Systemic Inequity on the Virginia Beach Schools Equity Council

by James C. Sherlock

The Superintendent of Virginia Beach Schools has some work to do now that the Equity Policy he signed off on has been approved. The policy was developed with the assistance of the Virginia Beach Schools Equity Council.

I have recommended today to the School Board and the Superintendent that they make the first order of business changing the membership of the Equity Council to make it more equitable in compliance with the new policy. It will need either to be expanded into uselessness or reconstructed with new membership.

The current leadership of the Council consists of two members of the school board and the Virginia Beach Schools Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Each is black, as are the majority of the members.  I frankly don’t care about that, but now Virginia Beach Schools officially does.

As examples of primary intellectual references of the Council, under the heading Resources, see the Council’s “Professional learning topics for staff and adults.” They include (with links):

  • Courageous Conversations about Race, Glenn Singleton — I discussed this one at length in a previous essay.
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, Zaretta Hammond. Here you can learn from a woman whose highest academic credential  is a Masters in in Secondary English Education that the amygdala, the region of the brain primarily associated with emotional processes, is “malleable and can be changed by re-programming our brains and creating new ‘cognitive habits.’” And she runs a consulting company that can help with that. Really. Who could have guessed?

Judging from the names of the members and such internet research platforms as are available, there is no evidence of either members of Asian ancestry, including Virginia Beach’s large population of Philippine ancestry, or any member of Hispanic ancestry. I hope I am wrong. If I am, I am not alone.

More than one speaker at the School Board meeting Wednesday night pointed out specifically that the Council and the new equity policy underrepresent the interests of Hispanic and Filipino students.

Per the new policy, representation on the Council should also include representatives of multiple religions and persons with various sexual orientations, gender identities and disabilities.

The disregard of diverse interests has been, to parrot an adjective much in use today, systemic. As example, the current list of equity observances sponsored by the Council in Virginia Beach Schools makes no mention of Asian or Hispanic history or cultures, none of religions, and none of sexual orientations.

The membership of the Council and its actions demonstrate a complete lack of both serious attention within school system to this important matter and introspection within the Council itself.

The Virginia Beach Schools Equity Council appears utterly unrepresentative of the diversity for which it purports to speak. It would be hypocritical to leave it that way.

Perhaps that can be a topic at the next School Board meeting.

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20 responses to “Systemic Inequity on the Virginia Beach Schools Equity Council

  1. “Don’t lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools”.

  2. To get back to the old discussion, I’m watching the board meeting opening recording as I type. Basically, it is a replay of the “mask, no mask” discussion we had on Bacon’s Rebellion at the time Senator Chase made an ass of herself. Except, to her credit, Mrs. Hughes was behaving like an adult. She was being cooperative. She sat apart and socially distant. And it was brilliant, as she made everybody on the majority look like a total idiot.

    The absolute best moment was when she pointed out that the meeting they were about to start was about diversity and inclusion. That was priceless.

    As to the tone of the meeting, it was painfully slow and polite. No fistfights or foul words. If you are looking for drama, actually, this was nothing — as I expected. Chairwoman Rye and the others should be embarrassed. She couldn’t run a two car funeral. Mrs. Hughes expulsion from the meeting was totally illegal. But if that meeting horrified Sherlock, he’s led a very sheltered life.

    I was very critical of Chase because she was abusive and rude in the restaurant, seeking political points, but Mrs. Hughes behaved very differently. In all honesty, if either really had a true medical justification for their mask aversion, they would state it. They probably do not. But Mrs. Hughes made the effort to keep distance instead and the others absolutely refused to compromise.

    As to the point of this post, I’m tired of looking up at tall people. I want to be sure some short people are on the panel. And let’s be sure hair color is diversified, and colleges….Idiots.

    • I wasn’t horrified, just pissed off. Transparent hypocrisy does that to me.

      This column and the similar email I sent today to the Board and the Superintendent will as Shakespeare wrote, “hoist them on their own petard”.

      They will have no choice but to make changes to the Council, and that in turn will make it less likely to do really stupid things.

