds of doors, supporting candidates Pat Savage-Williams, Bill Geiger, Casey Miller and Elena Garcia Ansani (Geiger and Williams won). The fliers stated that "barriers to achievement must be identified and removed."  That sound familiar?

    Newly elected D202 board member, Pat Savage Williams, wrote this on the PEG website – "I am committed challenging White Supremacy in order to be a part of interrupting the structures that perpetuate these patterns." White supremacy in our public schools, she writes. Things that make you go, hmmm?

    Williams also wrote SAT data affirms "that racism negatively impact[s] the achievement and performance of African American students our country." And, there are "racial overtones" in the educational institutions in our country?" Got that, Evanston voters?

    The very definition of racism is "the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races." When school districts or any organization measures ability based on race then it is committing an act of racism. Period.

    PEG espouses critical race theory. Look it up. Study it. Then ask yourself, do you want your kids exposed to this? Do you think this makes D202 a better school district than nearby school districts? How does this affect your home value? 

    Do you tell your kids their sucesses or failures are because of their race? Who in Evanston do you suppose does that? Things that make you go, hmmm?

    You get what you vote for. I can't be anymore blunt than that.

  11. Possible future Wildkit was watching and not impressed

    My child has read about Pacific Education Group and wanted to learn more about how PEG's teachings have been implemented at ETHS. So my student watched all of tonight's discussion of PEG at the ETHS School Board meeting

    Here is what that student saw and heard — a parade of teachers and other ETHS employees, at least one choking back tears, telling how ETHS is awash in racial discrimination. Adult after adult, people who are paid to work with our community's children, gave their opinions that, to summarize, students of color do not get a fair shake at ETHS and it is a constant battle to try to get people to be decent and respectful to each other. In hearing these comments, I wondered to myself why ETHS has not "cleaned house" to fire those people who are perpetuating this situation. 

    As the speakers who work at ETHS railed against the school's treatment of minorities, I saw the look on my student's face change to one of concern. When the last PEG supporter finished speaking, I asked my student for thoughts on what had been said. My student said that ETHS sounds like a horrible place that openly discriminates against students of color and that the school must be full of racists who work actively to keep students of color from achieving. That student's conclusion:  why would I want to go to such a horrible place?

    Teachers and others, in speaking "your truth", there apparently wasn't one positive thing to say about ETHS.  That student heard you loud and clear and so did I.

    1. Despite last night, ETHS is an amazing school

      I was one of the student speakers last night, that discussed PEG and specifically SOAR.

      I would just like to say, it is your decision on sending your child to ETHS, or elsewhere, but It's an amazing school. Wherever you decide to send your child, racism will be shown. However,at ETHS we are just not afraid to talk about it.

      There are many resources for the students, and SOAR and other equity programs are ones that can specifically be taken away. Which is why speakers focused on the good that has come from these programs, and what can happen if they stop.

      I'm glad that I go to ETHS, where staff is conscious about race, and the experiences I gained from the staff is incredible. Your student will be missing out. At ETHS we do real, as you saw yesterday, but if your child and yourself aren't' prepared to deal with or discuss challenging events, then you're right; ETHS isn't for you!

      1. Sunlight is the best disenfectant

        Jasmine,

        Would you agree that there are are high-scoring black students and low-scoring white students at ETHS? If so, why? 

        Does EXCITE serve low scoring white students? No? Is that fair to those students? Is there equity in that? How do white students benefit academically under the tutelage of a public school teacher espousing and experimenting PEG theories in the classroom? 

        Is there racism at ETHS because that is what PEG theorizes. If so, where is the racism? Point it out. Name names. 

        D202 Board member Pat Savage Williams wrote on the PEG website that SAT data affirms "that racism negatively impact[s] the achievement and performance of African American students our country." Do you agree? If so, why? Should ETHS end SAT tests?.

        These are questions that our D202 board members and parents need to directly ask in public those teachers, administrators and students that believe in PEG.

