PORTLAND, Ore. – An Oregon school district has been fined by the state for “over-disciplining” black students.
The Oregonian reports:
The Oregon Department of Education has fined Portland Public Schools for disciplining African American special education students at a higher rate than other students.
The punishment means the district must use $1.5 million, or 15 percent of its federal funding from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, between the 2014-15 school year and the 2015-16 school year to address the problem.
Specifically, the district must use the funds to “implement programs aimed at improving its track record on special education discipline.”
The fine is a drop in the bucket compared to what the district has spent on “cultural sensitivity” training for employees to combat “white privilege” and the cultural misunderstandings of Caucasian employees – presumably to address these issues.
In 2012, EAGnews revealed the district had spent $526,901 to conduct training for educators the previous year.
The district was scrutinized because of the questionable nature and value of the training.
One example used involved a teacher referring to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” asked Dr. Verenice Gutierrez, a principal in the Portland district.
“Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”
The theory goes that if a teacher uses a quintessentially American example – peanut butter and jelly – they are exerting their “white privilege” over minority students.
In 2013, it was reported the school district had spent a total of $2.4 million on such training over the previous 6 years.
But that was all for naught, apparently.
“This was news we didn’t want to hear, but we know it’s an area where we have to work, and we are,” district spokeswoman Christine Miles tells The Oregonian.
Carole Smith, Portland’s superintendent, has yet to spell out how the money will be spent, but the paper reports “she has hinted that restorative justice programs could be a part of the plan.”
Translation: more spending to combat “white privilege.”