Records show New Trier paying for 'white privilege' education
New Trier High School recently spent $4,200 to send Dan Paustian, coordinator of the Social Work Department, to a conference teaching about “white privilege” and “disparate impact,” records obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request reveal.
The records show that 39 payments between December 2011 and February 2016 went to the Massachusetts-based group Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED), which says its mission is to train teachers to acknowledge white “oppression, power, and privilege.”
This is not the first time a New Trier employee has attended a SEED conference focused on race. According to an analysis by LGIS (Local Government Information Services), which owns North Cook News, New Trier High School District 203 has paid $108,583 in consulting fees to the group since August 2011.
The co-directors of the National SEED Project responded to a request for information in a letter to the North Cook News.
“We do this by training educators and community members to facilitate ongoing group conversations as peer leaders, where all voices are heard, where historical and ongoing oppression are addressed, and where collective momentum is built to move schools and communities to be equitable and effective for all children,” Jondou Chase Chen, Gail Cruse-Roberson and Emmy Howe wrote. “The National SEED Project has received less than $10,000 in total from New Trier since 2010.”
SEED's claim that they've only received $10,000 from New Trier runs counter to an LGIS analysis of vendor receipts which found $108,583 in payments to SEED.
The school district has also been involved with the Pacific Educational Group (PEG), which teaches that “individualism”-- or the use of independent classroom assignments -- and “future time orientation” – or planning ahead -- are forms of “cultural racism” that benefit whites over blacks.
Katherine Kersten, author of "No Thug Left Behind, "an article in City Journal, told the North Cook News that PEG has also been involved with school districts in Minnesota.
“It’s greatest impact in St. Paul was because of the past superintendent,” she said. “She was strongly behind the vision and the message of this indoctrination group. She actually adopted a number of policies that PEG advocated for.”
New Trier also paid speakers during its controversial Seminar Day.
The North Cook News found that most speakers received $200, but authors Colin Whitehead and Aydin Andrew made an average of $10,000 each and had most of their travel costs paid for.
Since 2011, New Trier has made almost monthly payments to SEED and paid more than $80,000 to PEG. The district initially sent payment to PEG in December 2011 for $5,000, without identifying the reason for the payment.