        What if D202 measured student achievement based on the student's parental structure – one parent vs both parents living in the same home rather than race? Do you suppose there would be a clear pattern of achievement because national research consistently show that the majority of students in single parent households perform worse in school than students with both parents in the household. 

        BTW- parents and other Evanstonians have more than simply a choice to send their kids elsewhere. They have the choice to vote and get actively involved to end the ugly reverse racism that has permeated every level in Evanston schools. 

        The tired taunts of racism will be hurled but it must be endured to expose the truth. Sunlight is the best disenfectant.

         

        1. More on PEG

          I do agree that there are high scoring blacks, and low scoring whites. Why? various reasons! Project Excite does not serve low scoring white students, because they are focused on closing the achievement gap between minority students who arre unrepresented in honors and AP classes. But you know what does serve the underproviliged white students at ETHS, class! English class, math class, history class, etc. and other programs such as Excell, AVID, and STAE. Is it fair for the communuty to know that minority students  don't excell as there counterparts  but are not giving any resources? EVERY student benefits from teachers  "expierementing" With PEG. That's the reason for PEG, so every student to suceed. No student because of PEG, will not benefit. Is ETHS a racist schoool? Never will I ever say it is however, there are policies set in place that don't benefit  everyone. You want names, I wont give anyone else's, but I will give mine. Jasmine Crayton, I participate in a white priviliged society everyday, and the more I go along with it, the more worse it becomes. As far as faculity, every staff member that walks throught ETHS is influnced by race. PEG makes it that, students are not disregarded for the intate influnces that faculity has. Regarding the SAT, ETHS barely goes off SAT for one (we do ACT). I do agree that racism negatively impacts the achievment of black students, and I believe that ACT scores can be a measure of this, not a cause if it.  Though there are many compelling theories that suggest otherwise. The questions that you said need to be asked are being asked everyday. These questions are asked in peofessional development for our staff,  and with organizations such as S.O.A.R. and once again,  we can thank PEG for that. I do think D202 should measure student achievement based on students potential strucuture, in addition to race,  and not excluding it.  You are correct parents do have the decision to send thier children elsewhere,  but if they can't deal with these types of conversations, then maybe they shouldn't.  However ETHS accepts everyone.  And BTW there is no such thing as reverse racism, racism means prejudice with power. And clearly our minority students don't have the power,  because if they did PEG wouldn't be needed. 
           

          1. Is this what PEG taught Jasmine?

            If I can get into the Anonymous Al/Jasmine debate, let me ask these questions.  Project EXCITE serves only minority students because ETHS classes serve only white students and don't give minority students "any resources"?  Really?  What are the "policies" in place that "don't benefit everyone"?  Could it be the policy that sets no barriers to any student taking honors or AP courses if they want to?  How can it be true both that "every staff member that walks through ETHS is influenced by race" and that "ETHS accepts everyone"?  If parents can't deal with what "types of conversations" should they not send their children to ETHS — conversations based on stereotypes and ideology? And only white people can engage in racism?  What dictionary are you reading?  

          2. Number one, believe it or not

            Number one, believe it or not everyone is influnced by race. Everyone is influnced by what they look like period. NOBODY IS COLOR BLIND, everyone see's others skin tone and has a perception. You do also!!!!! Second, ETHS accepts everyone, we are a “diverse” school. When I said accept I meant into the building! Third if you don't go to ETHS right now, in the year 2013 don't act like you understand what faculity and students go through.

          3. Let’s look at the bigger picture

            Jasmine,

            As a 2017 graduate of ETHS and someone who did go through SOAR training in the 2012-13 school year, I believe the commenter’s points are valid. Shutting people out of the conversation by telling them not to “act like they understand what faculty and students go through” is combative and counterproductive. Everyone has a stake in this conversation, and if you truly believe in combating racism in the school, you and your SOAR colleagues should realize that just solving racism inside the school is not enough. The community at large also plays a roll in the school, shutting them out of the conversation will only hinder your cause. Who do students go home to after school? Who votes for board members who in turn set the direction of the school? The community matters, please don’t act like they don’t.

