A number of parents in a Chicago area are upset because of their school’s plans to host seminars and workshops that would teach students about civil rights and police brutality. The problem is that many teachers across the United States lean left, and the parents who are demanding an end to this program say the curriculum they put together was “divisive” and “narrow”.
The group against these seminars, “The Parents of New Tier” have spoken out against the lessons, as well as started a petition against the classes. “The school went about this in a way that ensures it will be narrow and divisive,” said Betsy Hart, a mother of two children at the high school. Hart works for the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Other parents simply said that they did not want their children indoctrinated with politics at school. Other petitions have circulated asking for a wider range of speakers. However, all efforts have so far been ignored and the school plans to proceed with these lesson plans.
Fox has more:
A public school in one of Chicago’s wealthiest suburbs stepped into unforeseen controversy last week after deciding that its annual seminar would focus on race and civil rights.
Dozens of workshops planned for Tuesday at New Trier High School, located in Winnetka, Ill., will cover such topics as voter suppression, affordable housing and police brutality. Colson Whitehead, whose historical fiction “The Underground Railroad” has won literary accolades, will speak.
Administrators and many parents have said the seminar is particularly important because of the school’s population. About 85 percent of the school’s 4,000 students are white with similar demographics among the teachers. In Winnetka, home to the main campus, the median household income is more than $200,000 and stately brick mansions are common.
The school board said last week the civil rights seminar was already set, but some parents called the seminar too political and they urged the school to have more diverse speakers, Fox 32 Chicago reported.
The “Parents of New Trier” group said there is not enough diversity and the seminar day is too politically progressive and left-wing. The group, made up of several hundred parents, called for more conservative viewpoints.
Some parents and conservative groups have deemed the event during Black History Month “radical” and “divisive.” Dueling petitions circulated, heated emails were exchanged and hundreds of people packed a school board meeting beyond capacity.
“The school went about this in a way that ensures it will be narrow and divisive,” said Betsy Hart, who has two children enrolled. Hart, a senior writer at the conservative Heritage Foundation who says her school activism is separate from her day job, expects the parent group to continue pushing for more conservative voices at New Trier High.
Among some of the requests, the group wants to add research supporting voter identification laws to a session on voter suppression and ensure a panel on affirmative action includes contrasting views such as the suggestion that it’s detrimental for minorities.
The group presented the district with a binder full of research and an annotated schedule for the day: yellow highlights for language the parents find objectionable and green for suggested alternatives.
Still, most students and their parents have expressed support for the day. About 450 people signed a petition seeking different speakers versus roughly 5,000 signatures for keeping the lineup as is.
School administrators said parents had opportunities to air concerns, and adding last-minute speakers doesn’t boost the seminar’s quality.
“Critical thinking is about more than having two opposing views,” said Tim Hayes, an assistant superintendent.
“It’s a matter of the day being balanced. I see it as being too progressive and liberal,” she said. “You shouldn’t feel guilty for attending such a great school and having a great education. You should feel blessed.”