What is Citizens Defending Education (CDE)?
CDE is a group of Glen Ridge residents seeking transparency and accountability on all issues involving the school district, particularly the new diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives currently being implemented in our schools.
Why are we concerned with the new DEI initiatives?
All of us support fairness and equal opportunity in our town and schools and in society at large. We believe we are stronger and better for allowing a diversity of viewpoints based on the unique experiences and perspectives of our citizens and that all people are made in God’s image and worthy of respect.
However, we are seeing highly divisive and politically driven DEI programs infiltrating school districts across our country. These programs go far beyond supporting foundational notions of diversity and inclusivity. Instead, they divide children and communities along racial, ethnic, and gender lines, teaching students to believe the “majority” are oppressors and that minorities are disadvantaged victims. Curriculums are being altered to remove fundamental educational instruction, replaced with texts that promote progressive views on history, race, and sexuality. In many communities, books providing graphic depictions of sexual acts between children and adults with children are being used in the classroom, all in the name of diversity and inclusion.
Increasingly, DEI is being used as a platform by activists to indoctrinate students, teachers, and administrators in ideologies that are not shared by all parents and families. Fundamentally, we don’t believe it’s the role of the public schools to take the place of parents in teaching
children the values and moral objectives they believe are appropriate for themselves or their families.
What is going on in Glen Ridge?
In a town where the budget is cited by the Board of Education as the #1 challenge in our school community, $25,000 of taxpayer money was recently spent on a diversity consultant to conduct a DEI audit of GR students, parents, and administrators. Only 65 high school students responded to the survey and 5 participated in the focus groups, calling into question the statistical validity of the survey.
The audit report makes a series of recommendations on building a DEI program in Glen Ridge, including required training for all levels of staff in biases, microaggressions, and gender education, as well as “cultural competency” assessments as part of employee evaluations.
The District has already instituted training of teachers by outside agencies in divisive concepts such as Critical Race Theory, including a session titled Beyond Bias: Being an Antiracist.
The recommendations also include augmenting K-12 student reading lists with ideologically driven content such as:
How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X Kendi, a leading proponent of Critical Race Theory
Imitation and Gender Insubordination, by Judith Butler - an essay that proposes rethinking gender and sexuality
All Boys Aren’t Blue, by George M. Johnson - a sexually graphic memoir