EXCLUSIVE: In his former position as Connecticut’s education commissioner, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote in a 2019 email that he wanted to take action to ensure teachers support a new ‘awakened’ program. That the State was implementing.
Cardona made the comment as her department was tasked with creating a new high school course on “African American, Black, Puerto Rican and Latin Studies,” which will be optional for the next school year but required from fall 2022. The email was obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Fox News.
A message was sent on October 31, 2019, inviting people to a briefing on the work on an “advisory group” managed by the State Quasi-Public Educational Resource Center (SERC). This group was responsible for formulating the program.
The next day, Cardona’s chief of staff Laura Stefon said she believed the State Department of Education’s social studies consultant should be involved with the SERC group, which Cardona agreed to. “We have to be involved,” he said.
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On November 1, Cardona made a separate request to have a specific teacher also included in the SERC panel to create the program.
“I want the New Teacher of the Year (2020) Meghan Hatch Geary on it too, for several reasons,” Cardona wrote.
Among the reasons, he said: “We need teachers behind this wave of our program which is becoming more and more ‘awake’.
Cardona also said the teacher “had studied Black and Latin Studies for her masters program … created programming that incorporated social justice, for racial and gender inequalities … Her application included more references to the importance of black leaders in history that all I have read before… She has volunteered to teach in Ghana and Ecuador… Understands that the program reduces invisibility for students of color and creates overall preparation for all students. “
“Send the right message that we ask ToY to help us do better,” Cardona concluded.
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The teacher presents herself on her Twitter account as an “educator centered on the anti-racist”. His Twitter bio also includes the quote: “There is no such thing as an apolitical class.”
The state finally fully approved the program in December 2020.
“Identities matter, especially when 27% of our students identify as Hispanic or Latin American and 13% as black or African American,” Cardona said at the time. This program recognizes that by connecting the history of people of color in the United States to the larger history of American history. The bottom line is that more inclusive and culturally relevant content in classrooms leads to greater student engagement and better outcomes for all. “
Ingrid Canady, Executive Director of SERC, said: “The mission of SERC has always been access and opportunity, and our team is proud to have participated in this moment by affirming the racial identity of our students and ensuring that it is at the forefront.
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“Under the leadership of Secretary Cardona, the Department of Education remains committed to advancing equity in education and ensuring that we prioritize, replicate and invest in what works for all students, not just some. A spokesperson for the US Department of Education said in response to a Fox News investigation. The department declined to comment on the content of the state’s curriculum.
The DOE spokesperson also did not specifically address questions of whether Cardona aims to make programs more “awake” nationwide or whether he was concerned that teachers were not “behind” a program. wake up”.
Connecticut’s new curriculum comes as controversy swirls across the country over how race and issues should be addressed in schools, with many parents and even some teachers pushing back against “critical race theory.” in classes.
“We are told we live in a county that suffers from systemic racism and I think this whole notion has done nothing but hurt our community and our school since they started promoting equity.” Louden County, Va., Said advanced placement government teacher Monica Gill told Fox News this month.
She added that teachers had been told to “disrupt and dismantle this systemic racism. And I can tell you, one thing is for sure, it has been disruptive because there are parents who do not agree with this ideology, there are teachers who do not agree with it there. are students who do not agree with that – and it is dangerous. “
Meanwhile, some school officials and teachers lash out at parents and teachers who disagree with similar programs.
Keaira Jennings, who heads the Louden County Public School Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC), reportedly recently called for teachers to be fired if they criticize – even in private equity training, said reported the Daily Wire last month.
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“This simply cannot and should not be tolerated by anyone employed by LCPS!” Jennings wrote, according to the Daily Wire. “If our teachers and staff cannot be open and willing to learn to be culturally competent, they no longer need to be in the classrooms, as they will only hinder the process and, most importantly, cause irreparable harm to the vulnerable hearts and minds of our students. “
The Connecticut curriculum itself asks students to understand “how race was built and why and how it was developed”, as well as three days each on “Systemic Racism” and the “Black Lives Matter Movement”. The course also includes plenty of other readings and topics, ranging from a discussion of slavery to what “African American, Black, Latin American (a) and Puerto Rican stories reveal about the United States, its foundations, and the power structure today?
Fox News’ Sam Dorman and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.
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