In controversial “implicit bias” training, New York City’s public-school educators have been told to focus on black children over white ones — and one Jewish superintendent who described her family’s Holocaust tragedies was scolded and humiliated, according to firsthand accounts.
A consultant hired by the city Department of Education told administrators at a workshop that “racial equity” means favoring black children regardless of their socio-economic status, sources said.
“If I had a poor white male student and I had a middle-class black boy, I would actually put my equitable strategies and interventions into that middle class black boy because over the course of his lifetime he will have less access and less opportunities than that poor white boy,” the consultant, Darnisa Amante, is quoted as saying by those in the room.
“That’s what racial equity is,” Amante explained.
Mona Davids, president of the NYC Parents Union, was appalled.
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“It’s completely absurd — they want to treat black students as victims and punish white students. That defeats the purpose of what bias awareness training should be,” said Davids, who is black.
DOE spokesman Will Mantell would not say whether Chancellor Richard Carranza supports Amante’s statement about favoring black children.
“Anti-bias and equity trainings are about creating high expectations and improving outcomes for all of our students,” Mantell said in a statement. “These trainings are used across the country because they help kids, and out-of-context quotes and anonymous allegations just distract from this important work.”
The DOE’s anti-bias training — a $23 million mandatory program for all DOE employees — has irked some administrators, teachers and parents who contend parts are ugly and divisive.
Four white female DOE executives demoted under Carranza’s new regime plan to sue the city for racial discrimination, claiming whiteness has become “toxic,” The Post revealed last week.
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At a monthly superintendents meeting in the spring of 2018, shortly after Carranza’s arrival, members were asked to share answers to the question: “What lived experience inspires you as a leader to fight for equity?”
One Jewish superintendent shared stories about her grandmother Malka who told of bombs falling in Lodz, Poland, and running from the Nazis in the wee hours by packing up her four children and hiding in the forest, and her grandfather Naftali, who spent nearly six years in a labor and concentration camp, where he witnessed the brutal execution of his mother and sister.
“My grandparents taught me to understand the dangers of ‘targeted racism’ or the exclusion of any group, and the importance of equity for all people. This is my core value as an educator,” the superintendent told colleagues.
“At the break, I stood up and, to my surprise, I was verbally attacked by a black superintendent in front of my colleagues. She said ‘This is not about being Jewish! It’s about black and brown boys of color only. You better check yourself.’”
“I was traumatized,” the Jewish educator said. “ It was like 1939 all over again. I couldn’t believe this could happen to me in NYC!”
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However, two other superintendents — one black and one Dominican — defended the Holocaust comments as valid and vouched for their colleague as one who fights to level the playing field for all students.
In Manhattan, a middle-school teacher with her own kids in public schools, said the DOE training “is a catalyst for hate and division.”
“I have colleagues who won’t participate during ‘Courageous Conversations’ (the DOE protocol for implicit-bias workshops) because they don’t feel safe.”
She cringes at training phrases like “replacement thinking” and the disdain for “whiteness.”
“My ancestors were enslaved and murdered because of their religion, I am now being forced to become ‘liberated’ from my whiteness. I am being persecuted because of the circumstances of my birth. I was not aware that I needed to be liberated from how God created me.”
Despite Carranza’s contention that those who complain about the training need it the most, she said, “I will never be brainwashed by Richard Carranza and his minions. I cannot support a schools chancellor who is implicitly biased against me and my children.”
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Emboldened by his support, some of Carranza’s top managers openly use the expression “disrupt and dismantle” as a new battle cry for equity.
In her training session in February 2019, consultant Amante told DOE higher-ups to face the fact that issues of race, power and privilege will rise to the forefront and shake things up.
“Through this process of moving towards racial equity, we will have to pull layers back on who we are. You are going to have to talk about your power and your privilege. You will need to name your privilege,” Amante is quoted as saying.
She also warned that jobs in the new climate may be shaky.
“You are going to have to acknowledge that you will have to step back. You might fear losing your job. When we get to true racial equity you will have to define new institutional policies. This might feel dangerous because you are going to have to talk about race daily.”
Amante, a lecturer at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, is CEO of Disruptive Equity Education Project, or DEEP, a group aimed at “dismantling systemic oppression and racism,” it says. She did not respond to emails seeking comment.
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The DOE’s Office of Equity and Access has contracted DEEP for $175,000. Another anti-bias consultant, Glenn Singleton, the author of “Courageous Conversations,” which includes a critique of the “white supremacy culture,” has a $775,000 contract.
Some parent leaders support Carranza’s campaign.
“We agree with the chancellor that those who do not see the value in this work are the ones who must look inward harder,” said Shino Tanikawa, a parent in Manhattan’s District 2 and member of Mayor de Blasio’s School Diversity Advisory Group.
“This work requires everyone, including people of color, to look inward and confront prejudices we all harbor. For some of us, this work also requires us to acknowledge the privilege bestowed upon us by the power structure. It creates a great deal of discomfort but that is the nature of the work. Disrupting the system is difficult and sometimes painful.”
Story cited here.