    • Thus my comment earlier post, it did seem for a couple of stretches that the Chairwoman may have had a stroke. I’m happy she is fine. A key reason it was polite is that 10 of the 11 members are women. I hope it is not sexist of me to point out that they are generally nicer when angry than we men.

      • Glad you said that old “all women are so polite” chestnut and not me.

        Don’t beat yourself up. Stereotyping, not sexism. Big difference, and I really urge people not to self-flagellate over stereotyping. Stereotyping can be good or bad. It’s part of the learning process. Besides, it’s the basis of a lot of good humor.

        Sexism/racism/nationism/etc., would be a strong belief in a usually negative stereotype and placed into some sort of action to the detriment of the subject of the stereotype.

        • “passive aggressive” is the stereotype you were looking for. You’re welcome.

          • No, that’s a controlling behavior. That’s what what’s her name was doing at the meeting.

            What you were doing was stereotyping a group of women.

            Give a 2-year old a bag of rocks, and a few minutes later they will be sorted, and grouped by size, shape, and color. We do the same with everything, including people. Maybe we shouldn’t but I venture to guess it’s a medulla thing and not likely to change.

            “Red on yellow can kill a fellow”, “head like an arrowhead, and slit pupils”, etc., etc.

  3. There should be some lessons learned here, because the same ooperation will soon be coming to a City or County near you–not just to School Boards but to County and City Boards as well.

    • You are right. The lesson here is to go onto the websites of the school boards and city or county councils in your location on a regular basis and see what they are up to. Most of them will be if they are not already up to something like this.

      Read the documents, and if you can, like I did on this policy document, find them mixing equal opportunity with equal outcomes call them on it. It is if nothing else a hook on which to hang a law suit, because equal outcomes will never be achieved.

      The other thing I learned is to challenge the makeup of these “Equity Councils”. If they are truly diverse enough, they are far less likely to do harm and may do good.

      I discovered this nonsense too late to embarrass them enough in advance to make a difference in its passage, but now I’m going to continue to beat them over the head with it.

  4. This is nothing more, or less, that an attempted government coup at the local level in Virginia Beach by a bunch of fools, More local coups around the state likely will follow, driven by racism backed by phony science.

    • There is a solution, which I believe is the one I have embarked upon. Read what they write, and them hold them to it. The Black fiefdoms that they power structure have created in “Equity Councils” and their like can be broken on the requirements of the diversity policies they write.

      For them, everything but race is a throwaway line, but once voted into policy, their fiefdoms must comply. It will make them much more equitable, and thus more reasonable.

  5. “Don’t Blame Me for Being White…Blame God.”
    Robert Dean – September 9, 2020 ~ Virginia Beach, VA

    Yes, it’s come down to this, finding someone to blame for me being born of parents who gave my existence a mixture of Scotch, English, Irish, Welsh and Romanian. And because I happen to have less melanin in my skin as someone else, say from Ethiopia, some miscreant believes I am to blame for the transgressions of slavery? Well I’m not. Who’s to blame for my skin color, why that would be God, so when you talk about reparations or racial strife, again, blame God.

    And this nonsense using the term “systemic racism,” well, it’s simply a fabrication in the minds of those who wish to destroy America, the greatest nation ever conceived and dedicated to freedom, prosperity, and an individual’s opportunity to excel in any endeavor they choose.

    Did the founders of this great Constitutional Republic make mistakes along the way, they most certainly did. And the mistakes were many and some profound. And indeed we corrected them, generation by generation.

    I was born after slavery first began in Mesopotamia, approximately 5,500 years ago. I’ve never owned a slave nor have I known anyone who has. And I’ve tried very hard to not be a slave to the government, but programs like the one being proposed by the Virginia Beach Superintendent of Schools, the Educational Equity Policy (EEP), are forcing me down a rabbit hole in an attempt to escape from this insanity I call, racial guilt, of which I have none.

    And the genesis of this destruction began in the classrooms of government schools. Don’t believe that statement, just watch the nightly videos on social media and look at the ages of these young punks, these young savages who were able to go through the education system without suffering any consequences for misbehaving in the classrooms. Snowflake administrators frightened to address these reprobates with one simple edict, you break the rules of good conduct, and you’ll suffer the consequences.

