Anchorage School District leaders repeatedly claim they have no intention of teaching critical race theory and yet district leadership is actively encouraging teachers to enroll in a so-called “anti-racist” workshop that condemns “whiteness” and pushes the core tenets of critical race theory.
Teachers received an email from Superintendent Deena Bishop last week inviting them to join a two-day training that aims to “decenter whiteness” and expose how educators reinforce traditional authority structures that enable racism in Alaska’s classrooms.
Scheduled for Dec. 4 and Dec. 18, the workshops are hosted and funded through the University of Alaska, Anchorage. They feature radical critical race theory activist Felicia Rose Chavez, author of “The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom.”
In a YouTube video from earlier this year, Chavez described her workshops as a means of empowering “everyday writers of color” who have been systemically shut down and silenced due to systemic racism in America’s schools.
“I’m done with being silent,” Chavez said. “The anti-racist writing workshop is a memoir in how to decenter whiteness, decenter authority.”
She added that it’s “time to go beyond a posturing of diversity and evolve a system that no longer works. It’s time, each and every one of us reflect on how we reinforce racism in our classrooms. It’s time for actual change.”
The workshop is being provided exclusively for Anchorage School District and Middle College Educators and is hosted by the Writing Project at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
To entice Anchorage teachers into taking the course, the UAA program is offering participants a $3,000 stipend along with a $200 book stipend. The enrollment deadline was Nov. 19.
Bishop’s email also included several resources for teachers to rethink how they present Thanksgiving Day by putting greater emphasis on how the white pilgrims oppressed Native Americans because their “underlying motive to move the ‘New World’ [was a] desire to own and control Indian Lands.”
— Contact Anchorage School District Superintendent Deena Bishop at 907-742-4312 or firstname.lastname@example.org
— Contact Anchorage School Board members here.
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Editor’s note: This story was updated on Nov. 24 to clarify that funding and stipends for the writing workshop are provided through UAA.