Wisconsin Ed Dept: $20,000 for ‘Cultural Sensitivity’ Documents, Please

Published January 10, 2013

Wisconsin’s department of public instruction wants to charge taxpayers twice for the same thing: a big sum to indoctrinate teachers in “cultural sensitivity” and another $19,969 to tell how much that cost.

Related training in Portland, Oregon cost taxpayers $526,901 and taught educators mention of common foods such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is the “subtle language of racism.” The company running the multiyear seminars also claims rewarding hard work penalizes minorities.

In November, the Education Action Group, a Michigan-based watchdog, filed a public information request for all documents detailing Wisconsin’s four-year relationship with San Francisco-based Pacific Educational Group. In December the department’s lawyer wrote EAG back, estimating that fulfilling the request would generate 104,275 pages and take 173 hours.

“It’s hard to say you are following the spirit of the law for government transparency when you send a taxpayer a $19,000-plus bill with a straight face,” said EAG’s CEO, Kyle Olson. He said EAG plans to file narrower information requests.

Milwaukee has independently pursued a similar philosophy, requiring teacher applicants to pass a “cultural sensitivity test,” the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute reported in December. The test and related training downplays “basic education” and promotes teaching where “almost anything goes,” the report stated.

Image by Premasagar Rose.