Little noticed 'racial bias' teacher training law seen as another unfunded mandate
Back in June, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation, with no fanfare, that requires “implicit racial bias” training for public school teachers during in-service days.
The controversial law received no media coverage until WirePoints, an online fiscal policy publication started by Mark Glennon, covered it in a recent story noting that if the law becomes another “self defeating chapter of identity politics” it will have the opposite of the desired effect of advancing minority students: it will lead to even “more divisiveness and failure.”
State Rep. Litesa Wallace (D-Rockford), who is running for lieutenant governor on the ticket with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss, sponsored the legislation. State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), who is challenging Rauner in the Republican primary, opposed it.
Ives has accused Rauner, who she also criticized earlier for signing legislation that publicly funds abortions and a separate bill making Illinois a sanctuary state, of betraying conservative and traditional Republican voters by proving himself to be “a social justice warrior” – especially since he ran on a fiscal platform and not a social one.
The Illinois Principals Association and the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) likewise opposed the bias training bill.
Ben Schwarm, deputy executive director of IASB, said the bill was another in a series of unfunded mandates that schools must comply with.
“It seems like we get at least six of these every year,” Schwarm said. “It takes its toll in a slow drip sort of way. Maybe this is something teachers should learn in their graduate or undergraduate programs.”
He added that it’s up to the districts to determine how to comply but that hiring outside consultants could be necessary, which will only add to the cost.
It could end up costing in other ways too, according to Glennon’s Dec. 11 column.
He writes that many champions of “equity” inflame the racial divisions they claim to oppose. He called out the National Seed Project, the Pacific Educational Group and their supporters. They are already working in many Illinois schools.
Glennon cites a City Journal article, “No Thug Left Behind,” published earlier this year, that tells the tragic story of the public schools in St. Paul, Minnesota, and their campaign against “white privilege.” In 2011, St. Paul Superintendent Valeria Silva decided that equity meant that the black student population be excluded from school at no more than twice the rate of Asian-Americans, the group with the lowest rate of suspensions. She hired PEG to implement the program.
Katherine Kersten, author of the story, wrote: “As 2015 drew to a close, violence and anarchy had increased so dramatically that suspensions – though a last resort – finally began to rise. In December, Silva announced that first-quarter suspensions were the highest in five years. Seventy-seven percent involved black students, who make up 30 percent of the district’s student population."
The kids lose in the end.
“Who pays the greatest price for misguided racial-equity discipline policies?” Kersten wrote. “The many poor and minority students who show up at school ready to learn. The breakdown of order that such policies promote is destined to make these children’s already-uphill struggle for a decent education even more daunting.”