Minnesota well-represented at White Privilege conference

PEG questionnaire via their 2014 Courageous Conversations promo video
PEG questionnaire via their 2014 Courageous Conversations promo video
PEG questionnaire via their 2014 Courageous Conversations promo video

Pacific Educational Group (PEG) a for-profit company headquartered in San Francisco, CA, has been bilking Minnesota taxpayers out of millions of dollars for nearly a decade.  The company makes promises to erase racial disparities when school districts agree to engage their staff in conversations about white privilege and white culture. PEG’s annual “Summit for Courageous Conversations on Race” kicked off in Baltimore on Saturday, and over one-fourth of the “equity leaders” from schools presenting at the conference are from Minnesota.

The 5-day summit is being held at the $300+ per night Marriott Renaissance Harborplace Hotel and features dining and entertainment along with work sessions such as:

  • Leading While White:  Courageous Conversation for Activism, for Application to Interruption 
  • Trust me, Gay is not the new Black– or Brown, Yellow, or Red for that Matter!
  • #Systems of Mass Destruction Are Unapologetically Oppressing BlacklivesthatMatter!  (being presented by the West Metro Education Program in Minneapolis)
  • One-man play performance:  “Cops and Robbers” to “analyze officer involved shooting from various perspectives”

PEG hosted a regional summit in the Twin Cities last spring, so why spend taxpayer money to send Minnesota educators across the country? Because PEG is deeply entrenched in the gopher state.  Many Minnesota teachers and administrators have received recognition awards from the company including Valeria Silva, Superintendent of St. Paul Schools and Daniel Jett, current Superintendent of St. Cloud Schools.  St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has been a booster and has provided testimonials of support for PEG.

According to the conference program, at least 33 Minnesota teachers, staff, and administrators are attending the conference this week:

  • Osseo Schools sent at least six staff members who are presenting, total attendees and cost are not yet known
  • Robbinsdale Schools sent four staff members at a cost of $8,235
  • St. Louis Park Schools sent at least five staff members, total attendees and cost are not yet known
  • West Metro Education program in Minneapolis sent at least two staff members, total attendees and cost are not yet known
  • St. Paul Schools confirmed registration expenses for 11 staff members attending the conference, including Superintendent Valeria Silva and CEO of the district, Michelle Walker
  • Minneapolis Schools and did not respond to our request for total cost and number of attendees, Emily Palmer, Principal at Sanford Middle School is presenting at the conference
  • Bemidji State University sent at least one staff member to the conference
  • Mankato State University sent three attendees, including Jean Haar, Dean for the College of Education

One of the four featured speakers in Baltimore is also from Minnesota, former Eden Prairie Superintendent Melissa Krull, who became the co-founder of the “Institute in Arts & Sciences for Courageous Principal Leadership” at Mankato State University. Krull has received past leadership awards from PEG and is now their “Distinguished National Educator.”  The former Superintendent left Eden Prairie Schools shortly after forcing through a controversial busing boundary change which remains in effect today.

PEGOriginally founded by Glenn Singleton as a consulting company to help kids of all races get into Ivy League colleges, PEG morphed into a critical race theory-fueled training company for schools looking for answers to solving the “achievement gap” revealed after implementation of the federal “No Child Left Behind” law.  Singleton authored”Courageous Conversations” in 2005 and the book is sold to schools as a training guide to accompany PEG’s consulting services.  “Racial predictability” and “white culture” are the primary reasons for poor student achievement among “black and brown” students, according to PEG.

St. Paul schools uses the “Courageous Conversation Protocol” throughout the district. Singleton told the Pioneer Press in 2013 “St. Paul Public Schools and schools across the Twin Cities are doing a dreadful job of educating all students, we have partnered with the district to make sure race matters.”

So how are they doing?  None of the 70+ schools in the St. Paul district received “reward school” designation from the state Department of Education this year according to the Star Tribune, who did a story on closing the achievement gaps in September.  According to EAG News. who did a data request to the St. Paul district, $3 million has been spent with PEG since 2010.

One African American teacher in the district, Aaron Anthony Benner, questioned the training and said he was almost fired for complaining about discipline measures based on PEG concepts. Back in 2011, a student in his classroom punched him, yet was immediately returned into his classroom.  Benner believes things have gotten worse in St. Paul schools, and is no longer a teacher in the district.

Other Minnesota districts that have used taxpayer funds to pay PEG for consulting include: Edina, Anoka-Hennepin, Eden Prairie, Rosemount-Eagan-Apple Valley, Bloomington, Duluth, Farmington, Inver Grove Heights, Hopkins, Lakeville, Rochester, Roseville, Richfield, North St. Paul-Maplewood Oakdale, South Washington County, St. Cloud, Spring Lake Park, and Wayzata.




Contributor Alpha News