Hundreds of Minnesota principals are facing renewed scrutiny over their pledge to “decenter whiteness” amid a national debate on indoctrination in the classroom.
More than 150 principals have signed the pledge, first released in August 2020 by a group of educators who call themselves the “Good Trouble Principals.”
They take their name from the late congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis, who told his followers in 2018 to “never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble.”
“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,” the Good Trouble Principals write in their letter.
They have four goals, including “de-centering whiteness” and “dismantling practices that reinforce white academic superiority.”
To decenter whiteness, one must understand “that traditional organized whiteness ensures domination through forms like PTAs and unions,” the principals claim.
By targeting whiteness, however, the principals do not believe they are “leaving white children behind by lifting Black, Brown and Indigenous children up.”
Instead, they think white kids “have been done a great disservice by sustaining white-centered schools in America over all these years.”
“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,” they write.
A total of 162 principals have publicly signed their names to the pledge, but the group has more than 300 members. Many declined to publicly sign “the covenant” to avoid facing “district and community backlash for affiliation,” Good Trouble Principals wrote on Twitter.
Parents Defending Education, a national, grassroots nonprofit, called out the group of Minnesota principals over the weekend.
“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,” Erika Sanzi, the group’s director of outreach, told Fox News.
“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.”