School district's social justice committee sets first meeting

School district's social justice committee sets first meeting

CHAMPAIGN — Those concerned about social justice in the Champaign schools will get a chance weigh in next week.

The school district's first social justice committee meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday in the board room at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St., C.

Laura Taylor, the school district's assistant superintendent for achievement and student services, will facilitate the meeting and lead the committee.

She's done similar work as former principal of Urbana High School and when teaching administrators at the University of Illinois, she said.

The first couple of meetings, which are scheduled monthly throughout the school year, will be spent learning about social justice and talking about norms and expectations so participants feel like they can share freely.

"We're going to get into what are called courageous conversations," Taylor said. They'll talk about the definition of ideology and who in society creates "what we consider to be the norm and how this often denies individuals access to opportunities," Taylor said.

The committee will also discuss access and what social justice means and what it will look like in the Champaign schools, Taylor said.

You can see the meeting schedule at The district's website also has a Spanish version of the flier.

Taylor said it's possible that some of the meeting locations may change to include more people, depending on what the committee decides.

She said she'll be leading the process and isn't sure what the resulting path will be when the committee finishes its work in May.

Taylor said she's confident "we will have a common definition and an operational framework," by the time the process is done, she said.

One goal is to improve the school district's ability to support students and what they're learning "through a lens of social justice," according to the committee's flier.

Some of the conversations at the committee meetings might make some people uncomfortable, Taylor said.

"It's worth the risk because it's so important," Taylor said.

Superintendent Judy Wiegand said the committee is important because it will help the school district serve people better.

"One of our greatest assets in Unit 4 is our diversity, and the social justice committee will provide an open forum to discuss how we can better serve our students, families and staff," Wiegand said. "Dr. Taylor spearheaded a similar program during her time at Urbana, and we are fortunate that she is bringing that experience and passion to the table here at Unit 4."

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45solte wrote on September 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm

The Courageous Conversations (Glenn Singleton) model focuses on the ideology of 'white privilege' ('white supremacy' see below).   For parents, community members who believe in equal protection issues, please take note of what is going on in our public schools with social justice initiatives such as this committee.

'I think we will experience discomfort as we break loose from the shackles of interracial silence. For many people of color, the avoidance of dialogue about matters racial, creates inner conflict and perhaps, permanent physical and psychological damage. For White educators, silence continues to foster feelings of guilt, not to mention a deep-seated fear of interracial confrontation. Or perhaps, silence enables racially dominant people to avoid acknowledging their own lasting cultural incompetence when it comes to understanding the plight of people of color and the learning needs of our children.'

'I have, indeed learned to live with this expectation and acceptance of non-closure. That is, I will not see the end of White supremacy not because we, as a human race, lack the skill, knowledge or even capacity to stop it, but because our existing collective failure is due to our ever-present lack of will to realize the lofty and noble principles of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and justice for all.'

Non-closure can be be lucrative:

When Glenn Singleton was invited by his publisher to author a second Courageous Conversations book, his rst thought was, why? True, the st book has won several awards and continues to be a bestseller six years later. But far too few educators have yet to experience the intended positive impact and thus, gain the full benet of utilizing the Four Agreements, Six Conditions, and Compass when addressing racial issues in their personal, professional, and organizational spheres of in-uence. In this book talk, Singleton will speak directly to the expressed challenges of mastering the protocol and moving the Courageous Conversation from theory to practice. Engage with his new text and grapple with a few of its most provocative narratives, themes, and calls for action. Examine deeply and recommit to our personal racial equity purpose.

Glenn Singleton is President/CEO and Founder of Pacic Educational

Group, Inc. He is the co-author of Courageous Conversations About Race:

A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools. His second book, More

Courageous Conversations About Race, will be released in October 2012.

'got privilege?'

'Supreme Court justices have criticized the bizarre racial philosophy that Glenn Singleton promotes, in the landmark Supreme Court case of Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007)'

'Chief Justice Roberts highlighted the Seattle Schools' attack on "individualism," which (as noted above) Singleton claims is a white characteristic.

Justice Thomas criticized not only the Seattle Schools' bizarre racism definitions, but also their obsession with "white privilege," a concept relentlessly promoted by Glenn Singleton.'

pattsi wrote on September 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Having read the descriptive documents, my question is whether this is more about academic justice rather than social justice. If, indeed, it is the latter, then it might be worthwhile to engage with the Community Justice Task Force that the County Board put in place in conjunction with the jail issue.