    In initiating this EEP brainwashing scheme (perhaps waterboarding would work even better), the Virginia Beach School Board is stating publicly that our teachers are racists and need this indoctrination program to realize the errs of their way.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions; this EEP road isn’t…its just a road to hell.

    It’s just like the road taken by Anthony Johnson back in 1654 when Johnson refused to release an indentured servant. He was the first slave owner in America. And he was black, as is Glenn Singleton, the snake oil salesman who has duped Superintendent Spence into shoving this EEP mental suppository into the minds of his band of eight of the eleven on the school board, teachers and administrators. NOTE: The three free, clear and rationale thinkers, Carolyn Weems, Vicky Manning and Laura Hughes, oppose the program

    If you want to continue to divide races, then by all means force feed this racial equity pollution into the washboard craniums of Beach teachers who still believe in the sins of the fathers, i.e., that archaic guilt trip known as “the corruption of blood.”

    And for those in this city who have a penchant to agonize over the issue of corruption of blood, let them move into a cave and flog themselves as much as they want, but for me, give me liberty or give me a death-stake to plunge through the heart of this repugnant racial movement whose intent is to destroy our beloved United States of America. I say, toss it into the nearest dung heap where it belongs. It has no place in God’s world. Corruption of blood was outlawed in this nation in 1790, so get a life with your thoughts that someone owes you some sort of patronization simply because you may have a darker complexion than they do.

    To Beach School Superintendent Spence and your ilk at the Downtown Font of Knowledge pushing Glenn Singleton’s, “Courageous Conversations About Race,” I say, please stick your retooling of our city’s racial mentality where the sun don’t shine. Racial hatred makes me want to vomit. And I’m sure God feels the same way.

    • John Gault above blesses us with a powerful repudiation of the toxic message of ignorance, hate, and blood guilt that is being pushed in America today by America’s leftists cabal that increasingly controls the American Democratic party. This is vividly illustrated today by Virginia’s state government under Governor Ralph Northam and his henchmen, such as his Attorney General Mark Herring and Secretary of Education, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.

      How remarkable and hopeful it is that a female Muslim freedom fighter, Asra Nomani, (a PTA member of Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria Va.), has the courage, smarts and fortitude to fight the Northam Administration so as to preserve American constitutional freedoms that now are so gravely threatened by the leftist Democratic regime that controls Virginia’s state government today, and this Muslim woman does so while many American’s cower and submit to this leftest regime that first showed its ugly intentions while setting up and orchestrating the 2017 spring and summer riots in Charlottesville, Va, under the direction of then Governor Terry McAuliffe who now plots to succeed Governor Northam in 2021, according to the Washington Post.

      Now too is it clear that Virginia’s politics have greatly corrupted under the Northam regime since Governor McAuliffe’s 2017 Charlottesville riots. Indeed a fair reelection of Governor McAuliffe may be impossible should his leftist wing of the Democratic Party get its way by achieving a forceful takeover of the federal government after the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Such a left wing Democratic coup by force now is quite possible.

      Consider this September 11, 2020 article in the Federalist, written by John Daniel Davidson:

      “The Left Is Setting The Stage For A Coup If Trump Wins – Under the guise of planning for right-wing violence if Trump loses, Democrats are gaming out how to steal the election if Trump wins.

      It’s been hard to miss the steady drumbeat of articles and think-pieces over the past few months about Election Day war games and post-election planning underway on the left, rooted in obsessive fears that President Trump will refuse to accept an electoral loss, triggering a constitutional crisis and maybe even widespread civic unrest, all in a desperate attempt to cling to power.

      “The Left Secretly Preps for MAGA Violence After Election Day,” reads a recent headline at The Daily Beast. “Is Trump Planning a Coup d’État?” asks another recent piece at The Nation. “Is America in the Early Stages of Armed Insurgency?” frets Slate. Similar pieces have run at the Washington Post (“The election will likely spark violence—and a constitutional crisis”), The Atlantic (“What might he do? What should Americans fear?”), Vox (“Imagine that… Donald Trump refuses to concede defeat”), The New Yorker (“Trump’s threats about rejecting the results come November are not idle”), and on and on.