            This does not mean, however, that I buy into the PEG ideology. Speaking my truth, I found it disgustingly divisive, which I have to point out is something you just illustrated in your above post.

            But in life, you will never be able to convert everyone to believe in your ideology, at least not at once. Everyone, as PEG argues, comes form different backgrounds and comes to the conversation with different experiences (hence speaking “your” truth) so you can’t reasonably expect everyone to think and believe in everything you do. And if you do truly want to get more people on board, telling someone that they just don’t understand and that they shouldn’t “act like” they do will get you nowhere, in fact, it will only move you backwards.

          4. Thanks for the confirmation and comments
            Thanks, Fiscally Frustrated, for confirming that you, as a student, found the PEG training to be “disgustingly divisive.” I had heard similar comments from other students of various races.

            I regret that you had to endure that exercise as you sound like someone who already understands that each person is a complex mix of backgrounds and experiences. Those who insist otherwise waste your time and talents.

            I do not want ETHS to subject you and any other students to this type of divisive exercise during the school day. (If students choose to meet outside school hours to discuss, plan events, etc. based on the PEG philosophy, the school could certainly give the students that option.)

            It appears that ETHS needs to look for ways to expand how students, teachers and administrators relate to and accept each individual in the building. I agree with you that a focus solely on race excludes far too many people.

          5. Keeping it real

            Jasmine,

            So you're OK with EXCITE not accepting white students because it's focus is to close the achievement gap between white and minority students despite the fact that there are some needy white students that could benefit from the program. You justify this with a casual aside that minority students are underrepresented in AP classes. Well, not anymore. If you've been paying attention Superintendent Eric Witherspoon two years ago complained that there were "too many white faces" in AP classes so the D202 Board voted unanimously to detrack the AP program. Now anyone who can read at the freshmen level can enroll in freshmen AP classes.

            You say Excell, STAE and AVID serve underrepresented white students and therefore EXCITE's exclusion of white students is justified. Well, all of these programs certainly serves minority students. In fact, Tamika Taylor, an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) student won a $20,000 Dell scholarship in 2011. And good for her but don't insinuate these programs are geared for white students and not minority students. 

            This is from the EXCITE website – "EXCITE is a six-year program that provides an array of supports and services to minority students including: enrichment classes held after-school, on weekends, and during the summer; tutoring; practice on and preparation for important “gateway” exams for math and high school placement; and educational guidance and counseling. Students receive support until they begin high school, at which point they enter existing programs for minority students that are run by ETHS (e.g. Steps toward Academic Excellence (STAE), Advancement by Individual Determination (AVID)."

            EXCITE currently serves about 130 D65 students from 3-8th grade. I'd love for my kids to join that program but their skin has the wrong pigment. Oh, but we must consider the achievement gap again.

            You think you live in a "white privileged society everyday" but you are sadly mistaken. There are more Americans with white skin living in poverty than non-whites living in poverty. Tell those tens of millions of impoverished whites they are privileged. Off the top of my head, I can name dozens of inclusionary programs for minorities (EXCITE) but I can't name even one inclusionary program for whites. 

            The primary focus of PEG is critical race theory (CRT) which claims that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant white culture. CRT claims the existing power structures in this dominant white culture are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color.  According to CRT, "the white skin color that some Americans possess is like owning a piece of property. It grants privileges to the owner that a renter (or a person of color) would not be afforded." So basically ETHS teachers trained by PEG adhere to CRT tenets and must think and act as if their white students are privileged. The question becomes – Do these PEG trained teachers take action to balance the perceived inequity? If so, on what way? One student on this post described a "horrible" situation who felt discriminated against because of his skin color. Perhaps parents should contact their lawyers.

