Taxpayers paid thousands of dollars for the white privilege training Hamilton County teachers recently had to sit through, but most county school board members don’t have enough willpower to provide any oversight over it.
This, according to school board member Tiffanie Robinson (pictured above, right), who told The Tennessee Star Monday she finds nothing wrong with the curriculum. She also said it’s inaccurate to call it “white privilege” training.
“To do anything on the board would require five votes, and I do not think there are five board members who think this is a real issue,” Robinson said.
“I think a majority of us think this issue has been blown out of proportion and that the content presented was valid content that needed to be presented to our teachers and there was nothing harmful about it or with it. No, I don’t think anything will happen with it.”
Board members, Robinson went on to say, don’t generally oversee teachers’ professional development courses. Superintendent Bryan Johnson, who works under the authority of board members, likely approved the curriculum, Robinson said.
School board member Rhonda Thurman (pictured above, left), however, said she plans to hold school system employees accountable for the curriculum — even if she is the only board member who does so.
And Thurman told The Star that, yes, the training was absolutely about white privilege, roughly costing taxpayers $5,000.
“If we were going to do something to try to help with students’ educational experiences then why don’t we talk about things like gang violence? We are having kids shot here, it seems like every night. Those kids who are getting shot are brothers of some of our students, their cousins, and their neighbors. That really affects kids more than white privilege ever will. Why don’t we discuss how gangs are affecting students’ educations? How drugs are affecting their educations?” Thurman asked.
“Why do you want to talk about white privilege? What benefit is that? The only thing it does is it divides the faculty. It divides people from the school system. It makes them choose sides. It is just crazy to me. Why do we do this? There is no educational benefit whatsoever that I can see.”
As The Star reported last week, the curriculum, however school system officials define it, taught teachers that “people of color cannot be racist because they lack the institutional power to adversely affect white lives.”
The curriculum also taught that white privilege exists because of enduring racism and biases.
Other school board members did not return repeated request for comment Monday.
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