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Judicial Watch Obtains Critical Race Teacher Training Guide For Westerly, Rhode Island

Judicial Watch Obtains Critical Race Teacher Training Guide For Westerly, Rhode Island

Judicial Watch “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.”

We don’t teach Critical Race Theory! But how dare you try to stop us from teaching what we don’t teach!

That’s pretty much the argument you will find at almost all school districts. As explained a gazillion times, you will not find a third-grade book called Critical Race Theory. Instead, you find the race-focused principles of CRT under other names, such as “antiracism,” “equity,” and “culturally responsive learning.”

Ramona Bessinger, the Providence Middle School teacher subject to retaliation for blowing the whistle on CRT subterfuge, detailed this linguistic gamesmanship in her column at Legal Insurrection, I’m A Middle School Teacher And See How Critical Race Curriculum Is Creating Racial Hostility In School:

I love being a teacher and I care a great deal about my students, almost all of whom are non-white.  This past 2020/21 school year was a sad and worrisome turning point for me as an educator. Providence K-8 teachers were introduced to one of the most racially divisive, hateful, and in large part, historically inaccurate curriculums I have ever seen in my teaching career.

Yes, I am speaking about the controversial critical race theory that has infiltrated our public schools here in Rhode Island under the umbrella of Cuturally Responsive learning and teaching, which includes a focus on identities. You won’t see the words “critical race theory” on the materials, but those are the concepts taught. The new, racialized curriculum and materials focuses almost exclusively on an oppressor-oppressed narrative, and have created racial tensions among students and staff where none existed before.

One key in all this is the teacher training.

Judicial Watch reports that it obtained a document from a whistleblower regarding Westerly School District in Rhode Island and found training materials that fit right in with what we have come to expect.

Judicial Watch reports at its website, Judicial Watch Exposes Critical Race Theory Teacher Training in Rhode Island’s Westerly School District:

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.

Judicial Watch then elaborated on what it found:

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.

Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch, summarized:

“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.”

Whistleblowers are key, because school districts play games on public records requests. State legislators need to improve educational transparency, so that it’s not necessary for whistleblowers to leak documents about what is being taught and how teachers are being trained.

The Westerly School District Superintendent declined to comment in response to the Judicial Watch press release.


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Amazing how it requires a whistleblower to share this information, when all teacher training materials should be readily available on a website created by a school district that is proud to be transparent about such matters.

    bhwms in reply to alohahola. | October 12, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    It shouldn’t be hard to root out this rot – just some time and perseverance. Ask the School District for a list of all expenditures and contracts made for teacher training, in-service meetings, workshops and faculty/employee presentations. Include any where teachers were reimbursed for obtaining the training outside of the school district.

    Just like now we know the Highlander Institute is a leftist CRT pusher, we also know of others. As we do this more and more across the country, we will start to see a pattern emerge of the groups and people who are behind all this nonsense. I’m sure some journalists, researchers, and other groups already have lists from which to start.

Yes. As I’ve said elsewhere, the schools are not teaching CRT, they are applying CRT. The teachers, principals, union leaders, and staffers are using CRT to attack the foundation of our country. It’s been working, too. The last couple generations have used the predecessors of CRT and we can see how that’s turned out: the cry bullies in our universities and colleges, the business, HR, and educational staffers who push these ideas into the workplace, and the political leaders who bow to this.

Now, CRT — what the previous generation has done but with more ideological organization, and a brazen enough plot — we’re all racists — to allow the advocates to do this more openly.

Power by any means necessary. That’s the end-goal here. How teachers think they’ll escape the consequences I’m not sure, unless they plan to be the perfect apparatchiks.

    Arminius in reply to stevewhitemd. | October 10, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    “Yes. As I’ve said elsewhere, the schools are not teaching CRT, they are applying CRT.”

    And when they apply CRT principles they do so under other names such as “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI). When you are on to them let them know that you know that’s CRT by another name they shriek, “OMG, only a racist can be against diversity, equity, and inclusion!”

    And we’re supposed to be stupid enough not to see through this, or spineless enough not to speak up or do anything about it..

      bhwms in reply to Arminius. | October 12, 2021 at 1:11 pm

      One thing we should all do is demand the State Universities eliminate all their DEI officers and staff – they are detrimental to the mission of an affordable education for state residents. Same with race-segregated spaces, dorms, and classes. Do this through the legislature – we control the majority of the legislatures. If the Reps are vertebrates, they should be able to do this.

Are they teaching that 13% of the population commits > 60% of the nation’s violent crime?

    Ben Kent in reply to MAJack. | October 10, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    MAjack – remember – the progressive creed.

    >> Facts are Racist.
    >> Stating inconvenient facts is hurtful neo-terrorism
    >> Reason and Logical are racist.
    >> Objective reality is Racist.
    >> Identifying and addressing real problems is Racist.
    >> Anybody that object to any of the above is a White Supremacist.

