New Trier Township High School District 203 Board of Education (seated from left): John Myefski, F. Malcolm “Mac” Harris, Gregory J. Robitaille President (standing from left): Patrick O’Donoghue, Lori A. Goldstein Vice President, Cathleen H. Albrecht, Alan R. Dolinko
NEW TRIER TOWNSHIP - An all-day seminar planned for New Trier High School students on the topic of “Understanding Today’s Struggle for Racial Civil Rights” will continue as planned for February 28th, Board of Education President Greg Robitaille announced on the Daily North Shore's website.
Despite many parents and taxpayers expressing concern about the speakers invited to lecture the New Trier students, more expressed support and justified the Board's decision to proceed:
The Board has considered the input from those in the community who advocate for changes to the February 28th program. We have listened to calls for “conservative viewpoints,” “balance,” and presenting the “other side.” We have heard from those who advocate cancelling the event. We have also heard from many, many more members of our community that Seminar Day should proceed as planned.
The day's speakers are Colter Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad, and Andrew Aylin, assistant to one-time civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis. There is no representative from conservative blacks such as Thomas Sowell, Condeleezza Rice, Dr. Ben Carson and the like.
The board is fine with the topics and the presentation planned:
The view of the Board President and the Superintendent is that this day is intended to discuss, debate, empathize, and learn about issues and different perspectives related to civil rights. We are presenting a diverse set of topics and we are discussing many issues by examining them from different perspectives. A case in point is affirmative action policies and the related session in which we ask, “Do they help or hurt, who do they help or hurt, and are they effective?”
And, the board chairman says, the discussion is not political.
The committee at New Trier designed this seminar to be a pedagogical exercise, not a political one. Therefore, the notion that this day somehow advances an agenda or point of view is just not borne out by the goals and structure of the sessions. Where appropriate, topics will be covered from multiple perspectives. However, we are not going to, for example, question the very existence of racism in furtherance of some extreme notion of balance.
The seminar will go on, President Robitaille said HERE.
The 2015 Illinois State Report Card for New Trier District 203 showed the student population is 85.3 percent white, .6 percent African-American, 3.9 percent Hispanic, 7.4 percent Asian, and .1 percent American Indian.