Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer used federal pandemic relief funds to create Critical Race Theory and social justice courses for teachers, according to a new report.
Whitmer reportedly allotted $1.4 million in CARES Act funds to Michigan State University College of Education, the University of Michigan’s School of Education, and Michigan Virtual to create online social justice courses.
Inside NoVa reports, “the way the program was funded has come under scrutiny from federal oversight agencies. The Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General said in a report released in September that the state could not support the process it used to select Michigan Virtual, MSU and UM to develop the modules.”
“The purpose of the program was to train teachers on how to implement the teacher professional learning standards developed by the Governor’s Education Advisory Council,” said a report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General, which investigated how the state spent the federal pandemic money.
In 2019, Whitmer created the Governor’s Education Advisory Council and chose all 15 people who would serve on it. She personally signed off on granting the money, according to the report.
The courses created with COVID funds include “Anti-Racism and Social Justice Teaching and Leadership” and “Anti-Racist Trauma-Informed Practice in PreK-12 Education,” “Social-Emotional Learning: Equity Elaborations,” “Social-Emotional Learning: Assessment Mechanisms” and 11 others, the report states.
“The ‘Anti-Racism and Social Justice Teaching and Leadership’ module developed with MSU staff aims to teach educators about how to see racism and privilege and how they play out in school and society, analyze theoretical frameworks for anti-racist and social justice teaching, recognize system oppression and apply strategies to dismantle it and examine how to connect with staff and communities,” the report explained. “The material in that course asked teachers about how they could respond to a classroom situation in the most anti-racist way possible.”
A reading for the course by Candice Valenzuela argued that a “white dominant society” has “historical narcissism, historical amnesia and colonialist perpetration of violence” that needs to be confronted.
“Trauma-informed training cannot be facilitated by anyone who has not faced the generational, historical trauma of racism, White supremacy, heteropatriarchy, ableism and capitalism within their own bodies, communities and practices,” Valenzuela wrote. “We must not only hyper focus on the trauma of youth of color, but also ‘research up’ into the traumatic implications of White dominant society’s historical narcissism, historical amnesia and colonialist perpetration of violence.”