Dept. of Education Spent $20.3 Million on 10 Equity Centers To Fight the ‘Isms’

November 14, 2013 - 2:06 PM

 

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(CNSNews.com) - The Department of Education (DOE) spent $20,396,892 over the last three years to set up and staff 10 Equity Assistance Centers (EACs) across the United States that work with school districts and state boards of education to fight “all of the –isms, like racism, ableism, orientation, etc.,” Velma Cobb, director of the EAC at Touro College in Lower Manhattan, told CNSNews.com.

The EACs cover 10 regions throughout the United States, and are funded under Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. DOE spent $6,575,460 on EACs in 2013,  $6,938,817 in 2012, and $6,882,615 in 2011.

Jenelle Leonard, director of Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (OESE) School Support and Rural Programs, which provides oversight for the EACs, told CNSNews.com that the facilities “offer technical assistance to school districts, state education agencies, and others who seek to resolve civil rights conflicts and promote social justice and equity.”

Cobb explained that the centers are working in the “areas of harassment, bullying, and prejudice reduction.” They also analyze discipline and suspension data to determine “whether a pattern of overrepresentation of a particular group or gender exists.”

“We train and ask questions that try to get at: whose voice is present?  Whose voice is missing?  What population(s) does a decision affect and how are they affected?  Whose interest will be served by a decision?” Cobb told CNSNews.com in an email.

“Using the vehicles of technical assistance as mentioned above, we address school culture and climate; how identity influence[s] decisions; expectations and assumptions; implicit and explicit bias; all of the –isms like racism, sexism, ableism, orientation, etc.,” she added.

But Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, says that EACs merely offer “canned jargon from the political left.”

“The tactics of groups like the EACs are more about producing group-think and stifling freedom of speech than they are about reducing harassment, bullying and prejudice,” Crouse told CNSNews.com in a statement. "None of us likes bullying and decent people cringe at instances of harassment, discrimination and prejudice, but the grievance industry that has sprung up in recent years capitalizing on such behavior is increasing the problem rather than the solution,” she said.

"The EACs are a bureaucratic expansion of a victim mentality throughout school systems. Local teachers, school counselors and principals are the appropriate ones to handle incidences of bullying and harassment, not outside technocrats spouting social justice rhetoric and offering canned jargon from the radical left."

Crouse added that if any voices are missing, it’s the voices of boys and men, especially on college campuses.

"If there is over-representation at educational institutions today, it is an excess of women. Women now routinely are more than half of the student body in colleges and universities. Girls and women are getting far more preferential treatment in the nation's classrooms than are boys and men.”

Dr. Seena Skelton, director of the Great Lakes Equity Center at Indiana University, told CNSNews.com that EACs “provide long-term collaborative consultation and technical assistance to school systems wanting to engage in systemic change work for creating and sustaining equitable learning environments (i.e. schools and classrooms where all students have equal access to, are represented in, and have meaningful participation in high quality learning environments).”

When she was asked what her EAC specifically does to reduce “harassment, bullying, and prejudice,” she replied that it involves “disseminating information and print resources about harassment, bullying and prejudice, bringing schools together that are working on these matters for shared learning and action planning to address the issues.”

Crouse pointed out that problematic behavior has increased in schools in the absence of school prayer and the teaching of Judeo-Christian values.

“It is ironic that since we eliminated prayer in schools and stopped instilling Judeo-Christian values in our students, they are left floundering without a moral and ethical foundation for how to treat each other and respect other people who are different. Schools are desperately trying to fill the void by bringing in outsiders to try to teach manners, politeness, respect and other relationship skills,” she said. “Sadly, though, they are unable to make up for the lack of Sunday School training, parental guidance and the dearth of role models in children's lives today."