            I think most white students and their parents disagree with PEG. Afterall, the most powerful and sought after job in the world is the U.S. presidency. Last I checked, Obama is black. How does that fact fit into the PEG worldview?

            Based on your posts and your lack of empathy toward another presumably white ETHS student who complained here that white students were separated in a SOAR class, you hardly batted an eye and appeared dismissive this student felt discriminated against by SOAR teachers.

            You will find out sooner than later that you're going to have to deal with people who don't look like you on equal footing whether you like it or not. Most Evanstonians not only disagree with CRT and PEG, they are sickened and angry by it.

            I am sorry to say you are brainwashed not just by PEG but by the culture of victimization. If you think you're a victim for whatever reason you will seek out those reasons to justify your perceived plight. It doesn't help when folks and organizations around you assist in those false justifications. 

            One day, you'll be on your own Jasmine, and you will understand the folly of PEG, CRT and race based thinking. 

            BTW – I implore ETHS students to document every teacher discrimination and how PEG is causing it. Contact the media and go get a lawyer and sue the pants off of PEG, those who run SOAR, ETHS and every teacher and administrator who even utters the word white privilege on school grounds. You don't deserve this and you shouldn't have to put up with it. Discrimination of white students or anyone should not be tolerated at D202 or D65.

      2. We already “do real” but ETHS sounds like a viper pit

        My student has friends of many races. They are school friends and social friends. So we "do real" and have been doing real since my student was in preschool. My student was completely discouraged to hear that friends known to my student for years face such a grim future at ETHS. The idea that they will be disrespected and disregarded from the moment that they walk in the door is as unappealing to my student as it is to me. My student is a person of good will who is repelled by the blatant racism that apparently oozes from every pore of ETHS, as described by the speakers last night. It appears that because my student was negatively impressed by ETHS last night based on the many, many comments (especially from teachers and other adults) does not mean that my student isn't "prepared to deal with or discuss challenging events." On the contrary, my student has already done it and still does it. Please use this exchange as a learning experience. It appears that you jumped to a conclusion about an individual based on one statement. I would think that your equity and inclusion training would have already demonstrated how wrong and hurtful such conclusions are. If someone in SOAR expressed these feelings, would you shut them down with a dismissive "oh, you just aren't prepared to deal with or discuss challenging events." Please hear my student's truth as so many listened to your truth last night — the picture painted of ETHS last night was disturbing and disconcerting to anyone of good will. My student and I seriously question how serious learning can take place at ETHS when, according to those faculty and staff (and some students) who spoke last night, it is basically a viper pit of racists who have no regard for the education or even well being of ETHS students of color. Is that the way that things truly are at ETHS? If so, I suggest that the entire lot be fired and we start over next fall with new administrators and new teachers who know how to deal with all students with respect and concern. Or could it be that those devotees of PEG went more than a little overboard to justify having ETHS keep pumping money to PEG? Let's do real and get the truth on that point.

        1. Lets do real!

          I'm sorry if I offended you, and maybe I did jump to conclusions. And I NEVER jumped to a conclusion about you or your child,  but I did for you discrediting my school. ETHS isn't a "horrible place " or a "viper pit" However if you and your child did do real,  then your child shouldn't be surprised on what happened last night. These concerns aren't central to ETHS, Evanston as a whole has these problems. But like I said in a previous statement, we aren't afraid to address it. And what hurtful conclusions did I state? Or were you just not prepared for a response? I clearly meant that if you and your child arn't prepared for this, then YES, you should debate on where you send them. It sounds as if you made conclusions about myself. If you were a SOAR represenative, you wouldve recieved the same response. In SOAR, everyone is allowed to thier opinion and sometimes people disagree with what others have to say. Serious learning does take place at ETHS, you know our stats, however PEG makes it so every student gets the great advantages that ETHS has to offer. I agree that everyone should  be fired if they cant deal with students concerns and and give them respect. But since we both know that never will happen, lets just keep PEG so our faculity can be taught how to deal with these issues.

