162 school principals sign ‘de-centering whiteness’ pledge, accuse unions, PTA of white supremacy

A group of 162 Minnesota principals and assistant principals who call themselves the “Good Trouble Principals” cosigned a pledge with a goal of “de-centering Whiteness” in education.

They are echoing the words of the late civil rights icon and former Georgia congressman John Lewis and are describing themselves as “a loose collection of local principals bound together by a commitment to changing our nation’s future by engaging in better, more equitable education practices.”

“John Lewis said: ‘Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble,’” the group’s website contends.

“The undersigned principals declare publicly today that we are making some noise and getting in good trouble. Not for a day, a week, a month, or a year. But for a lifetime. And not because it is popular but because it is right. And not because we haven’t been engaged in good trouble before, but because we embrace the risk of being public with our declaration of getting in good trouble today,” the statement asserts. It was actually written in August 2020 but seems to still be gaining momentum.

The site proclaims they intend to accomplish their goals by “de-centering Whiteness” and “dismantling the practices that reinforce White academic superiority.” That allegedly includes standardized testing and “an Americanized version of a caste system in our schools.”

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) described standardized testing as a “pillar of systemic racism” earlier this year.

It doesn’t stop there. The group also accused Parent Teacher Associations and teachers’ unions of assisting and promoting white supremacy.

“Traditional organized Whiteness ensures domination through forms like PTAs and Unions,” the site contends. “We purposefully call out and lift up historically non-represented voices of color in our spaces to hold weight and power.”

Mauri Melander Friestleben, a member of the group, claims that PTAs and unions have played a part in attempting to keep schools segregated and have tried to remove “contracted teachers of color without due process.”

“De-centering that means understanding that history in order to identify any present indicators that may be operating in that same light,” she noted to Fox News Saturday.

The statement was discovered by Parents Defending Education, a grassroots organization that opposes liberal indoctrination in schools.

“John Lewis believed in diversity of thought and knew that every child needed to be literate and numerate if they were to have the agency and opportunity he so wanted for Black Americans and all Americans,” Erika Sanzi, the group’s director of outreach stated Saturday. “The idea that 162 principals think they are honoring his legacy by citing nonexistent research to defend prioritizing the ‘decentering of whiteness’ over the basic responsibility of teaching children to read, write and do basic arithmetic is troubling, but certainly not good trouble.”

“We write today, 57 years later, to say the fight for educational equality rages on and so does our counter,” the principals’ statement reads.

“We will not be moved. We write to say it is our role as school principals to be the faces and names of this fight; to be in the forefront and not the shadows,” it continues. “We will not pledge loyalty to an institution over loyalty to the purity of children.”

“And though we are operating in realities where national educational leaders have never been educators and state educational leaders uphold whiteness as the standard, we also serve in a reality where some of us operate under local elected and appointed leaders that exhibit deep commitment and courage, but others of us do not,” the statement posits. “And yet still, we have fire in our bones and conviction in our hearts to see these walls come down like 1989 Berlin.”

“Principals comparing their responsibility as educators in the United States in 2021 to tearing down the Berlin Wall is a red flag,” Sanzi warned. “It shows that they subscribe to an ideology that is ahistorical and far afield from their obligations as educators of other peoples’ children. While they cheer the collapse of an authoritarian regime in 1989, their version of ‘good trouble’ seems pretty authoritarian.”

Melander Friestleben aggressively defended the Berlin Wall comparison, saying “Minnesota has been leading the country in educational outcome disparities amongst students of color and white students for almost two decades now. That’s the symbolism, for me, in walls coming down: seeing those outcomes tumble.”

The group’s Facebook page gives a shout-out to Abolitionist Teaching Network founder Bettina Love.

The Abolitionist Teaching Network has previously claimed that “Whiteness” is a form of oppression and has proceeded to accuse the U.S. educational system of the “spirit murder” of “Black, Brown and Indigenous children.”


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