San Diego County School Retracts ‘Wheel of Privilege’ Teaching Tool

San Diego County School Retracts ‘Wheel of Privilege’ Teaching Tool
In this file photo, a school classroom is seen in Tustin, Calif., on March 10, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Brad Jones

A school in San Diego County claims it has removed a “Wheel of Privilege” graphic from its professional development training materials after the image was exposed on social media and parents objected.

The image was touted as part of professional development training by the Black Mountain Middle School in Poway Unified School District (PUSD), according to the Californians For Equal Rights Foundation (CFER), whose executive director posted the graphic on Twitter.

The “Wheel of Power/Privilege” teaching tool was designed to rank people by power and privilege based on skin color, body size, and gender identity, as well as citizenship, language, wealth, and other factors.

CFER stated in a Feb. 9 newsletter that it was “alarmed by such a such divisive narrative, rooted in critical race theory (CRT) and intended for middle-schoolers.”

“We exposed the issue on social media. In the meantime, PUSD parents and residents contacted the school leadership to demand explanations,” CFER stated.

(Courtesy of CFER)
(Courtesy of CFER)

The school’s principal, Scott Corso, indicated in an email sent to a parent on Feb. 7 that the graphic was shared as one idea at a Big IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity Equity Awareness) committee meeting “for a future professional growth day with educators.” The virtual meeting was open to the public.

“After further reflection on feedback received and working with Shawntanet Jara, PUSD Director of Equity and Improvement, we have modified our activities. We have decided not to use the graphic entitled ‘Wheel of Privilege,’ nor the video related to intersectionality,” Corso said in the email obtained by The Epoch Times.

Corso claimed in the email that the school is not teaching CRT.

“We have no interest in promoting Critical Race Theory. That is not our intent,” he wrote. “Our intent, as educators, is to examine our own personal biases in order to support all students and be the most inclusive school we can be.”

CFER disagrees.

“While the education establishment stubbornly denies their engagement with CRT, mounting evidence shows otherwise,” CFER stated in its newsletter.

“By now, it’s a moot point,” Wenyuan Wu, CFER’s executive director, told The Epoch Times on Feb. 9.

“We’re not talking about teaching critical race theory as a legal doctrine or legal hypothesis. We’re talking about propagating and inculcating key tenets of critical race theory such as race essentialism, intersectionality, and anti-racism as a bandage or solution to all observed problems in our society,” Wu said.

The claim CRT isn’t being promoted or is not “widely taught” in California schools is more than just an argument of semantics, Wu suggested. Rather, she contends, it’s a deliberate subversive tactic the “education establishment” commonly uses to hide from parents that they’re teaching “pseudoscientific ideas” based on the tenets of CRT to their children.

“Call it whatever you want. Call it Mickey Mouse. It does not change the fact that it’s teaching or indoctrinating our kids with very bad illiberal and un-American ideas about race in our society,” Wu said.

CFER sees the removal of the “Wheel of Power/Privilege” as small victory in its battle against CRT concepts. It encourages a “robust rebuttal to the narrative of victimhood and disempowerment.”

The next Big IDEA meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. on Zoom, Corso said in the email.
Brad Jones is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California.
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