The sixth-ranked high school in the state of Illinois will host an “Anti-Racism and Inclusivity Week” over Zoom for students to “discuss and reflect on the equity issues we face today.” From March 29 to April 1, Adlai E Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill. will deliver 12 critical race theory trainings for the student body.
“As author and activist Dr. Ibram X. Kendi teaches us, it is not enough to be not racist. We must be anti-racist,” an unlisted video put out by the school featuring several students introducing the event states. The video states in full:
At Stevenson, we are working with our entire school community to ensure that every student feels valued, and to celebrate our diversity as a strength of our school community. As author and activist Dr. Ibram X. Kendi teaches us that it is not enough to be not racist, we must be anti-racist, we are working even harder to demonstrate that commitment.
We are excited to announce Stevenson’s very first Anti-Racism and Inclusivity Week, running from March 29 – April 1, where many SHS clubs will collaborate with the student body to spread the message of the importance of inclusivity in our school. Students will have the opportunity to learn, discuss and reflect on the equity issues we face today. All with the goal of learning to actively challenge racism as a united antiracist school community.
The FIRE Club is partnering with B.A.S.S and other clubs to organize this week’s worth of amazing events. We hope to see you there!
15 FOIAs Down the Drain
Parents and students affiliated with Stevenson High school read about a critical race theory training in a nearby Illinois school district this month — Naperville 203. They realized a similar event was happening in their own district, and have been unsuccessful in broaching the issue with the administration.
“We don’t know how to push back or what to do. Some of us have written letters to the Superintendent, but the answers are predictable and specific items we bring up are not addressed,” the parents of a senior at the school said in a statement to The Federalist. “We’re 100 percent for equality. We are for a meritocracy, rather than judging people by the color of their skin or their immutable characteristics.”
“My fundamental issue is that CRT [critical race theory] is not an American theory. It’s more of a Marxist theory,” the father of the senior added. “I feel that not enough people in our district, over 4,000 students, are aware of what this all means. They think it sounds good. They are 100 percent in on this program, so we are quite frustrated. Our school board is also 100 percent on board with this.”
The mother of a sophomore and senior at the school claims she has sent 17 Freedom of Information Act requests to Stevenson in the past, on topics ranging from expenditures, construction projects, district surveys, to teacher contracts. She says all requests but two have been denied.
“They are notorious for just brushing off any requests for information,” the woman said.
Civics In Peril
In December, the state of Illinois approved “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards” intended to require educators to “assess how their biases …affect …how they access tools to mitigate their own behavior (racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege, Eurocentrism, etc).”
“In Illinois, the semi-official civics website tied to the implementation of the state’s civics law, illinoiscivics.org, has been heavily promoting critical race theory, the culturally responsive teaching philosophy that grows out of critical race theory, and the white fragility-style training sessions connected to culturally responsive teaching,” Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told The Federalist in early March.
“The new teaching standards apply directly to the training required for teacher certification, and to any professional development workshops attended by current teachers,” Kurtz added. He is one of the leading experts in the nation studying Illinois civics curricula. “The Illinois State Board of Education denies that this will have any effect on classroom teaching, but that denial is unpersuasive. Shawn Healy, the leading public supporter and implementer of the 2015 Illinois civics law, has recommended telling parents who object to the use of CRT-derived pedagogies that the new state standards make them effectively mandatory in current classrooms.”
CRT is not just happening in Illinois. It is happening across the country.
“It feels more like a race hustle,” said a high school senior at Stevenson who is attending Iowa State University next fall. “It’s just another way for the left to push forward political agendas in an apolitical setting.”
“Why do I have to show someone that I’m not racist?” said a senior in the district who is headed to Indiana University-Bloomington in the fall. “I know that I’m not. I think it’s just very troubling to me that our school is trying to put this political agenda upon all these students.”
“I’m not a fan of this,” said the mother of an eighth-grade student who will be attending Stevenson next year. “I think it just drives a wedge between people based on the color of their skin.”
A Diversity Director Pulling Six-Figures
The forthcoming anti-racism week can be traced back to this summer — when riots pillaged city after city in the name of “social justice.”
“We feel now is the time to really improve our efforts inside and outside the building to educate ourselves with equity, diversity and inclusion,” Superintendent Eric Twadell said in July. Thus, Adlai E Stevenson High school announced it was hiring a “Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” named LeViis Haney.
School officials noted in August that a “systemic, institutionalized change” would be ushered in with this hiring. Haney’s position entails amending school policy to reflect diversity and equity values and leading affirmative section efforts for employee hiring. In a document obtained by The Federalist, the school outlines Haney’s job description.
Dr. Haney will … (1) make important decisions related to revisions of school policy and procedures; (2) support the professional learning of faculty and staff; (3) guide insights into practices related to teaching and learning; (4) advocate for students from diverse backgrounds; (5) collaborate with administration to recruit, hire, and mentor additional faculty of color; and, (6) evaluate and advise needed changes to insure that Stevenson’s school culture promotes the values of diversity and inclusion.
According to school spokeswoman Jaimie Oh, Haney is earning close to $170,000 annually. This was confirmed in a FOIA request sent by The Federalist to Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Sean Carney.
“Not only is being paid $170,000 for diversity training useless for taxpayer dollars but also for students,” said the senior going to Iowa State, “I feel like having him hired will only instigate more discrimination. When you hire someone to look into areas that don’t have problems, they will find problems that don’t exist. Haney is going to find a way to make everything a racial issue, and it will hurt the school.”
“They are paying someone $170,000 a year instead of getting teachers school supplies. At the end of the day, it’s taxpayer money,” said the other student.
