As Westport residents and parents, we believe strongly in the value of diversity and inclusion, the need to teach history honestly (warts and all), the need to eradicate racism and discrimination of all kinds, and the need to maintain our schools and our town as a safe and welcoming place for all regardless of race, religion, gender, background or political persuasion. From the very beginning, however, the DEI survey led by NYU Metro appeared to be biased and result-driven, given NYU Metro’s stated intention of fundamentally "dismantling" and "transforming" public education in a way that focuses all subjects through the lens of race, and which seeks to explain all racial disparities as the result of systemic racism, white supremacy, oppression, or hidden or overt bias. We don't agree with this approach for many reasons.
The bias of NYU was apparent from the start. For example, Reed Swier, the lead facilitator of the Westport equity study from NYU Metro Center and presumably the primary author of the equity study report, has made many public statements that are overtly racist and anti-capitalist. He routinely characterizes and denigrates people based on the color of their skin if they are white, referring to them as white supremacists, colonizers, violent, oppressors, and anti-Black. He blames the “problem” with Black lives on “White children being raised from infancy to violate Black bodies,” cheered when New York City eliminated its nationally known gifted and talented program and supports socialist policies such as canceling rent and mortgages and “tax[ing] the hell out of the rich.” Here is a sampling of some of his public tweets and we urge you and your readers to see them for yourselves. Unfortunately, Mr. Swier is not alone in this regard; other members of NYU Metro have voiced similar opinions, and “anti-whiteness” is a common theme throughout NYU Metro's writings and philosophies, including its concept of “Culturally Responsive Sustaining Education” (CRSE), which the administration recommended be considered as it develops an action plan (see April 25 BOE meeting). The solutions it suggested and which we find detrimental to all students include training teachers in CRSE, of which Transformative SEL is the precursor, both of which are based in this kind of racist ideology. (See the dangers of Transformative SEL for all students, especially those marginalized )
We believe that it is morally repugnant to judge individuals by the color of their skin under any circumstances, and that history has proven that capitalism has done more to lift people out of poverty and provide opportunity than any other system in history. If a Westport student or parent had made the same kind of racists statements as Mr. Swier and others at NYU they would be publicly denounced, and rightfully so. That Westport schools have failed to do so and continued to associate with NYU Metro is nothing less than shameful...
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