SAN FRANCISCO – The Pacific Educational Group (PEG) espouses a lot of controversial and stereotypical concepts regarding minority students in K-12 schools.
For instance, the organization teaches that black kids are less likely to respond to fundamental ideas like working hard to achieve success, or being on time for school or work, because those ideas are supposedly foreign to African-American culture.
PEG is literally selling notions like that to American public schools, and the schools are buying them, at a cost of millions of tax dollars every year.
One prominent black professional, journalist and author Juan Williams, thinks those schools are subscribing to a politically-driven philosophy that grossly underestimates the capabilities of minority students, particularly black children.
“These people (associated with PEG) are engaged in cultural, political arguments that are based on negative stereotypes of black capacity to achieve in any situation,” Williams said.
“My mother never would have said, ‘You don’t have to be on time. If you are then you are acting white.’ That idea is tragically insulting.”
EAGnews recently obtained a partial list of American school districts that contract with San Francisco-based PEG for educational consulting services. Most of those services come in the form of workshops for teachers and other staff members.
Forty-two districts on that list responded to an EAGnews request for information about how much they have paid PEG over the past five years.
The total amount was $3.9 million between 2010 and 2015, with some districts spending a lot more than others.
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The biggest spender on the list was Pittsburgh Public Schools, which paid PEG a whopping $586,300 over a four-year period.
The district’s initial investment was $231,000 in the 2010-11 school year. It spent $96,100 the following year, then $183,200 in 2012-13 and $76,000 in 2013-14.
Then there’s the Osseo, Minnesota school district, which has paid PEG $533,800 over the past three years.
It started with a $100,000 payment in the 2012-13 school year, followed by $225,000 in 2013-14 and $208,800 in 2014-15.
The other top PEG spenders on the list are Baltimore County Public Schools ($427,000), Lawrence Public Schools in Kansas ($362,750), Talbot County Public Schools in Maryland ($259,100) and the Bellevue School District in Washington ($237,100, including $153,600 in 2014-15).
What are the educators in these districts learning in exchange for all of that money?
The PEG message is centered on the concept of “white privilege” and the detrimental impact it supposedly has on minority students.
On a basic level, PEG teaches that minority students don’t do as well as white students on the average because traditional American education is structured around white cultural norms, which are frequently difficult for minority students to grasp.
Reasonable people might see value in that idea. It makes sense for teachers and other educators to be more aware of the various cultural influences and traditions that shape the mentality of their students.
But many people believe PEG goes overboard with the concept, to an alarming degree. Many of the organization’s messages seem to suggest that minority kids are incapable of learning and succeeding unless K-12 curriculum is specifically customized for them.
“When I came here the teachers really did believe that they were doing the best job for the population that they worked with,” Sharon Brittingham, a school principal, told a 2010 “white privilege” conference in Wisconsin, which PEG helped organize. “But what had to change was that belief that these children could learn at high levels of expectations.”
Teachers are actually encouraged by PEG to segregate children by race.
PEG doesn’t put it quite that bluntly, but it does instruct teachers to identify “focus students,” adding that “it is preferable for all the students to be of the same racial group.”
Teachers are also taught that they should have separate behavior expectations for minority students, because those students supposedly come from cultures with radically different values.
For instance, one of the annual white privilege conferences in Wisconsin taught participants that minority kids frequently have a “different value and view on time, missed days, working together, and wait time between questions and answers.”
It tells teachers to “be flexible” with minority students who are persistently late or miss a lot of school days. It also tells teachers to be tolerant if black children exhibit “an exuberant participation style of shouting out answers and questions.”
According to PEG, white culture is based on “white individualism” or “white traits” like “rugged individualism,” “adherence to rigid time schedules,” “plan(ning) for the future,” and the idea that “hard work is the key to success.”
Minority students shouldn’t be expected to subscribe to those values because they are foreign to their culture, according to PEG.
Williams strongly disagrees.
“The tradition of black Americans throughout history is one that values the opportunity for education,” Williams said. “That includes being on time and working hard in school. You won’t find a black mother or father who says that’s not our tradition.
“We’re all in the same American culture. In any job you have to be on time. That’s just the way the world works. These people are engaged in cultural and political arguments that are based on negative stereotypes of black capacity to achieve in any situation. They are not helping these kids.”
Here is a partial (and by no means exhaustive) list of school districts spending taxpayer money on “white privilege” training for employees:
EAG’s Kyle Olson appeared on the May 5th episode of “The O’Reilly Factor” to discuss “white privilege” theory and referenced this report:
“Outnumbered” discussed our story on the May 7th episode:
So did “Fox & Friends:”