          1. You are wrong

            Jasmine,

            You are naive and wrong.  I am a student at ETHS. I went through the SOAR event last year. It was horrible. We were split in groups by the color of the skin. Guess what happened, some of us were classified as "other". Yeah, thats really accepting. Kind of like I feel everyday. Teachers get up at these meetings and say they want to teach black/brown students but nobody says they want to teach gay, muslim, arab, jewish, asian, etc. students.

            Just like all white students are sterotyped to be middle to upper class — just not true! Don't tell me they are all accepted and they can speak at SOAR. I've tried that and its not true! There is discrimination of all types in Evanston, ETHS and the world. We all need to be accepted. PEG doesn't come close to accepting everyone! We at ETHS need more than PEG comes close to providing!

          2. The SOAR day

            There was a reason for everything that SOAR did that day. With the entire day, you only mention that one most uncomfortable part. You have not been to another meeting, I can tell because SOAR became much more informative and useful. Why don't you come to another meeting.

          3. PEG and basic algebra

            TO Jasmine- it's brave of a high school student to stand up in front of the community and speak. It's bold to write online comments to support your views. This speaks well for ETHS.

            In Evanston, we have people who are rich and those who are not rich.  Many people in Evanston who are rich are white. Being rich equals being priviledged. If you turn this into a math problem, can you equate then that all white people are priviledged with the transitive property?   No.

            Or turn it around this way-  IN this country, research supports that kids who grow up in two parents homes do better in school.  In Evanston, many african american families are lead by single parents.  Therefore, all african american kids will do poorly in school.  Is this true?  No.

            PEG is confusing correlation and causation. There are more rich white people in Evanston than rich African American people. Rich people are more priviledged. But being white does not cause one to have more priviledge any more than having one parent means you will fail because not EVERY white person is rich and not EVERY single parented child fails. 

             To be truly courageous, I think we must look to what reasons bring about success in individual students and discuss how to foster these qualities in all students-

            A recently released book on this topic puts together research from all fields including psychology, education, and neuroscience. It is a must read for any parent or teacher:

             How Children Succeed: Grit, curiosity, and the Hidden power of character  Another summary here- I found the books information on the effects of parental stress to the developing brain particularly interesting.

          4. Consequences of the truth or a stunt?
            No, I certainly expected a response. And no one else has trashed ETHS’ race relations. That was all done quite effectively by the speakers at Monday night’s meeting.

            Words have consequences. Here’s what they are from the 35 people who painted a bleak picture of race relations at ETHS earlier this week.

            Middle school students are talking. Some were watching on cable TV and they have relayed what they saw to their friends. Even more will watch the recording.

            I have heard of several students who are shocked by the horrible environment for minority students at ETHS and how teachers feel that they face a constant struggle of dealing with colleagues who are treating minority students poorly. These are students attending schools with sizeable minority populations so they are not some sheltered, fragile flowers and some of them are MINORITY students themselves. Believe or not, their “real” is not the “real” slung around Monday night.

            They cannot relate to the described ETHS experience because it seems unbelievable to them that it would exist in Evanston in 2013. They have not witnessed such treatment in their schools. So now, they and their families have questions about ETHS being a suitable environment for any child, minority or other.

            So was it the truth or a stunt by teachers, other employees and students to keep PEG funded? Those of us on the outside (including middle schoolers) don’t know. But either way (whether truth or stunt), the place is seriously messed up.

            As for the stats, PEG was supposed to help address the achievement gap and they haven’t. I am not surprised that in five years, the PEG’s teachings have not moved the achievement gap needle as PEG’s teachings lump into a narrow category, downgrade and marginalize the very people that they profess to care about.

            PEG cost ETHS and its students $300,000 in the past five years. I have not heard anything that justified spending that kind of money on PEG’s divisive teachings. Could they teach somebody something? Maybe they did. But they need to be replaced with partner for ETHS that can move to the next level, instead of rehashing the same limited dogma.

