Macon Miracle "Courageous Conversations" Concern Some Bibb Parents | Education
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For the last 20 years, A California-based company has been in school systems across the United States and abroad, facilitating conversations about race.
In his strategic plan, Superintendent Romain Dallemand suggests the Pacific Educational Group should come to Bibb County. But at public forums and school board meetings, parents have spoken out against this part of the plan.
"The ramifications of this could potentially be very bad," says Angel Hopper. She started researching the Pacific Education Group online after she saw the name in the Bibb County strategic plan.
She and Darren Latch say they came across accounts of violence and inequity that bloggers and other publications attributed to race conversations in schools.
"A boy in Washington state was doused with gasoline and set on fire," said Latch.
"It's trickled down from the teachers that are going through these training courses and going out and teaching our children," said Hopper.
Latch admits there is a racial divide in the community, but he says he worries introducing the Pacific Education Group will make that divide even worse.
"From what I've seen, the biggest focus on the Pacific Educational Group is the divide the community," he said. "Enrage the community. Get them to speak about a racial divide and bring it into the open, which I understand, it's got to be talked about, it can't be ignored, but to instill this into our school system is dangerous."
Latch says his online research makes him certain the Pacific Education Group promotes racism.
"From what I understand about 'courageous conversations,' it actually points to the likes of Glenn Singleton (Pacific Education CEO) that African American students cannot learn in a similar fashion to everyone else and that to me is horrific," he says.
He says the very idea of approaching education with race in mind is insulting to the district and its residents.
"Why are we still promoting racial based teaching? It should be for every one, not just one direction. It should be for white or African American or people of color, it should be for everyone."
President and CEO of the Group, Glenn Singleton, said the goal of the program is to teach people how to talk about race through seminars, coaching, and one-on-one consultation.
He said there are four components in his approach. First, the Courageous Conversations protocol, based on a book he authored, aims to gives people the tools to talk about race. Second, they teach Critical Race Theory, which focuses on historical context and how race influences daily experiences.
Next, they address belief systems that Singleton says may get in the way of improving student achievement. He says the final component is leadership training.
"Adaptive leadership is about how we engage around issues that don't yet have a solution and how we allow ourselves to be in that uncomfortable space of understanding these issues and searching to gather the solutions to these issues that only can come from the community that has the problem itself," he says.
Singleton says he's not surprised people researching his company online are upset, because he says the views from blogs are skewed and the information is taken out of context.