Politics & Policy

This Is What a School District’s $100K-Per-Year White-Privilege Conference Teaches

You're racist and everything is all your fault.

Oregon’s Gresham-Barlow school district spends $100,000 each year on a white-privilege conference that teaches its faculty that they’re racist and should therefore blame themselves for student misbehavior.

The week-long “Coaching for Educational Equity” conference is mandatory for all administrators (and optional for teachers) in the Portland-area K–12 school district each year, according to the Education Action Group Foundation, a national non-partisan, non-profit education reform organization headquartered in Michigan.

EAG reports that school-board member Dan Chriestenson recently obtained the conference materials after a long battle with the Oregon Center for Educational Equity, the private nonprofit that presents the conference.

“Many white people in Oregon have no idea that our schools and state are immersed in white culture and are uncomfortable and harmful to our students of color, while also reinforcing the dominant nature of white culture in our white students and families,” one of the conference documents explains.

The manual defines this “white culture” with a list of values, such as “promoting independence, self expression, personal choice, individual thinking and achievement,” because apparently those are strictly “white” concepts and not emphasized in black communities.

The training instructs participants to stop “blaming when students don’t meet standards” and instead start “examining our beliefs and practices when students don’t meet standards.” It advises faculty to avoid “controlling or teaching discipline to students” and to instead think about “changing school practices that alienate students and lead to disruptions.”

It also tells participants to stop calling dropouts “dropouts” and to call them “pushouts” instead — after all, these kids clearly had no choice. They were basically kicked out of school by all of the white privilege.

#related#Of course, saying “dropout” isn’t the only language no-no emphasized in the training. The manual contains a whole list of things that faculty should not say because they’re “microaggressions,” such as “Where are you from?” because that’s code for saying “You are not American.” (This same instruction was also given at University of California system trainings last year.)

The conference materials also include a document explaining the “attitudes and behaviors” that allow participants to become “Anti-Racist White Allies” — the first line of which is: “All white people are racist. I am racist.”

In case you think that $100,000 per year is kind of a lot of money for a public school to spend on something like this, don’t fret. It seems to be pretty effective in achieving its aims:

“The examination has brought me to where I can recognize that I am a white male racist with power and an inherent stake in the dominant culture for that is what has allowed and given me social and financial success,” one participant declared, according to conference materials.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.   

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