Providence (RI) Schools Appear To Abandon Segregated Teacher Meetups After Legal Insurrection Challenge
On February 28, 2023, there is another teacher meetup organized by the PPSD DEI Working Group, but this time the promotional material does not on its face limit attendence to non-white teachers.
The Providence Public School District (PPSD), the largest district in Rhode Island, is a disaster that got so bad it was taken over by the State of Rhode Island. But results remain abysmal. Recently released state testing data are shocking:
In Providence, the state’s largest school district, 13.1 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in English language arts (down 1 percentage point from 2021), and 9.8 percent were proficient in math (up 3 percentage points from 2021).
Against this background of failure, PPSD devotes enormous resources to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programming, and curriculum in many schools has been revamped to advance oppressor/opressed racial narratives, as exposed by whistleblower teacher Ramona Bessinger.
Some of the DEI initiatives appear to cross legal lines. We have written about how Legal Insurrection Foundation has challenged a new teacher loan forgiveness hiring program open only to non-whites. That matter now is before the EEOC, after a referral transfer from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.
Legal Insurrection also challenged a January 19, 2023, segregated PPSD-organized teacher meetup organized by PPSD’s DEI Working Group in conjuction with a group called Empower, Segregated Providence (RI) Teacher Event Open Only to “Educators of Color” Challenged By Legal Insurrection Foundation:
We have received multiple tips about problems with equity racism in PPSD, including an “Educators of Color Meet Up” organized by PPSD at an outside venue that was promoted as being for non-white educators, who were the only people invited, and the event registration form had only non-white races and ethnicities listed.
You can read the full letter here we send to the event venue. Here is the text:
I write on behalf of the Legal Insurrection Foundation (“LIF”), a Rhode Island tax-exempt non-profit that, among other things, seeks to ensure equal protection and non-discrimination in education, and that opposes racial discrimination in America’s schools.
On Thursday, January 19, 2023, between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., The Nelson Event Center at Lang’s Bowlerama (“NEC”) is scheduled to be the venue for an event titled “PPSD Educator of Color Meetup” (the “Event”), organized and sponsored by the Providence Public School District (“PPSD”). The event poster (Exhibit A) indicates that the Event is for “PPSD Educators of Color,” and the registration form (Exhibit B – https://archive.is/CV7ud) indicates that the purpose of the Event is “to bring Educators of Color together” (emphasis in original) and that “[w]e are inviting Educators of Color” to the event.
By its own terms – a Meet Up for “Educators of Color” with only Educators of Color invited – the Event has been promoted as racially exclusionary. Only non-whites have been invited, and the registration form contains a checklist of only non-white categories for attendees to use in self-identifying their race and ethnicity. The Event has been promoted by the PPSD on Facebook (https://archive.is/Cc1kH), PPSD’s website (https://archive.is/dKPJF), and internally using racially discriminatory terminology.
The purpose of this letter is to put NEC on notice of the racially discriminatory nature of the Event, since the event is taking place at NEC’s facility. Under clear Rhode Island and federal law, it is unlawful for a place of “public accommodation,” such as NEC, to discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity. See Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a(a), and Rhode Island Gen. Law § 11-24-2. While NEC does not appear to have organized the Event and may not have understood the discriminatory way in which the Event was promoted by PPSD when NEC agreed to provide the venue for the Event, by permitting its facility to be used for the Event, NEC’s legal non-discrimination obligations are implicated as a matter of law.
The anti-discrimination laws apply regardless of which race or ethnicity is victimized. Events that discriminate against whites are just as unlawful as events that discriminate against non-whites. Because the Event was promoted as a segregated event, the discriminatory taint cannot be wiped away.
Further, government-sponsored programs that discriminate on the basis of race are not only unconstitutional, but also offend state and federal civil rights statutes. By providing the venue for a known racially segregated program, NEC potentially could be held jointly liable for any such violations.
While it is profoundly distressing that a government entity like PPSD would engage in apparent racial discrimination, it is especially troubling that it wishes to do so just days after a federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose life was dedicated to the ideal of non-discrimination and racial healing.
We thank you for your attention to this letter, and we trust that you will be guided by the legal and moral demands for non-discrimination in a place of public accommodation.
After that letter, the January 19 event was moved to another location. We assume, but don’t know for a fact, that the event venue backed out. PPSD claimed it was all just a wording error in the sign up form, but that has little credibility as the purpose and terms were clear in the promotional material, Providence (RI) School District Backs Away From Segregated Teacher Event After Legal Insurrection Exposé.
At the end of that prior story I asked: “Has PPSD learned any lessons? Unlikely. So expect more reports.”
Well, I’m happy to report that PPSD might have learned a lesson not to hold a segregated teacher event. On February 28, 2023, there is another teacher meetup organized by the PPSD DEI Working Group again through Empower, but this time the promotional material does not on its face limit attendence to non-white teachers.
The event is not listed on Facebook, unlike the earlier event; it is on the PPSD website and appears to be promoted internally. The description does mention it’s an “Educators of Color” event, but has no exclusionary language:
The event poster also has no exclusionary language, and doesn’t even mention it’s for Educators of Color.
The registration form, unlike the prior registration form, is not open to the general public, it requires a PPSD email address. However, confidential sources have informed us that the new registration form no longer limits the race/ethnicity categories to non-whites – in fact, the registration form has eliminated race/ethnicity boxes altogether. Now it just has a blank line to be filled in for “Race/Ethnicity”.
So, while it’s still an affinity event, the exclusionary attendance terms appear to have been removed.
Has PPSD learned its lesson about not holding segregated teacher meetups? For the moment, yes, but Providence (RI) Schools Continue Anti-White New Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program As Investigation Moves To EEOC. So there are more lessons that the Providence school district needs to learn.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.
All they have learned is to be more careful about how they discriminate.
And not even that really, as shown by the forgiveness program.
The underlying racist attitudes are not changed at all, they are just trying to figure out how to navigate that pesky Professor from LI.
Good work Professor, you are awesome. Sincerely.
I have loved this corner of the Internet from the first blogpost I stumbled upon here.
I noted that the headline says “appear to abandon” so our hosts know as well as we do that it is likely only the overt meeting that has been changed.
Good. That type of clannish isolation is designed to reinforce mono-fixation ending in near cult like adherence, with little regard to the cause at hand: teaching English, math and American history and government.
“Equity and Belonging Office”, good lawd
I’d say belonging to one of the protected class and a union member who could never be fired is pretty darn equity.
“I am not alone in my why and purpose…”
“Plus I grammar goodly as exampling to my students.”
They hire the same marketing professionals as Derek Zoolander and his Center for Kids Who can’t Read Good and Wanna Do Other Stuff Good Too.
“navigating microaggressions”. How about growing thicker skin like white straight people have to do. lolz. Nobody is saying you have to wear armor like a minority conservative has to.
You know, I hate to say it as it may be construed wrong…the dark skinned people have been deluded into thinking they are going to get revenge on Whitey but the ones leading them on are navigating them back into slavery.
It isn’t the color of your skin nor the content of your character. It is about intelligence.
…and willingness to use it.
I’m sure a whole bunch of New Black Panther Party and Black Hebrew Israelites meetings don’t say “No Whites Allowed” anywhere either but it doesn’t have to be said now, does it.
I’d be interested to see what would happen if a school district organization would send out a letter worded identically, but rather than using “people of color” in it, replace that with “Caucasians”. Perhaps Legal Insurrection could host that for the Caucasian staff of PPS.