The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) revoked a cultural awareness training on Tuesday for violating President Trump’s Executive Order. DCS is reviewing the program, Cultural Awareness for Foster Parents, currently.
DCS sent the memo to agency provider trainers on the same day the curriculum was pulled.
“Some of the materials and activities are in conflict with a recent Presidential Executive order and/or are considered outdated or counterproductive to the concepts being taught.”
The memo then stated that it would update the course, and included a link to President Trump’s order.
Last month, President Trump ordered that federal funds couldn’t be used to enforce divisive concepts such as the “fundamental racism/sexism” of America as well as of certain individuals (based on their race or sex).
Prior to Tuesday, foster parents were required to undergo certain training on cultural awareness. The PDF resource for trainers and parents has since been deleted. The Tennessee Star recovered cached versions of the curriculum guide.
One of the resources was a video lasting under two minutes titled, “Cultural Diversity Examples: Avoid Stereotypes While Communicating.”
The video depicted a White man jogging up to an Asian woman stretching on a trail. He asked her a series of questions directed at her ethnic background, such as where “her people” are from originally. She appeared irritated at first, then asked him where “his people” were from. The woman didn’t accept his initial answer, “America.” When the man stated that his ancestors emigrated from England, she promptly replied with a slew of stereotypical English phrases in a British accent before jogging away.
Another resource established that bias and prejudice exist in children as young at two, and emphasized the importance of enforcing cultural sensitivity and teaching diversity.
In a statement released to The Star, DCS Chief of Staff Jennifer Donnals shared the department’s goals in light of this decision.
“The Department of Children’s Services is dedicated to ensuring workplace diversity and equity to maintain a healthy and thriving organization for our employees, foster parents, providers, and most importantly, the children and families we serve. As an agency that receives federal funds, the department is complying with the most recent federal executive order, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, and is reviewing employee and foster parent training curriculum. We are temporarily pausing the DCS Cultural Awareness for Foster Parent curriculum while revisions can be made to better serve our diverse workforce, providers, children and families and comply with the federal executive order.”
According to DCS, the state plans to release a revised version of their cultural awareness curriculum in the upcoming weeks.
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