    This means that 98% of the people outside the major cities in the USA are racist.
    >> Too many people reject the woke agenda.
    That’s why they need gov’t to indoctrinate the kids and enforce it with military and FBI.

    artichoke in reply to MAJack. | October 10, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    “It’s just evidence of systemic racism.” That is surely the right answer in their worldview.

      Arminius in reply to artichoke. | October 10, 2021 at 10:59 pm

      After the Bolshevik revolution the communists designated traditional criminals (murderers, rapists, thieves, etc.) a friendly social class. They had only become criminals because of the oppressive czarist/capitalist system. While they weren’t stupid enough to release them, they put them in charge of the gulags and gave them privileged positions over their common enemy. Anyone associated with the hostile bourgeoisie class.

      That’s one of the main reasons the Gulags were so murderous.

      The CRT mongering Marxists see things the same way but they use different terms than traditional Marxists. Criminals like George Floyd only became criminals because of the oppressive white supremacist, racist capitalist system. Jacob Blake only raped his girlfriend, kidnapped the children (some of which weren’t his, and none of whom he had custody), and threatened a cop with a knife because, racism.

      See how it works?

There are a few things in their materials worth discussing. In the end, this isn’t about whether little Johnny learns anything or not, whether little Johnny feels successful or not, whether little Johnny has a sense of accomplishment or not rather it is all about whether little Johnny feels like he is a part of the group and his feelings are reflected.
I found the two students in the case studies to be interesting. Maybe you have to be there, but it appeared from the information divulged that Student #1 came from a home situation where he is given very little attention and no one seems to care if he learns anything at school or not. He has not adapted socially to group situations and doesn’t understand the concept of cooperative learning. I doubt he has any personal goals and has no clue what he thinks his future has in store for him. In other words, he has no connections with the real world and it will take some serious work to develop personal goals with him much less have him involved in his personal plan of learning. Student 2 at least seems to have someone in his life who cares and has been involved with him. He has talents that he is willing to share with others and takes pride in being a part of the group. He makes connections with real-world situations and can apply them to his own learning. He is more socially adaptive and will likely take an active role in his own success.
I would love to see the “teacher’s notes” on the discussion of these two students. It appears that the teacher of Student 1 attempted to reach him and tried to be at least understanding of his home situation. The negatives he received at a younger age are weighing him down now!
Is it just me or did anyone else who went through the powerpoint get the impression that this CRT or CRSP or whatever name it goes by is all about how the student feels and not about what the student knows/has learned? A case could be made here that this is all about working as a group rather than anything individually. I would be curious about the grading system adopted by this school system. I have seen cases before where all students in a group are given the same grade without regard to contribution to the group’s work product. In many of these cases, the level of achievement falls considerably when it is recognized that those who do the most and even learn the most are rewarded with the exact same reward (grade) as those who were disruptive and contributed next to nothing. This has been well-documented in all kinds of classes at all levels with all kinds of students.
As a matter of record, I will share a personal story. I changed schools and districts about 20 years ago. At that time, I was the newbie so I got 2 classes of students who were well below grade level, had largely been labeled as “slower”, majority minority and majority lived in poverty. There were 35 of them in each class–a fact that made individualizing instruction very difficult. It was also common for fights to break out multiple times a week. The first day of the semester and the first class to enter the room brought the observation from a student that “Well, I’m in the dumb class again.” I asked what made her say that and she told me that everyone in there had failed at least one class the year before (surprisingly, some of them had failed EVERY class yet were promoted because of age or size). I spent the first month identifying each student’s strengths and weaknesses and then trying to group them so that those in the group were in similar circumstances educationally. We changed groups usually 3 times per class period and also changed the “main topic”. I intermingled group work and individual work, group work at the beginning of each topic and each day, and then some individual practice, not too much. I “lectured” for maybe 5 minutes per topic and then gave group time to deal with examples. During this time, I moved from group to group to monitor their “learning” and to guide them along if they were having difficulty. I managed to slide in some more advanced concepts (that other classes on or above grade level) might be working on. After the first couple of times I did my “magic slides”, I told the class that they had done work that students at an upper level were also doing. Of course, it was met with skepticism until I pulled the very assignment up on the computer complete with the upper level course name and displayed it for all to see. They were amazed. What was even funnier was that some of the students from the upper classes found out that they were doing their problems and sought out help from my students. The moral of my story is that it isn’t as much about being a racial thing as it is about being a believing in yourself thing, a confidence thing, and a trust thing. Introducing race just puts up barriers of mistrust among students. The purveyors of these CRT materials may believe in their methods. Personally, I believe it’s more about cooperation, self-image, self-respect which leads to general respect, pride in your own accomplishments and setting personal goals, achieving them and setting new goals.

    alohahola in reply to 20keto20. | October 10, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    It’s all about intrusion and minimization of the individual .

