Below please explore the contract between Sankore Consulting and ISD 728 regarding the ISD 728 Equity Policy Audit. Page 1 of the contact demonstrates the cost of this service to taxpayers. Additionally, the final report was provided to ISD 728 in November of 2019 for an Equity Action Plan. An Addendum Report was provided to District 728 in December of 2020, all available for review below in PDF format.
Please consider, as you read through these reports, the predominant focus on race and the divisive nature of much of the material. Please explore at the Academic Performance tab to see that students of color in Elk River perform well in terms of college readiness and that the data appears to demonstrate that low-income is the main driver in academic disparities in district 728. This is also noted on page 11 in the final report under the heading Optimistic Thoughts. It is imperative that in order to improve academic outcomes for struggling students that causes are accurately identified for under performing students.
Since the data demonstrates performance issues with low-income students, perhaps the $25,000 spent on this report could have instead been used to provide those students with additional academic tools such as tutors and learning disability testing. While 728 United agrees with Sankore that ALL students should receive needed resources to meet academic standards, there were several red flags that volunteers found concerning outlined in the following bullet points.
Initial Sankore Contract showing that $25,000 of tax payer money was spent on this audit. CLICK TO OPEN PDF
Final Report from Sankore to ISD 728 provided November 2019. CLICK TO OPEN PDF
- See page 5, where gender neutral bathrooms are recommended, this appears to suggest that boys and girls might be able to use the same multi-stalled bathrooms, clearly this posed some concerns.
- See page 5: Common Themes: “White equity specialists, over identified in 2 or more races for EBD, over identified in ELL ….” Again, the focus is on skin color, not staff qualifications.
- See page 6, Opportunity for Growth: “Develop Critical Race Consciousness or Critical Race Theory.” The concern here is the divisive nature that this approach incorporates in the name of “equity.” See Kimi Katiti’s video below to learn the negative impact when individuals adopt this kind of thinking.
- See page 6: Common Themes: “District is lacking: acknowledgement of white privilege, whiteness, etc.” Again, these themes are divisive and focused on immutable characteristics, does not focus on the content of individual character as Martin Luther Jr. advocated for. It is a departure from the focus on the values, ideas, hopes and dreams that really define an individual and puts the emphasis on outer characteristics while vilifying one particular group of people who share a common physical trait. Further, the idea of “being white” or “being black” assumes certain stereotypes based on skin color and robs individuals of their humanity.
- See page 6: Common Themes: “The few teachers of color do not live in the community and are not supported …. we are not welcoming and accepting of cultures, transportation inequities …. etc.” There was not data provided to support this claim. Our question is were these teachers interviewed to obtain this information? For $25,000 and these types of accusations, it would seem fair to expect some type of supporting data.
- See page 6: Opportunity for Growth: Policy to address racial infractions. The district currently has policies to address bullying, 728 United was uncertain why this would not fall under the current policy.
- See page 7, Examples of PD opportunities to support equity lens practice: noting Gary Howard (whiteness), please see below PDF for a flavor of his work and why it might be considered divisive in nature.
- See page 7: Examples of PD opportunities to support equity lens practice: Microaggressions …. see video below to assist in understanding what microaggressions are and the overall negative impact of adopting a “critical race theory” and microaggression ideology from activist Kimi Katiti.
This is information about Gary Howard and his approach to “Whiteness” that volunteers found concerning. CLICK TO OPEN PDF
Kimi Katiti’s video on the impact of her temporary adoption of a critical race theory and microaggression mindset and how it negatively impacted her mental health and stole her joy.
Please review the ISD 728 School Board Summary Report from December 2020 from Sankore Consulting and review some of the concerns identified by 728 United volunteers in the bulleted list below. CLICK TO OPEN PDF
Below were some concerns noted in the Summary Report:
- See page 17, Session 2: In what ways to you hold white privilege? Study the list from Peggy McIntosh ….” See PDF of this list below, all board members were required to fill this list out as part of the “equity” training. Volunteers felt this was divisive and again assumed an entire group of individuals who share a common physical characteristic share common experiences based on their skin color without regard to individual circumstances, heritage, culture, religion, geographic location, etc.
- See again page 17, Session 2: “In what ways have you wielded your white privilege over BIPOC [Black, Indigenous People of Color] that have done harm ….” Again, it should go without saying how divisive and racist this type of approach is.
- See page 20, under Leadership Book Study heading “White Fragility by Diangelo” This is a book recommended to the ISD 728 staff and school board. 728 United volunteers read several parts of this book and agree with the reviewer below.