Parents and others protested on Tuesday a recent Farmington Public Schools “equity challenge” they said promotes racial division and political indoctrination but what the district called a voluntary outreach effort “about the very diverse population within our own community.”
Bearing homemade signs with messages such as “Family Lives Matter” and “Keep Politics Out of the Classroom,” dozens stood in the cold outside North Farmington High ahead of a school board meeting to voice their opposition and call for the district to end the practice.
“Why are they trying to change the culture?” said Eugene Greenstein, a longtime Farmington Hills resident who joined the demonstrators. “.. .It’s just evil but it’s all done in the name of self-righteousness.”
The uproar comes as educators across the country grapple with reactions to approaching how race is taught in classrooms.
The district’s optional “21-Day Equity Challenge” was open to staff and residents in the district in an online program that did not become part of the curriculum. Held in November, it was modeled after a similar initiative by the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and “curated to contain information about the very diverse population within our own community,” the district said.
“… 21 Day Equity challenges are designed to offer participants the chance to deliberately focus on issues of equity on a daily basis. By building an ‘equity habit,’ we believe we can learn how to more effectively understand and celebrate our differences,” it said.
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The challenge featured “weekly wonderings and Reflections Zoom sessions” that allowed residents to interact with each other and ask questions, Superintendent Chris Delgado said in a statement.
“These activities were completely optional and community members were in
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