Equity, Access, and Inclusivity Plan
Also in July, the school rolled out a comprehensive “Equity, Access, and Inclusivity” plan that will support “the national Black Lives Matter movement.” The school praised BLM as exemplifying the “portrait of a patriot” and said faculty, staff, administration, and students unilaterally stand with the Marxist organization.
Here is the comprehensive plan obtained by The Federalist.
The plan outlines a “diversity council” to partner with school clubs and organizations to provide widespread forums on equity and inclusion.
“We know it can be challenging to engage in conversations around race, bias, and privilege,” the plan says. Our staff “have also learned how to uncover and disrupt in themselves, and in others, racial assumptions and biases in their thinking and professional practice.”
“I think this is going to create more division. It’s going to negatively impact the students,” said the mother of the freshman student.
Guilty Until Proven Innocent Protocol
The new standards adopted by the school include a “protocol for reporting incidents of race-based offensive behavior.”
If a student or family reports an incident of racial discrimination, an assigned social worker will execute a three-step process. The social worker will contact the person alleging discrimination, report the “offensive behavior” to the school, then follow-up with the person accused to “confirm the offending behavior has stopped.”
In other words, students are guilty until proven innocent. Forget due process at Stevenson High.
“It right away says that anybody who gets complained about is basically issued an offender,” the mother of the sophomore and senior noted.
“This is a really, really big issue,” a senior said. “This is not how our courts work. People can now just make up stuff in the school to be racially motivated. It will be much harder for a white student to defend themselves.”
Teacher Struggle Sessions
In a section outlining how teachers will evolve to the new plan, the school outlines three years of critical race theory training. In the first “cadre,” educators are to learn about “racial & cultural identity formation” and practice the “understanding of [self] as a racial and cultural being.” The required reading is “So You Want To Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo.
“Yes, racism and racial oppression in America is horrible and terrifying,” writes Olou. “The feelings it brings up are justifying. But it is also everywhere, in every corner of our lives …But running won’t help when it’s in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves” (page 7).
The second-year of staff and faculty sessions focuses on “microaggressions,” “implicit bias and racial harassment,” and “social justice standards.” The required reading is “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo. DiAngelo is well-known as the anti-racist coach who told employees at Coca-Cola trainings to “try to be less white” before she removed the videos from LinkedIn.
The third and final year of staff training culminates in the reading of Ibram X. Kendi’s book “How To Be an Antiracist.” Teachers are to use “the lens of equity, race and inclusion for systems analysis to create an inclusive school climate for all students.” Kendi writes:
Some white people do not identify as White for the same reason they identify as not-racist: to avoid reckoning with the ways that Whiteness—even as a construction and mirage—has informed their notions of America and identity and offered them privilege …It is a racial crime to be yourself if you are not White in America. (page 38)
Funneling Of Ideology
The goal of these struggle sessions seems to be to funnel the ideas to the impressionable students. But two parents think the Stevenson educators are just as impressionable, as they are being lectured discreetly by private entities like The Robert C. McCormick Foundation in nearby Chicago, which is providing Illinois’ new “civics” materials.
“There’s a move to have all the teachers talking about an issue they really don’t understand,” said the father of a senior.
McCormick, which funds public school seminars in Illinois, issued a white paper in 2020 called “Equity in Civic Education” to distribute to districts across the nation. Stevenson High school, was recognized by McCormick as a school “dedicated to expanding and improving civic learning experiences across the curriculum” in 2013. In 2018, the organization pumped about $80 million into its various public and private investments — 460 grants combined.
“McCormick has used its wealth to take de facto control of the Illinois civics curriculum, in the same way the Gates Foundation took de facto control of reading and math through Common Core,” Kurtz wrote in National Review a few months ago.
The Illinois school declined to comment on the role, if any specifically, McCormick has in the upcoming anti-racism week.
What We Know About the Upcoming Student Sessions
To kick off the week of upcoming trainings at Stevenson, Mykee Fowlin will lecture on “worldwide inclusion.” Fowlin’s website says he frequently provides “peer mediation, diversity trainings, [and] gender equity workshops.” Fowlin is being paid $2,000 to speak for 90 minutes, or $22 a minute, the spokeswoman for the school confirmed.
The same day, March 29, students will also attend a seminar that defines what “the difference is between Latino/a and Latinx?” According to a nationwide poll in November 2019, 98 percent of Latinos reject the phrase “Latinx” as a leftist construct.
On Tuesday, students will gather for “Identity Circles.” Tuesday will also feature a social justice “slam poetry open mic” night from 7:00 to 8:00 pm.
An event on Wednesday will provide a lecture on “political strategies.” Students will learn about how “substance abuse prevention strategies” have “hurt marginalized communities in the past.”
Wednesday will usher students into a “Writer’s Round Table.” According to the description, high schoolers will go around and discuss how “race in [their] writing and “race in what [they] read” impacts their worldview. All trainings are listed here.
‘Planting These Seeds’
“One of my biggest concerns with all this is when you bring all these things to the school, and the curriculum, you are introducing ideas into the kids’ minds that were not there before. They are planting these seeds,” the mother of a senior said.
“There shouldn’t be anything like this in school,” the mother of the sophomore and senior said, “nothing. Extracurricular activities should be nothing but sports, sciences, other things like if someone wants to create a hiking club, but nothing to do with politics. Nothing.”
The conservative student going to Iowa State noted he (or she) will be attending anti-racism week in order to speak out. He (or she) wished to challenge the one-sided narrative, especially on behalf of younger students who are more impressionable.
“I’m not going to be quiet. I’m going to voice my opinions,” the student said.
“It all starts before they ever get to high school,” the mother of the eighth-grader said of this extremist curricula. “The other side is loud. Everybody [else] is afraid to speak,” she added. “Maybe there is more of us than we thought.”