      The news hook for most of these articles is a series of elaborate election war games hosted in June by a newly formed organization called the Transition Integrity Project, touted by the media as a bipartisan group of experts consisting of former elected officials, high-level government staffers, consultants, and journalists like David Frum, who wrote the Atlantic piece referenced above.

      In other words, the Transition Integrity Project is a cross-section of our elite ruling class. In its own executive summary of the war games, the group states it was founded “out of concern that the Trump Administration may seek to manipulate, ignore, undermine or disrupt the 2020 presidential election and transition process” — never mind the many ways Democrats in Congress and the executive bureaucracy, aided by the media, have been doing just that since before Trump won the 2016 election. …”

      For much more of this article see:
      https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/11/the-left-is-setting-the-stage-for-a-coup-if-trump-wins/

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      I read this a couple of times. I approve. Give them hell Mr. Gault!

  6. It is all simple politics. One must count votes. The Democratic Party of today wins only with 85-90% of the Black vote. So their policy positions and goals and rhetoric are designed to achieve and maintain that. More than a century ag0 (still slogging through the long Douglass biography) it was the Republicans who waved the bloody shirt to achieve and maintain high margins among those Black males who had the franchise. Reading about Douglass arguing with John Mercer Langston about whether to be less loyal to just one party is an eye-opener.

    The problem, not usually addressed here on Bacon’s Rebellion (“Where White Virginians Come To Feel Comfortable”), is just about everything the Republicans do will fail to break that vote bloc. Too often some of them feed the narrative. And far too many of them just dismiss the complaints out of hand. I don’t disagree with Galt. But his and Reed’s message is not going to change the political climate, no sir, or overcome the bloody-shirt tactics of the other side. That’s a discussion I’d join, but this self-defense, self-justification meme is of no interest to me.

    • Republicans need to take the offense, go down with the ship if necessary, not cower as if they are afraid, and without principle, which is their present posture in Virginia, which obviously has failed the Republican Party beyond anyone’s imagination.

    • In 1879 the Readjusters gained power with a biracial platform. They promised to improve public education for both races, abolish the state poll tax, and readjust the crushing state debt by making West Virginia pay their share. This left wing populism was lead by the hero of the Battle of the Crater, Billy Mahone.

      They delivered! Virginia State University was established as the brother college of VPI. Black teachers were finally hired in schools. No poll tax and no more public whipping post either. West Virginia did indeed pay their share of the pre Civil War state debt. Railroads were regulated.

      1883 was a bad year for the Readjusters. Grover Cleveland became President so patronage switched parties. Race riots in Danville occur prior to the state election. Democrat Fitz Lee becomes Governor. John Daniel, John Barbour, and Thomas Staples Martin lay the foundation for the emergence of the Byrd Machine.

      The key component to the Readjusters unlikely rise to power was their ideas in reforming and improving education. It attracted white and black political support. The number one concern of Virginia’s families after the Civil War was access to quality education. Remember most Virginians white and black could not even read and write in 1879. Modern Republicans would be wise to seize this idea as a path back to power. Virtual classrooms, equity, stalled test scores, sky high cost of education, and so on are legitimate criticisms of the current party in power. Now what do conservatives and Republicans have to offer? They have a crack to turn into a fissure and a path to power. Will it be exploited?

      PS: I wonder what Mr. Peter would think of a left wing populist Confederate Major General Billy Mahone from Nat Turner’s hometown coming up with meaningful reforms in the Reconstruction Era?

    • You know America and its educational system, is in big, even fatal, trouble when E. D. Hirsch speaks out as forcefully as this:

      THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW with E.D. Hirsch

      | By Naomi Schaefer Riley

      Bad Teaching Is Tearing America Apart

      If you have school-age children, the pandemic-induced move to online classes may give you an unusual window into their education. E.D. Hirsch expects you’ll be surprised by “how little whole-class instruction is going on,” how little knowledge is communicated, and how there is “no coherence” from day to day, let alone from year to year.

