Gainesville City Schools has also not discussed Critical Race Theory, Superintendent Jeremy Williams said. But Gainesville has made efforts toward diversity and inclusion, Williams said.
“We conducted Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training with our Board and Cabinet,” Williams wrote in a statement. “We reviewed the demographics of our students and employees, discipline referrals and participation in programs (gifted and special education). The trainings were focused on awareness and if our procedures are creating inequities.”
Willie Mitchell, who has been on the Gainesville Board of Education for 30 years, said he has not seen teaching of American history evolve significantly during his tenure to include more African American history, as well as including other diverse perspectives.
“What you get a lot of in the school system is just generic stuff that really doesn’t give you a great understanding of the struggles and the successes of our race,” said Mitchell, who is Black.
“Equal opportunity is not where it should be in all areas.”
Mitchell said he has not had time to research Critical Race Theory fully yet, but he said recent debates over whether teachers ought to talk about sensitive topics and current events in the classroom read to him as allowing teachers to ignore difficult but important issues.
“I can understand not forcing people to do anything, but to me if it’s a requirement to teach American history, how are you going to leave some of it out?” Mitchell said.
He said he has not mentioned increasing study of Black history to the board, but that he has informed the board about the lack of opportunity and inequity that he sees among students and people of different races.
“When we look at the state of race relations in America and everything, it seems like a majority of the people would rather keep the tone down or keep it quiet,” Mitchell said. “I really don’t know the motive behind it.”
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