April 14, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Parent abandons SMSD due to CRT indoctrination

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Shawnee Mission parent Jeff Arant has decided to homeschool his soon-to-be kindergartner because he doesn’t want his son exposed to the district’s critical race theory (CRT) indoctrination.

Parents pulled kids from public schools in droves last year, according to the U.S. Census. Its household pulse survey noted a sharp uptick of 5.6% in parents who said they are homeschooling.  According to the Kansas Department of Education, Shawnee Mission lost almost 1,300 students last year or about 5% of previous enrollment.  Now, they can add one more to the list.

Arant learned the district uses Deep Equity, a program designed by Gary Howard, to train teachers. He decided not to send his children to Shawnee Mission schools.

“I want (my kids) to grow up with traditional American values,” Arant said. “I want them to learn that hard work generally is and should be rewarded. I want them to know that America’s not a perfect place, but it’s a really good place and it’s worth preserving.”

Arant also spoke to a reporter at the Daily Wire about his decision.

“Deep Equity being taught in our school district was the deciding factor [in leaving the district],” Jeffrey Arant said. “If we sent our children to our school district where Deep Equity is being taught, they would be singled out because of a characteristic they had no choice in — race … I’m not sure how my soon-to-be kindergartener can have a healthy and meaningful friendship with another child when they see him as an oppressor.”

Shawnee Mission spent $400k on CRT training for teachers

So when he learned the Shawnee Mission School District spent $400,000 on Corwin’s Deep Equity Training, Arant decided to homeschool. As the Sentinel reported two weeks ago, Deep Equity is based on the premise that student achievement is suppressed by white privilege. 

“What really, really gave me an excessive amount of pause is that the Shawnee Mission School District is 4,300 teachers and staff strong. And from what I’ve been told from a teacher who went through the Deep Equity training, this is mandatory,” Arant said. “It’s done under the guise of professional development during in-service days.”

The training, according to the website, doesn’t stop with teacher training. It seeks to push its lessons into classrooms.

“What really gave me pause is that the website mentions that the lessons are for K-12. It’s for kids as young as 5,” Arant said. “We are absolutely going to have none of that for our son.”

Schools and even the Kansas State Board of Education say critical race theory isn’t a part of the curriculum. However, the Deep Equity program uses CRT tenets.

“The Deep Equity process not only supports systemic equity transformation at the district level but provides a special focus on instruction applications for classroom educators,” the publisher’s website reads.

Training seeks to embed CRT principles into classroom instruction

It also seeks to “develop the climate protocols, common language, and common goal of embedding culturally responsive teaching practices into everyday classroom  instruction.” And the website boasts the education model brings students into the process.

Arant ordered copies of the handbooks teachers receive in the training program as well as the train-the-trainer workbooks the program uses to train program facilitators. He requested more information from school officials using the Kansas Open Records Act.

He requested district invoices from Corwin and SAGE, publishers of the Deep Equity training, and from Gary Howard, the founder of a Deep Equity Institute. He also requested any communications from school officials regarding Deep Equity or diversion, equity and inclusion (DEI), copies of any policy or policies that mention Deep Equity or DEI, and any official copies created in part or in whole by Tyrone Bates, the district’s DEI coordinator. 

Parents need information to make choices, Arant says

Arant’s goal isn’t to tell other parents what they should do, but to provide information.

“The material speaks for itself. Once parents hear it, they don’t need any ancillary commentary once they see what it is. All they have to do is read the words. And they’ll be 100% against what their children are learning from it,” he said.

Then parents can decide how to respond.

“If people don’t like it, they can pull their kids out. They can go along with it or they can fight it,” he said. “They can speak at school board meetings and put enormous pressure on them which may delay the training for a time or they can replace the school board. They have a choice.”

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