    In many respects, it is a form of surveillance.

    Ben Kent in reply to 20keto20. | October 10, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    Great point. We need to build up kids. Not tell them they are oppressed or are oppressive. Which makes them either feel worthless or guilty- depending on which skin color the kid happens to be.

    artichoke in reply to 20keto20. | October 10, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    Upvoted for good teaching. But not sure this is on point here. If you had to do it the CRT way, it would have imposed extra constraints and goals to get in your way. Did you make sure your white students did no better than the nonwhite students?

    Dathurtz in reply to 20keto20. | October 10, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    Yep. Kids have to have pride in what they can do. But, that means they have to be able to do something worthy of being proud of.

    I wish our educrats understood that positive self-image is important, but it is only good if it is justified. Being told you’re great when you know you’re not is pretty bad.

    CommoChief in reply to 20keto20. | October 10, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks for that story! I took a similar approach to Soldiers. I was always willing to take the kids others didn’t want. Spend a bit of time identifying what their issue is, provide discipline and structure and a little encouragement and these ‘broken’ Soldiers perform to standard. Don’t give them room for excuses or ‘hugs and kisses’, just better leadership with rewards for success and punishment for failure.

    Everyone is capable of raising their performance if properly motivated to do so and treated fairly along the way. Some have some edges that need polishing off and that can be done by leaders who earn their trust. Only a very few in my experience couldn’t ultimately be reformed into productive Soldiers.

    bullhubbard in reply to 20keto20. | October 11, 2021 at 10:04 am

    “Student-centered” learning is a lie. Paolo Friere should be discredited for the sloppy utopian Marxist he is, the man responsible for setting back education for at least 100 years.

“We don’t teach Critical Race Theory! But how dare you try to stop us from teaching what we don’t teach!”

And the teachers unions have started a legal defense fund to defend teachers who violate state laws that prohibit teaching CRT. Odd that these unions would need to start such a legal defense fund if their “current Soviet truth” is that nobody teaches CRT outside of law school.

It’s not just the public school teachers unions that try dodges similar to; “we don’t teach CRT, and we’ll defend the right of our union members to teach it to the death!” The DoD’s Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) is another race/ethnicity/queer/gender grievance studies dept., as radically left as any you’ll find on any college campus. And it too is a hotbed of CRT.

“The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute’s training for advisers teaches its students to “assume racism is everywhere, every day.” This is a “dangerous sentiment in any group,” the author says, and “potentially devastating in the military.” Here, soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division attend the equal opportunity course at Camp Casey, South Korea, in February 2013.”

Note the date. The DoD has been training enlisted troops who almost always have only HS degrees in obscure-law-school-only-CRT for nearly 10 years.

“By Senior Chief Jim Murphy, U.S. Navy (Retired)
January 2014 Proceedings Vol. 140/1/1,331

…Criticism of DEOMI last October involved a lesson on Power and Privilege, chapter EOAC-3000 of the Equal Opportunity Advisor Course student guide. The chapter emphasizes how “power and privilege can sometimes create exclusive work environments at the expense of others” and introduces students to the concept of white privilege. Two themes of that chapter deserve scrutiny. The first is that white males gain privileges and success through “unearned advantage.” The second is the assumption that “racism is everywhere.”

…Likely anticipating controversy, DEOMI labeled the chapter on Power and Privilege with the phrases “FOR TRAINING PURPOSES ONLY” and “DO NOT USE ON THE JOB” [emphasis not added]. These phrases, which appear only once, will not prevent the concepts and conclusions from influencing equal opportunity advisers in the force. In fact, parts of the chapter are quite directive. One such area is a section detailing how advisers should seek to become a “strong white ally” so they can “increase their social, political, and economic power” as means for overcoming racism and discrimination. This is also where students are instructed to “assume racism is everywhere” while also being told to “attack the source of power” as a strategy for combating racism. These are not lessons intended for training purposes only; they are meant to shape adviser behaviors…

Note the similar dodge DEOMI uses? “Oh, we teach CRT but for training purposes only. We put a warning label on the “Power and Privilege” chapter that says that what students learn from that chapter isn’t to be used on the job.”

And then as the Senior Chief notes, every other chapter directs the student E.O. advisers to use what they learned from that chapter on the job.

Mitch McConnell is my hero. He protected us from Merritt Garland. Things are looking bleak these days. Can you imagine this totalitarian stooge on the Supreme Court?

Push back. Go on the offensive. These people need to be stopped, now.

Steven Brizel | October 13, 2021 at 1:20 pm

CRT is a dangerous cultural pandemic that is infecting our schools and country, and culture.