Williamson County officials had the ultimate power to approve an In-service “white privilege” training curriculum for their teachers last month, said a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Education Wednesday.
But that’s inconsistent with the TDOE’s standards and practices on In-service teacher training, as specified on that department’s website.
Tennessee’s education commissioner, according to the rules, has the final say approving any In-service training plans. Local school system officials submit those plans to the education commissioner months before the start of the new school year.
“In-service days shall be used according to a plan recommended by the local superintendent of schools in accordance with the provisions of this section and other applicable statutes, and adopted by the local board of education,” the TDOE website said.
“A copy of this plan shall be filed with the State Commissioner of Education on or before June 1 the preceding school year and approved by him.”
The Tennessee Star asked TDOE officials Tuesday and Wednesday whether officials from that department had approved Williamson’s “white privilege” In-service training curriculum?
TDOE spokeswoman Chandler Hopper, in an emailed statement, said the following:
“Tennessee is a state that believes in local authority, so the content of inservice trainings is decided upon at the local level,” Hopper wrote.
“For more information you should contact Williamson County Schools.”
Williamson County School System spokeswoman Carol Birdsong did not immediately return The Star’s request for comment on these and other matters Tuesday and Wednesday. The Star also asked Birdsong if the county has a paid diversity coordinator on staff and, if so, how much he or she makes annually.
According to the TDOE’s website, “In-service education shall be consistent with the Professional Development Policy for Tennessee Schools.”
“In-Service education is defined as a program of planned activities designed to increase the competencies needed by all licensed personnel in the performance of their professional responsibilities,” according to the TDOE’s website.
“In this context, ‘competencies’ are defined as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes which enable personnel to carry out their tasks with maximum effectiveness.”
Approvable activities for In-service training include, among other things, helping probationary teachers develop their skills, workshops based on the assessed needs of a school system, and studying teaching methods and strategies, TDOE’s website said.
As reported, county school system officials recently made teachers watch a video that tried to indoctrinate teachers on how to teach students about “white privilege.”
The 26-minute In-service training video, the third in a series about cultural competency, profiled several people whom the video described as “Williamson County Voices.”
You can watch the full video here.
The video did not identify anyone, nor did it make clear if these people are school system employees or county residents not formally affiliated with the school system. One man, though, identified himself as a school administrator.
In the video, they and the narrator discussed social justice causes, the perks white males supposedly have that others do not, America’s supposed dysfunctional history, and how unfair it all is.
The Star obtained the video on Tuesday through an open records request submitted to the Williamson County School System on February 19.
The Star confirmed teachers at at least one county school had to watch.
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