Parent At Exclusive NYC Brearley School: “demand an end to the destructive and anti-intellectual claptrap known as antiracism”
“Brearley’s obsession with race must stop. It should be abundantly clear to any thinking parent that Brearley has completely lost its way. The administration and the Board of Trustees have displayed a cowardly and appalling lack of leadership by appeasing an anti-intellectual, illiberal mob, and then allowing the school to be captured by that same mob….”
Increasingly, parents at exclusive and expensive New York City prep schools are speaking out against the Critical Race Theory agenda being imposed on the students by liberal administrators and teachers.
I was planning to publish a roundup today of the many thoughtful responses to Paul Rossi’s essay. I’m going to save that post for Sunday, because I was just sent this letter that has my jaw on the floor. It was written by a Brearley parent named Andrew Gutmann.
If you don’t know about Brearley, it’s a private all-girls school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It costs $54,000 a year and prospective families apparently have to take an “anti-racism pledge” to be considered for admission. (In the course of my reporting for this piece I spoke to a few Brearley parents.)
Gutmann chose to pull his daughter, who has been in the school since kindergarten, and sent this missive to all 600 or so families in the school earlier this week.
[Sidenote: Rossi will be a panelist in an online webinar Legal Insurrection Foundation is planning for May.]
Here are excerpts from Guttman’s letter to other parents:
Our family recently made the decision not to reenroll our daughter at Brearley for the 2021-22 school year. She has been at Brearley for seven years, beginning in kindergarten. In short, we no longer believe that Brearley’s administration and Board of Trustees have any of our children’s best interests at heart….
It cannot be stated strongly enough that Brearley’s obsession with race must stop. It should be abundantly clear to any thinking parent that Brearley has completely lost its way. The administration and the Board of Trustees have displayed a cowardly and appalling lack of leadership by appeasing an anti-intellectual, illiberal mob, and then allowing the school to be captured by that same mob….
I object to the view that I should be judged by the color of my skin. I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin, but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs. By viewing every element of education, every aspect of history, and every facet of society through the lens of skin color and race, we are desecrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and utterly violating the movement for which such civil rights leaders believed, fought, and died….
I object to a definition of systemic racism, apparently supported by Brearley, that any educational, professional, or societal outcome where Blacks are underrepresented is prima facie evidence of the aforementioned systemic racism, or of white supremacy and oppression. Facile and unsupported beliefs such as these are the polar opposite to the intellectual and scientific truth for which Brearley claims to stand. Furthermore, I call bullshit on Brearley’s oft-stated assertion that the school welcomes and encourages the truly difficult and uncomfortable conversations regarding race and the roots of racial discrepancies.
I object to the idea that Blacks are unable to succeed in this country without aid from government or from whites. Brearley, by adopting critical race theory, is advocating the abhorrent viewpoint that Blacks should forever be regarded as helpless victims, and are incapable of success regardless of their skills, talents, or hard work. What Brearley is teaching our children is precisely the true and correct definition of racism.
I object to mandatory anti-racism training for parents, especially when presented by the rent-seeking charlatans of Pollyanna. These sessions, in both their content and delivery, are so sophomoric and simplistic, so unsophisticated and inane, that I would be embarrassed if they were taught to Brearley kindergarteners. They are an insult to parents and unbecoming of any educational institution, let alone one of Brearley’s caliber….
I object to the gutting of the history, civics, and classical literature curriculums. I object to the censorship of books that have been taught for generations because they contain dated language potentially offensive to the thin-skinned and hypersensitive ….
Over the past several months, I have personally spoken to many Brearley parents as well as parents of children at peer institutions. It is abundantly clear that the majority of parents believe that Brearley’s antiracism policies are misguided, divisive, counterproductive and cancerous. Many believe, as I do, that these policies will ultimately destroy what was until recently, a wonderful educational institution. But as I am sure will come as no surprise to you, given the insidious cancel culture that has of late permeated our society, most parents are too fearful to speak up.
But speak up you must. There is strength in numbers and I assure you, the numbers are there. Contact the administration and the Board of Trustees and demand an end to the destructive and anti-intellectual claptrap known as antiracism. And if changes are not forthcoming then demand new leadership. For the sake of our community, our city, our country and most of all, our children, silence is no longer an option.
The Board of Trustees and the administration have listened carefully to and consulted extensively with several committed and concerned groups of students, parents and alumnae over the last few weeks. There is collective agreement to enact the following measures, among other initiatives. Most are already in active development, and all will be moving forward by the beginning of the school year. Through them we are taking significant steps toward creating an inclusive, anti-racist community that ensures that the identities of all families and students are respected, supported and celebrated. External experts are guiding the work as needed to help us make certain that we are using the upcoming months to make important and necessary progress. At Brearley we will:
- Conduct an independent equity audit and climate survey of our school led by Dr. Jacobs.
- Conduct an independent audit of our hiring processes and incorporate recommendations to increase the number of faculty of color.
- Initiate the development and teaching of an inclusive curriculum that evidences cultural competence. This will be accomplished in partnership with content area experts and pedagogical coaches.
- Establish a K-XII anti-racist program for students.
- Create an explicit response to racist comments and actions in our Code of Conduct and explore a reconciliation model for those who are harmed.
- Begin mandatory anti-racist training for trustees, faculty, staff, students and parents.
- Hire an Associate Director of Equity and Community Engagement and appoint equity leaders in each division.
- Develop and invest in new programs for Black students including funding for affinity group activities, alumnae mentoring and counseling support.
- Develop an external reporting mechanism for incidents in conflict with school policies.
- Amend our mission and diversity statements to reflect our commitment to being an anti-racist community.
- Include commitment to anti-racism in admission and hiring materials, and the commitment and consequences for acts of racism in Student, Parent, Faculty and Staff Handbooks.
- Include anti-racist practices and pedagogy criteria in faculty/staff hiring and performance evaluations.
- Include an intolerance for racism in student enrollment and employee contracts and Trustee responsibilities.
- Provide detailed updates to the community on a regular basis.
Our focus moving forward is to foster a more equitable and inclusive community in which every student, past and present, can thrive and feel enriched and proud of their experiences at The Brearley School. We cannot do this until we also center the reconciliation work that must be done to repair, to the extent possible, the impact of systemic racism at Brearley.
It’s goint to take a lot more people speaking out and pulling their kids out of schools before there will be any change.DONATE
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