      The current fashion is for teachers to be a “guide on the side, instead of a sage on the stage,” he says, quoting the latest pedagogical slogan, which means that teachers aren’t supposed to lecture students but to “facilitate” learning by nudging students to follow their own curiosity. Everything Mr. Hirsch knows about how children learn tells him that’s the wrong approach. “If you want equity in education, as well as excellence, you have to have whole-class instruction,” in which a teacher directly communicates information using a prescribed sequential curriculum.

      Mr. Hirsch, 92, is best known for his 1987 book, “Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know.” It is an argument for teaching “specifics,” followed by a lengthy list of them—thousands of historical figures, events, concepts and literary works with which, in Mr. Hirsch’s view, educated Americans should be familiar. Heavily weighted toward Western history and civilization, the list provoked charges of elitism. Yet Mr. Hirsch is singularly focused on helping disadvantaged kids. They “are not exposed to this information at home,” he says, so they’ll starve intellectually unless the schools provide it.

      He continues the argument in his new book, “How to Educate a Citizen,” in which he describes himself as a heretofore “rather polite scholar” who has become more “forthright and impatient because things are getting worse. Intellectual error has become a threat to the well-being of the nation. A truly massive tragedy is building.” Schools “are diminishing our national unity and our basic competence.”

      Mr. Hirsch is nonetheless cheerful in a Zoom interview from a vacation home in Maine, his armchair perched next to a window with a water view. An emeritus professor at the University of Virginia, he normally resides in Charlottesville, where he continues his research and acts as the chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation.

      He cites both history and neuroscience in explaining how education went wrong. It began in the 1940s, when “schools unbolted the desks and kids were no longer facing the teacher.” Instead children were divided into small groups and instructed to complete worksheets independently with occasional input from teachers. “That was also when our verbal test scores went down and the relative ranking of our elementary schools declined on a national level.” On the International Adult Literacy Survey, Americans went from being No. 1 for children who were educated in the 1950s to fifth for those in the ’70s and 14th in the ’90s. And things have only gotten worse. Between 2002 and 2015, American schoolchildren went from a ranking of 15th to 24th in reading on the Program for International Student Assessment.

      The problem runs deeper than the style of instruction, Mr. Hirsch says. It’s the concept at its root— “child-centered classrooms,” the notion that “education is partly a matter of drawing out a child’s inborn nature.” Mr. Hirsch says emphatically that a child’s mind is “a blank slate.” On this point he agrees with John Locke and disagrees with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who thought children’s need to develop according to their nature. Both philosophers make the “Cultural Literacy” list, but “Locke has to make a comeback” among educators, Mr. Hirsch says. “The culture is up for grabs, and elementary schools are the culture makers.”

      Mr. Hirsch is a man of the left— he has said he is “practically a socialist.” But he bristles at the idea that kids should read only books by people who look like them or live like them. He recalls how reading outside his own experience enabled him “to gain perspective.” Growing up in Memphis, Tenn., in the 1930s, he says, “there was no one I knew who wasn’t a racist.” In his teens, he picked up Gunnar Myrdal’s “An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy” (1944), which “allowed me to escape.” The Swedish sociologist’s survey of American race relations “made a huge impact” on Mr. Hirsch. “I take it as an illustration of how important knowledge is and how important it is to not necessarily become a member of your culture.”

      That’s no less true in 21st-century America. “The idea that identity and ethnicity are inborn and indelible from birth is a false view that leads to group hostility,” Mr. Hirsch says. “The idea that there can be an American culture that everyone joins seems to be anathema to some academic thinkers,” But …”

      For much more see: https://www.wsj.com/articles/bad-teaching-is-tearing-america-apart-11599857351?mod=opinion_lead_pos5

  7. Baconator with extra cheese

    I agree that the current Virginia GOP is incapable of forming a viable alternative to the current Dems. I do believe however in their never ending quest to out-woke each other the Dems will implode because implementation involves much more than theory plus other people’s money. The issue is that implosion will be extremely ugly for Virginia. Extreme taxes, government granted powers they will not give up easily (future GOP or Dem), and entrenched ultra-woke bureaucrats will be a long-lived devatating legacy. Welcome to the reality of LA with crappy weather or Detroit-upon-the-James… your pick.

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