New Trier High School Administration and Board of Education
United States of America

Our beloved Chicago is coping daily with a 50% high school graduation rates for black youth trapped in failing inner city schools; African American neighborhoods, once thriving with businesses and vibrant communities, today devastated and impoverished by violence; skyrocketing murder rates, and 80 percent of victims are black. Against this backdrop, New Trier High School is holding an all-school, all-day seminar, "Understanding Today's Struggle for Racial Civil Rights" on Tuesday, February 28.

When an organic group of parents (and students!) examined the day's topics and speakers, concern turned to action. Why? As documented throughout the website www.ParentsofNewTrier.org:

1. The consistently biased content and worldview of panels and speakers, in overt violation of the New Trier School Board's own regulations (BOE Policy 6-80) on ensuring balance in such discussions (see "What you Need to Know").

2. No diversity of thought or real solutions are offered on how to improve race relations or the lives of African Americans (e.g., school choice, changing federal tax and welfare policy that penalizes marriage, constructively getting to inner-city kids before the gangs do, etc.)

3. Evidence that diversity programs like this one do more harm than good, re-enforcing stereotypes and building resentments (see "Research" under Harvard Business Review study). Data indicates that project-based solutions, i.e., working and volunteering together, achieve the most benefits.

4. The question of whether outside seminar leaders have been properly vetted, considering the controversial and inappropriate nature of some of their social media accounts: I.e., certain speakers advocate for resistance against the police, suggest books like "Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism," and refer to the police as "animals" (see: "In Their Own Words".)

5. The overt exclusion of parents from being involved in the development of this year's program. This despite repeated requests by parents to be involved, and concerns expressed by parents about last year's very similar Seminar Day, which 40% of students did not attend;

6. No mechanism exists for parents to sign off on a child's involvement or panel discussion selection for the day, even though such mechanisms and requirements exist for courses, special projects within certain coursework and field trips, etc.

For the above-mentioned reasons (with further support found on the website, "Parents of New Trier"), we, the undersigned, call on New Trier Administrators and Board of Education members to:

1. Amend the Day to provide balance and reflect diversity of thought on these important issues, with parental input guiding such balance; or

2. Change the Day to a non-school day/evening/or make it an "opt-in" program; or

3. Cancel the Day as it currently exists, and reschedule after it is rebuilt with diverse points of view in accordance with New Trier School Board policy.

4. Further, we request a meeting with New Trier administrators and New Trier School Board members to discuss these options, and request that the meeting take place on or before Friday, February 10, 2017.

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The Balance - or else suspend - New Trier's Seminar Day on race petition to New Trier High School Administration and Board of Education was written by Say "No" to Cook County Mandates and is in the category Education at GoPetition.