Hundreds of so-called “woke” school districts around the U.S. are taking fire for a new teacher screening process that seeks to learn about applicants’ political beliefs and, moreover, whether they have signed on to a host of left-wing positions regarding gender and race.
The highly controversial practice was revealed in a recent report published in trade journal Ed Week, which said that more than 500 school districts around the country are using it.
The report said that teacher applicants are questioned about how they incorporate gender and race into daily student lesson plans as well as what they, personally and professionally, have done to push back against alleged racism.
Teacher prospects are screened during the hiring process using a battery of “cultural competency” questions, the report noted.
While the battery of questions is principally utilized to promote “inclusion” and “diversity,” some school districts like Shaw Elementary in Boston have expanded the scope of the inquiries to include questions like, “What have you done personally or professionally to be more anti-racist?”
Other questions include:
— “Sometimes, there is a belief that a commitment to diversity conflicts with a commitment to excellence. How would you describe the relationship between diversity and excellence?”
— “How do you ensure that the values of diversity and cultural awareness are reflected in your practice?”
— “How do you incorporate gender diversity and the different racial and cultural backgrounds of your students and families into your daily instruction and classroom environment?”
— “How do you ensure that student outcomes are not predictable by race, ethnicity, culture, gender, or sexual orientation?”
The Week writer Samuel Goldman ripped the methodology and logic behind the questions, noting: “They’re making progressive political views a requirement for the job.”
“Could a critic of affirmative action, an advocate of proactive policing, or a supporter of voter ID laws (all opinions with significant support among minorities) give a satisfactory answer?” to the Shaw Elementary question, Goldman asked. “How about a Republican voter?”
The journalist also railed at the way some teachers’ answers are filtered through Nimble, an educator-hiring software firm that is currently working with some 500 school districts around the U.S.
“It’s bad enough for principals or hiring managers to pry into applicants’ opinions on matters irrelevant to classroom content and conduct. It’s even worse when they rely on proprietary, woke AI to do the job for them,” Goldman wrote.
He said that “cultural competency” ultimately favors left-wing political adherents and that conservatives would have difficulty providing “favorable” answers if they support views such as ending affirmative action policies, which many see as discriminatory to whites.
That said, Lauren Dachille, the founder and CEO of Nimble, told Ed Week that demands for cultural competency reviews increased after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 and the ascendency of the Black Lives Matter movement in its wake.
“Now that we’ve become a little more aware of the concept of anti-racism and maybe a little more woke as a culture, I do think that districts have started to emphasize these questions a little bit more. They might be more common, they might be more explicit,” she told the trade journal.
She did not reveal which school districts were employing “cultural competency” hiring practices.
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