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Old 06-28-2020, 07:20 AM
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Default Half of teachers reject racially divided groups for DOE racism webina

https://nypost.com/2020/06/27/half-o...r-doe-webinar/

Half of teachers reject racially divided groups for DOE racism webinar
By Susan Edelman
June 27, 2020 | 6:25pm | Updated

Of 800 early childhood teachers who signed up for a city-sponsored “Anti-Racist Community Meeting,” half rejected an invitation to join racially divided discussion groups, officials told The Post — as critics ripped the initiative for perpetuating racial stereotypes.

Spurred by the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis and subsequent nationwide protests, Tuesday’s webinar hosted by the DOE’s early childhood division gave participants the option of joining breakout discussion groups to “share a specific aspect of identity.”

The choices included “blacks or African-American; Latinx; Middle Eastern and North African; multiracial or mixed; Native and Indigenous; Asian Pacific Islander American: and White Allies,” meaning whites considered anti-racist.

The webinar also gave staffers the option of not joining any affinity group.

“Around 400 employees chose to join an affinity group, so it was an even split between affinity and non-affinity participants,” said DOE spokeswoman Katie O’Hanlon.

The group discussions focused on two videos: “The myth of race, debunked in 3 minutes” and “How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi,” according to a schedule.

The breakout groups would “allow each participant to share their recommendations on how the (Division of Early Childhood Education) can move forward in its vision to be an antiracist organization.”

One participant in a non-affinity group told the Post it included blacks, Latinos and whites, and the discussion was harmonious.

“It was a productive because people had a chance to voice their concerns and help strategize a more welcoming school climate for different races,” the staffer said.

The webinar raised the ire of NYC civil-rights lawyers Michael Meyers and Norman Siegel after a report in The Post last week.


Norman "Oy!" Siegel
William C. Lopez/NY Post


“The very last thing we need in our 21st Century world is for the Department of Education, on your watch, to condone the propagation of fallacious notions of racial and/or ethnic stereotypes,” the lawyers said in a letter to Mayor de Blasio and schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

Meyers is president of the New York Civil Rights Coalition and and Siegel is former president of the New York Civil Liberties Union, or NYCLU.

“How can the DOE and teachers educate their students about the topic of race if they can’t openly discuss the topic across racial lines among themselves?” Siegel asked.

The DOE did not respond to the letter by Meyers and Siegel, but previously defended the racial groupings, saying they were voluntary.

The “allies” label for whites– the only racial group so marked — signifies “that white people have a particular role to play in advancing anti-racism,” the agency has said.
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