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Watertown School Super Spent $3K on Equity Consultant for Mandatory In-Service Training
The Real Cost of Federal Funding...

The Dakota Leader · Watertown School Super Spent $3K on Mandatory Diversity Training

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Dec. 5, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal.

The Watertown School District's Superintendent has created quite the stir among his staff and parents alike, after intrusive surveys were passed out during a mandatory in-service training on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. During the mandatory training, teachers and staff listened to a four-hour-long presentation from "Equity Consultant" Wayne Felton. At the end of the presentation however, surveys were passed around to teachers and staff that asked very personal questions. Although the surveys were optional to complete, several attendees have since shared that they felt very uncomfortable at the time. Others have taken to social media, voicing concerns related to the district's general direction under Superintendent Dr. Jeff Danielson.

According to Public Action Notice 23079, Superintendent Danielson used $3,000 in taxpayer funds for Wayne Felton's speaking fee. Felton, a previous Christian minister, now travels to help educational facilities with consulting, training and strategic planning of D.E.I policies and racial incident response procedures.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has become common place on many college campuses, and is now creeping into k-12 education under the auspices of closing the achievement gap.
However, according to a 2021 study conducted by Backgrounder, results showed that "the existence of Chief Diversity Officers may actually exacerbate achievement gaps between white and black students, white and Hispanic students, and wealthier and poor students. These findings are consistent with the observation that CDOs have more to do with political activism than with improving education outcomes—or narrowing achievement gaps between students."

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training is currently optional, left to the discretion of school boards and superintendents. However, the issue of political activism in the classroom is becoming a more nuanced discussion, especially within school districts that accept federal funding like Watertown, Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

LEAs (Local Education Agencies) that receive certain types of federal funding, like the school lunch program, and NCLB (No Child Left Behind) are mandated to implement federal guidelines or face repayment. Federal guidelines for program eligibility have changed often over recent years. Despite push-back from parents, federal funding was leveraged during the COVID-19 pandemic as a means of ensuring adherence to CDC guidelines on social distancing, masking, and may even have an impact on vaccine requirements going forward.

Under the Biden Administration, federal funding guidelines have become drastically more stringent, while definitions for violations have largely been expanded. Recently a year-long process ended, whereby the White House and U.S Department of Education redefined the Title IX anti-discrimination law in its entirety.
The once simplistic civil rights law, is now 554 pages long, redefined to include gender identity, an expanded version of sexual orientation and expanded policy mandates for LEAs receiving any form of federal funds.

With the allocation of COVID-19 relief funds, centralized federal funding is now capable of bypassing state rights. In 1932, American Communist Party Founder William Z. Foster, wrote "among the elementary measures the American government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are the following: the schools, colleges, and universities will be coordinated and grouped under a National Department of Education and its state and local branches. The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic, and other features of bourgeois ideology."

South Dakota has taken steps to safeguard local controls. Last year Gov. Noem signed
an executive order banning certain federal funds in public schools, or the application for certain federal grants. The E.O came on the heels of two policies passed last session that prevent divisive content in education, and biological males from competing in women's sports.

As a result, schools that were providing federally funded lunches during the pandemic, are no longer able to continue that service. It's possible that Gov. Noem has a long-term strategy however, as parents who have lost trust in public schools are creating
million dollar deficits in budgets due to unenrollment. Homeschooling is currently the fastest growing educational method in the U.S, jumping from 2.3 million in 2020 to 55.292 million students today, with the top reasons reported as concerns for "the school environment," political indoctrination and teacher's union policies like "tenure."

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-12-05 11:25:45Last Update: 2022-12-05 16:50:55


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