“Empathy” Education in our Schools
“The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
definition of “empathy,” Merriam-Webster
“Acknowledging systems of oppression, power, and privilege.”
From the SEED curricula, a resource for the proposed Empathy Initiative of district 39
The “empathy” initiative in district 39 you need to know about
At the D39 Board Meeting on Feb 27, 2017 the district reported on the 2016-2017 Empathy Initiative. Outlined in the report, entitled “School Climate: Creating a Culture of Empathy”, were some of the proactive measures the district took to support the report. Many of the measures were focused on book discussions among staff members, and activities to promote kindness among the students.
Cause for concern and further inquiry, however, were spurred by the report that teacher and parent training sessions involved representatives and/or seminars from the National SEED Project and the Pacific Education Group. Both of these organizations are highly controversial and steeped in identity politics.
D39 staff and administrators are earnestly seeking to improve educational experience for students, and therefore sought local resources to support the empathy initiative. However, the resources that were easily available and selected are also affiliated with SEED and PEG whose fundamental philosophies are, ironically for organizations being used in “empathy” training, based on dividing and labeling, not compassion and finding common ground.
For the sake of all of our children, please become educated on what the D39 Board is proposing when it comes to our kids, decide if these curricula are the best ways to help our kids grow empathy – something we all want for them – and let the Board hear your voice.
Below you will find information that no one else is giving you! This includes:
- D39 Reports and Parent and District Communications regarding the 2016-2017 Empathy Initiative
- Local School District Connections with Equity Education, SEED and PEG
- The facts on The National SEED Project (SEED)
- The facts on The Pacific Education Group (PEG)
D39 Reports and Parent and District Communications regarding the 2016-2017 Empathy Initiative
- Here’s what the school is planning: (pull quote) It sounds good, right?
- Now here’s what one parent said an the April Board meeting: (pull quote)
- Ray Lechner responded – but did he answer? You decide.
- Here’s what an experienced Psychologist said regarding the SEED philosophy, and just as important the methods they use to teach that philosophy But wait a minute – how does this support teaching our children about empathy
- Ray Lechner, D39 Superintendent response to psychologist’s analysis.pdf
- Letter from parent clarifying concerns with SEED.pdf
- Public comments from parent raising concerns with SEED, PEG and SPLC June 2017 BOE Meeting.pdf
- Series of Communications following June Board of Education Meeting
Local School District Connections with Equity Education, SEED and PEG
- Equity Teams at New Trier, excerpt from January 2015 Board Meeting.pdf
- D65 Equity Report 5-22-17.pdf
- Local Discussions regarding use of PEG in Evanston Schools; Board Member involvement in PEG and SEED
- http://jwcdaily.com/2015/06/09/why-this-candidate-for-lfhs/ (Local Principal’s Connection to PEG)
National SEED Project
- https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201104/shame-concealed-contagious-and-dangerous-emotion (Helpful in understanding the relationship between empathy, shame and SEED’s methodology of connecting lives by “acknowledging systems of oppression, power, and privilege” )
- SEED Training p1.jpg
SEED Training p2.jpg
Pacific Education Group
- https://cei.org/blog/glenn-singletons-racism-and-arlington-public-schools (PEG and Equity Education)
- http://nypost.com/2015/03/14/politicians-are-making-schools-less-safe-and-ruining-education-for-everyone/ (Restorative Justice/School Discipline/PEG)
- https://illinoisfamily.org/marriage/responsi-dn-bility/ (White Privilege/Equity Education/PEG/Peggy McIntosh)