Over 160 Minnesota principals have signed onto a pledge to “de-center whiteness” in schools by seeking to eradicate “practices” they view as “reinforc[ing] white academic superiority.”
Calling themselves the “Good Trouble Principals,” a phrase that invokes the deceased civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), the principals appeared to present themselves as courageous heroes willing to make the “sacrifice” for justice, knowing they may “pay the price.”
harm to one’s school/students. The four tenets remain the same & work is categorized accordingly. The four work groups/areas of focus are: pic.twitter.com/XATM7E42uD
— Good Trouble Principals (@GTPrincipals) February 21, 2021
The principals said they see their role as continuing the civil rights movement that Lewis helped lead 57 years ago, when he was a keynote speaker at the March on Washington in 1963.
They quoted the late congressman:
Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.
“We will not pledge loyalty to an institution over loyalty to the purity of children,” the principals wrote. “We will not settle for the few overcomers of the greater system rather than dismantling the system for the greater good.”
Introducing GTP Leanne Kampfe:
“I’m principal at Hopkins West Junior High. My work, every single day, is to work against the ways in which white supremacy defines the field of education, most specifically in the ways it shows up in my school and district… pic.twitter.com/hYu5yy5Fq3
— Good Trouble Principals (@GTPrincipals) January 24, 2021
“White children have been done a great disservice by sustaining white-centered schools in America over all these years,” the school leaders stated, adding, “And it is to their equal benefit to thrive in schools where they are not spoon-fed the poison that they are better because of their skin color.”
The principals said they created their website to be a “safe place to rest among like-minded leaders.”
“It is a place where your convictions about educational justice in our country can be fortified and your view of education as a transformative social force can be reinforced,” they stated, pledging to meet their goal of achieving educational justice by:
1. De-centering Whiteness. Understanding that traditional organized whiteness ensures domination through forms like PTAs and Unions. We purposefully call out and lift up historically non-represented voices of color in our spaces to hold weight and power.
2. Dismantling practices that reinforce White academic superiority like bias in testing and the labeling, tracking and clustering that reflect an Americanized version of a caste system in our schools.
3. Reconstructing “school” upon our full in-person returns where business-as-usual, like schedules and staffing, are open to drastic changes. and engaging in that preparatory work now.
4. Speaking truth to power. Where our commitment to holding ourselves and those who serve under us accountable to this work is just as importantly extended to those who serve over us.
Introducing GTP Bobbie Olson.
“It is my work to listen and amplify while educating myself and the white folks in the system that are my colleagues and superiors…1/2 pic.twitter.com/m4Q2KYNOGv
— Good Trouble Principals (@GTPrincipals) January 30, 2021
Parents Defending Education, a grassroots organization that opposes indoctrination, including Critical Race Theory, in schools, discovered the pledge, reported Fox News.
Erika Sanzi, the group’s director of outreach, said Saturday:
John Lewis believed in diversity of thought and knew that every child needed to be literate and numerate if they were to have the agency and opportunity he so wanted for black Americans and all Americans. The idea that 162 principals think they are honoring his legacy by citing nonexistent research to defend prioritizing the ‘decentering of whiteness’ over the basic responsibility of teaching children to read, write and do basic arithmetic is troubling, but certainly not good trouble.
Sanzi’s reference to “nonexistent research” is related to the principals’ comparison of their effort to the takedown of the Berlin Wall, which divided East and West Germany until the collapse of communism in 1989.
The principals said:
And though we are operating in realities where national educational leaders have never been educators and state educational leaders uphold whiteness as the standard, we also serve in a reality where some of us operate under local elected and appointed leaders that exhibit deep commitment and courage, but others of us do not. And yet still, we have fire in our bones and conviction in our hearts to see these walls come down like 1989 Berlin.
Sanzi said in response, however, the principals likening their responsibility to tearing down the Berlin wall is “a red flag.”
“It shows that they subscribe to an ideology that is ahistorical and far afield from their obligations as educators of other peoples’ children,” she asserted. “While they cheer the collapse of an authoritarian regime in 1989, their version of ‘good trouble’ seems pretty authoritarian.”