• Darien Public Schools Outsources Focus Group Facilitation To Controversial, Partisan Group

    Darien High School, Public Domain.

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    In his December 14th communication to staff and families, Superintendent Dr. Alan Addley referenced upcoming Board of Education Communications Committee related focus groups that will be facilitated by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE). 

    While innocuous sounding at first glance, a deeper dive into CABE reveals potentially concerning content on its public site, including partisan articles by former Executive Director Robert Rader along with an entire section of their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resources page dedicated specifically to "White Privilege."

    In a CABE commentary publication on survey questions around the daily effects of white privilege, the concept is described as: "It is a Belief (some would say “fact”) which suggests that white people in our society have certain advantages as a result of their race. As the majority of people in our country are white and have been in positions of power throughout our history, society naturally provides whites with certain advantages that have to be “earned”, if they are possessed at all, by people of color." Statements in the survey around the effects of white privilege, per the piece, include:

    • "I can choose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin."
    • "If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones."
    • "I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color."
    • "I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race."

    The CABE website also has training material on their site that includes racial equity tools for affecting systemic change to be anti-racist. 

    Interestingly, Darien Board of Education Chairperson Jill McCammon is listed as an Area 6 CABE Director. Does this mean she endorses the more potentially controversial elements found on this site including the white privilege analysis described above?

    In a similar situation in 2021, the Administration, with funding from the Board of Education, looked to a third party and hired controversial consultant Ken Shelton -- co-author of Grading Can Be Capitalist, Racist, and Exploitative -- as part of the district's DEI agenda. In our view, this generated unnecessary media attention on our town and became an unneeded distraction from focusing on academics. Why is the Board of Education Communications Committee going down a potentially similar path once again by employing CABE as a focus group facilitator?

    Why is Darien employing a third party that essentializes race and identity to oversee staff and parental focus groups? Does the Board of Education also believe in collectively indicting people in the present for historical "sins" solely by virtue of their skin color?

    Darien Parents issued a call to action, asking concerned parents to say no to controversial third party groups and to sign up for the focus groups by clicking here.  The sign-up closes on Friday, January 5th at 3pm. The sessions will be held as follows:

    • January 17th: High School Parents: 8:15 - 9:45 AM
    • January 17th: Elementary Parents: 10:00 - 11:30 AM
    • January 17th: Middle School Parents: 11:45 - 1:15 PM
    • January 18th: Parents from any age group: 6:00 - 7:30 PM

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