University Cancels Plan to Pay Professors to Create CRT Curricula
By Brittany Bernstein, January 10, 2022
The University of Memphis has scrapped plans for a social-justice program that would have paid some professors $3,000 to add critical race theory principles to their curricula, according to a new report.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee told the Washington Free Beacon that he contacted the public university after reading reports about the program, which would have encouraged the addition of “diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice” teachings to curricula at the school by offering 15 to 20 faculty members $3,000 each beginning in the spring of 2022 and ending one year later, according to an email from university officials.
“The University of Memphis informed my office that the initiative will not move forward. We welcome robust debate on college campuses, but taxpayer dollars should never be used to fuel a divisive, radical agenda,” Lee said. “Ending this program was the right decision, and I thank the university for hearing our concerns.”
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) echoed this sentiment, saying, “Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund a woke social justice agenda.”
The Daily Caller noted that information about the program, “Infusing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice into existing Courses/Curriculum,” can still be found on the university’s website.
The program was created under the university’s “Eradicating Systemic Racism and Promoting Social Justice Initiative.”
Meanwhile, a new database of more than 500 institutions revealed that at least 236 colleges or universities have some form of mandatory student training or coursework on ideas related to critical race theory. One hundred and forty-nine schools have some form of mandatory faculty or staff training, according to CriticalRace.org. The database, created by Cornell University law professor William A. Jacobson, found that the programs focus on concepts including “anti-racism,” “equity,” “implicit bias,” and critical race theory.
U. Tennessee to launch CRT center, require professors commit to DEI for tenure
By Christian Schneider | The College Fix Jan 12, 2022
(The College Fix) – A slate of diversity plans filed by individual schools within the University of Tennessee-Knoxville will require some professors to commit to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices to gain tenure, create a new critical race center on campus, and embed diversity-based curricula throughout the university, according to plans obtained by The College Fix.
The College Fix obtained the plans from 20 different academic departments and administrative divisions, which together totaled 322 new pages of diversity regulations, requirements and goals to improve equity on campus.
The plan submitted by the Division of Diversity and Engagement vows to partner with the Critical Race Collective to create a center to “enhance research and scholarship capacity in this area of study and identify current racist policies and practices on campus.”
The College of Law submitted an expansive plan, including provisions to create bylaws “that require a commitment to diversity for faculty tenure and advancement.”
The law school also plans to embed diversity and inclusion “throughout the existing curriculum” by spring 2022 as well as launch a bias reporting system separate from the one maintained by the school. It will also create a certificate program in diversity and inclusion within the college.
Diversity work as a condition of advancement and tenure status for professors was also included in plans submitted by the School of Engineering and School of Social Work.
Kerry Gardner, assistant director of news and information for UT-Knoxville, told The College Fix via email Tuesday the public institution is “committed to attracting and retaining a diverse student body, faculty, and staff by creating a welcoming campus where all people can be successful, feel like they have found a place to belong, learn from each other, and express themselves.”
“To fulfill that commitment, in fall 2020, each college and vice chancellor unit created plans tailored to their specific areas,” Gardner said. “These are living documents that provide clarity and transparency with respect to the university’s diversity efforts. The plans will be updated over time as needs change and we evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts.”
In the wake of the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd in May 2020, UT-Knoxville convened a Diversity Action Plan Implementation Committee, which then required individual departments within the university submit their own “Diversity Action Plan” to improve equity within the school.
Gardner said the diversity plan project is consistent with the UT Board of Trustees’ diversity statement of October 2020.
Legislators Prepare To Move Forward With School Funding Reform
Image Credit: Tennessee Department of Education / Facebook – Link to Draft framework for Education Funding Formula HERE.
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Even as questions continue to be raised about the revamping of school funding in Tennessee, state legislators are looking to continue to move along with the reform during this session.
Many want to know what the expected contribution from local school systems will be, how student achievement will be factored in to the new formula, and how much extra funding schools should receive to effectively educate economically disadvantaged students and those with disabilities.
Representative Mark White of Memphis says he approves of pushing forward, despite the number of questions that remain unanswered.
“I know the local portion is complex and it’s very important, however, I don’t want to see us delay what the state can do while the General Assembly is in session,” White said. “I would like for us to move forward with that.”
On Wednesday, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said that Governor Lee had not yet decided if he would push for the legislation to be passed this year.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton of Crossville and House Majority Leader William Lamberth of Portland have both said they are in favor of moving ahead with the new funding formula.
“We’re all wanting to sit down and have the conversations. We’re waiting to hear from the steering committee, but we want to improve education in our state and I think we need to increase the base funding and do some other things,” Sexton said on Thursday.
Sexton has given his support to an outcomes-based funding formula that would provide bonuses to schools that have higher student achievement. Critics say this would be a disadvantage to districts with economically disadvantaged students because of the correlation between achievement and socioeconomic status.
“I believe that school systems should all start with the same base but if you’re a high-performing school system you should get additional funding as well,” Sexton said.
The draft framework uses performance measures like ACT scores, literacy scores, and completion rate of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Legislators have asked to see how other states figure out local funding amounts. Tennessee law currently states that local funds designated for education cannot be decreased even if the state provides additional funding. The state is allowed to withhold state funding if local budgets do not comply.
Schwinn has recommended that local communities be held harmless for the new funding changes for as much as five years to allow them time to adjust.
“One of the things that we’ve heard pretty significantly across the state is that the maintenance of effort should not change, that it should stay consistent with what that local contribution is, but the way we calculate a potential local contribution, that is where we really want to focus,” Schwinn said.
Senator Bo Watson of Hixson is pushing for the legislators to consider what other states do, “rather than locking ourselves into believing that our formula has this maintenance of effort that we’re all used to.”
The steering committee, made up of nine legislators from the House and Senate leadership, met for the first time after Thursday’s release of the draft for the new funding formula. This committee has been leading the funding review process since its launch by Governor Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn.
Students even gathered by the hundreds on street corners to sing worship songs to Jesus. See below.
Because of the China Virus pandemic, Passion has decided to stream and translate the services in real-time to a multitude of languages including French, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic. Click here to watch.
FOR THE REST OF THE STORY, MORE INFORMATION AND ADDITIONAL ARTICLES