Chatham Schools using Critical Race Theory themed teacher training

District paid training firm over $73,000 between 2017 and May of 2022

RALEIGH — Teacher training materials with Critical Race Theory (CRT) themes are being used in Chatham County Public Schools according to materials obtained by North State Journal from whistleblowers in the district.

Individuals within the school district provided copies of materials used in the training which was “required” for top-level district staff, teachers in grades six through eight, as well as school counselors.

At least one session of this training was conducted before the start of the 2022-23 school year, on Aug. 9 and Aug. 10.

CRT training of K-12 school staff similar to that in Chatham County Public Schools has also been found in neighboring Orange County and in Wake County. In the case of Wake County, the district’s former Office of Equity Affairs leader attempted to deny the training involved CRT despite his office arranging for a course titled “Intro to Critical Race Theory” to be included in the district’s professional development offerings.

The training materials were created by “EduConsulting Firm” and utilize substantial amounts of the CRT-themed course “Courageous Conversations” from Glenn Singleton’s Pacific Education Group.

EduConsulting Firm, which boasts over a dozen NC school districts as clients, describes itself as a “professional growth agency committed to providing innovative, research-based instructional solutions that are both engaging and practical.”

The business was apparently formed in 2012, however, no records for EduConsulting Firm were located at the N.C. Secretary of State.

Services EduConsulting Firm supplies include “K-12 Professional Development, Academic Rigor, Instructional Coaching, K-12 Literacy, School Processes, Diversity / Cultural Responsiveness / Poverty, Beginning Teachers, and Classroom Leadership.”

The materials reviewed by North State Journal came from a binder and included topics such as “aspects and assumptions of white culture in the United States” that offered an extensive list of characteristics the author believes are “common” for “most white people” in the country. The list has 14 topic areas each with between two and ten sub-topics beneath them.

Another page included a “white privilege” exercise made up of 13 assumptive statements for white teachers to either agree or disagree with. Yet another exercise instructed teachers to construct their “racial autobiography.”

The binder included a reading passage by Singleton titled “White is a Color!” Questions paired with the reading ask teachers mainly centered on examining their “whiteness.” For example, one question asks, “How closely does his description/definition align with your own personal concept of what it means to be White?”

A report by the Chatham Journal details the same materials obtained by the North State Journal, including a large number of screenshots from the training binder presented by EduConsulting Firm.

Through a public records request, North State Journal obtained all payments made by Chatham County Public Schools to EduConsulting Firm. The records received show that between 2017 and May of 2022, over $73,000 in payments using taxpayer dollars were made by the district.

All of the above checks along with the related invoices can be accessed here.

More “required” equity training events followed on Aug. 23 and Aug. 24 that led by EduConsulting Firm’s Dr. Dutchess Maye.

The Aug 23-24 sessions expanded beyond classroom teachers for grades six through eight by including Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) instructors, English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers as well as all pre-K, elementary school, and high school teachers.

On top of required equity training, “Principal Equity Lunch and Learns” were set up by the district’s Executive Director for Excellence and Opportunity, Chris Poston. There are eight of these lunch events apparently scheduled well into the school year, ranging from Aug. of 2022 through June 2023. Principals are also supposedly required to attend.

Poston was named to the post in June of 2021 following 14 years of service in Chatham County Schools.

Per a post on the district’s website, “In his new role, Mr. Poston will lead efforts to implement the district’s equity agenda as we work to support the academic achievement of all students and foster family and community engagement to activate and elevate voice and advocacy for historically underrepresented populations.”

A request for comment sent to Poston remains unanswered.

Additional events to attend were shared with staff during the previous school year, according to an employee within the district who spoke with North State Journal.

One such event was the “Let’s Talk Racism Virtual Conference: Seeing Critical Race in our schools from theory to praxis” that took place in March of this year. That event was organized and hosted by Ronda Taylor Bullock and her group, Working to Extend Anti-Racist Education (We Are).

Bullock’s We Are hosted a “CRT Town Hall” in December 2021. During the town hall and commentary following it, Bullock depicted CRT pushback by parents at school board meetings as “gaslighting” and an example of the rise of “white supremacy.”

About A.P. Dillon 749 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_