Wis. education officials want students to wear ‘white privilege’ wristbands

March 11, 2013

Kyle Olson Kyle Olson

Kyle founded Education Action Group in 2007.
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UPDATE: Wisconsin school agency deletes ‘white privilege’ materials, blames EAG

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction runs several programs that heavily emphasize racial issues in public schools.

Related exposé: “RE-CREATING AMERICA: Cultural Sensitivity in Wisconsin Schools”

Some feel that one of those programs – an Americorps operation called VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) – may go a bit overboard by encouraging white students to wear a white wristband “as a reminder about your (white) privilege.”

Geared towards high school students, the program “seeks to build capacity in schools and districts serving low-income families to develop an effective, sustainable, research-based program of family-school-community partnerships,” according to its Facebook page.

That sounds reasonable enough.

But the program’s approach becomes a bit suspect when one reads the Gloria Steinem quote on the top of its webpage: “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”

The webpage also offers a series of suggestions for high schools students to become more racially sensitive. They include:

  • Wear a white wristband as a reminder about your privilege, and as a personal commitment to explain why you wear the wristband.
  • Set aside sections of the day to critically examine how privilege is working.
  • Put a note on your mirror or computer screen as a reminder to think about privilege.

The Wisconsin DPI also sponsors several similar programs, including CREATE Wisconsin, an on-going “cultural sensitivity” teacher training program which focuses largely on “whiteness” and “white privilege.”

EAGnews will be exposing more about that program in a film documentary titled, “RE-CREATING AMERICA: Cultural Sensitivity in Wisconsin Schools,” along with a two-day written series on the same topic, beginning Monday.

Will DPI’s obsession with race and “white privilege” actually translate into better educational outcomes for all students? Not likely.

But it will continue to divide the state by race and income status, and allow bureaucrats to make a case for more government funding so they can create a different type of America.

Wisconsin taxpayers really ought to be paying more attention to how their education dollars are spent.

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