  12. IF the schools are that bad—

    Those who feel the schools are so racist and have been for generations, they should take action to back-up their words.  If it has been going on that long then it is clear it won't change on its own and PEG and all the other programs won't change things.

    It seems the only alternative is to fire all the teachers and administration and start over again.  They could first try Chairman Mao's self-confession and co-workers testifying against each other but it sounnds like things are too far along for that.  The Board and administration certainly believes PEG and other such program point out real racism and along with programs they have instituted believe that is a well established fact.

    A new set of schools could be set up for only white students and the 'racist' teachers could be placed there [the unions would othewise fight the firings] where they won't hurt the minorities who feel they are treated badly.  Then the minority schools could experiment with black math, substitute courses in non-European for those of 'dead white men' [except of course Marx] English, history, arts, etc.. The minority schools could probably retain some of the minority teachers who have not become lackies of the 'white' system but it sounds like there are not many of them.  Given that the administration is in charge of preventing racism, it would seem that their failure would mean they would stay with the minority schools where they would not be burdened with fighting the white establishment.

    We would then have a real experiment as to which system produces the best results—whitey or minority schools with their racist free education.  Test scores demonstrate that the current system has not worked for minority students so they should be happy to see minority based schools.  If the space is not available to build new schools then separate the classrooms so fences can completely cut the groups off so the racist white students/teachers won't disadvantage the minority students and thus allow them to reach new academic hights.

    Of course they have to determine who is 'really' a minority [non-number based] vrs. 'white' or 'white thinking'—Asians [Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Latin/South American, American Indian, Eskimo, Russian, Mongolian ?

  13. PEG is not the answer…
    Those who believe systemic racism is responsible for the “achievement gap” make it sound as if there is something about Evanston specifically that is causing this gap in achievement to occur. If that was true, why is there not higher achievement in segregated schools (most or all African-American or Hispanic students attending) in Chicago, for example? The fact is, the achievement gap in this country exists regardless of the student population of a particular school or town. If anything, Evanston as a community has invested more to promote minority student achievement than most communities in this country. I believe the reason for the achievement gap is largely socioeconomic and not based on racism. I think as a society, we need to look at things for which there is evidence of potential to positively impact minority student achievement: prevention/early intervention services (birth – 3), early childhood education, parent training, mentors, etc. Also, why not study the characteristics of minority students who have been highly successful, for example?

  14. What is the REAL difference

    We often hear about “a” [very] successful black or hispanic student from a poor economic background who goes on to great things. But comments are almost always “well that was an exception… and few from a poor or lower class or racist environment can break out.”; That is an excuse and an excuse for failure. Note how Jaime Escalante as seen in the movie “Stand and Deliver”; took a GROUP of students who had about everything going against them and helped them meet goals no one expected of them. Or the U.Cal Berkeley [you have to be smart just to get in] math prof. who saw the black students failing calculus, found by comparing their study habits with Asian students [who quizzed each other vs. black students studying the same amount of time but by themselves] and redesign course so they HAD to study together—result they not only passed but it became the most sought calculus class. Or any number of schools, multi or single race or gender, run by black or white or asian administrators, who have whole student bodies that succeed. They set aside the steerotypes, excuses of race/class and recognized ALL students can succeed. If Evanston schools do not have those kinds of teacher/administrators, then start at the top and replace them instead of crying race/class, bringing in groups like PEG who only want to foster “blame whitey”; and create dumbed down classes they think minority students can actually pass.”;

     

  15. The achievement gap

    Has anyone considered the possiblity the achievement gap is due to primarily to socioeconomic factors.  For example has any one investigated the possibility that the poorer performaning students regardless of race may tend to come from poorer single parent families or families that are in some way disfunctional.  If this is the case then the problem may be do to social problems in the wider society which are beyond the ability of the schools to compensate for.  The reason I bring this up is that we have been worker on "closing the gap" for decades and yet is hasn't closed and in fact seems to be more or less the same "gap".

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