St. Joseph Public Schools Board clarifies Strategic Plan after concerns about Critical Race Theory

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ST. JOSEPH, Mich.--- The St. Joseph Public Schools Board clarified its new Strategic Plan after a Facebook post went viral stating the district would be teaching Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory or CRT is a graduate level course usually only taught in law schools. 

"We felt that being transparent and forthright with what we do know and what we can say was important and could assuage some of that wondering that was out there," said Jenny Fee, the district's new superintendent.

Prior to public comment at Monday night's meeting, the board issued a statement saying it would not be teaching CRT. The board went on to say that its new strategic plan does help make sure everyone feels included, valued, and safe at school. 

Full statement:

"There exists in our nation and community considerable discussion around the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 Public Schools. Critical Race Theory is not included in the curriculum of St. Joseph Public Schools. Our curriculum follows the state of Michigan K-12 education standard and Critical Race Theory is not apart of these state required curriculum standards."

"Our teachers are charged with teaching students to think objectively about a breadth of topics and to analyze and evaluate information from multiple perspectives. to support students' application of analytical and evaluative thinking, teachers present information in a developmentally appropriate and neutral manner."

"The Board of Education and our SJPS staff recognize that diversity among our students, staff, families, and community members exists and is integral to the District's mission to prepare students to successfully meet the challenges of the future. The board and staff have spent countless hours developing and approving a Strategic Plan that ensures all students feel included, important, and cared for. It is our goal to create safe, inclusive, working and learning environments in which each person is treated with respect and dignity and provided equitable access to opportunities."

"The recently adopted Strategic Plan has unfortunately been portrayed as a vehicle for teaching Critical Race Theory. This is not accurate. The published plan supports the academic, physical, social and emotional well-being of ALL St. Joseph students and in no way aims to divide, blame or advantage one group over another, as alluded to in some conversations around Critical Race Theory."

"The Board is proud of and stands by our student-centered Strategic Plan in that it embodies inclusivity and the support of the whole child."

You can find the new strategic plan here.

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