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NAACP leader calls Loudoun County Public Schools’ diversity training ‘a joke’

In response to community criticism over the lack of diversity of its teaching staff, Loudoun County Public Schools is offering a “diversity training workshop” to all of its hiring managers this summer. A local NAACP leader says the effort is "a joke."

The Loudoun chapter of the NAACP began pressing the school system to be more aggressive in hiring minority teachers in November when a school district report showed 88 percent of its teachers are white while 48 percent of its students are non-white. A community meeting on the subject was hosted by the school division and two parent groups in December. Shortly after the meeting, the School Board added money to its budget for the summer diversity training and to hire a personnel specialist to focus on the issue. The Loudoun NAACP says the school system's latest efforts are not enough to combat the problem. The group says it plans on filing federal complaints about various "racial inequities" within the school system.

“We're trying to be inclusive and recognize that we have a very diverse student body and we have diversity among our cadre of teachers, but there's always an opportunity to expand upon that,” said Asia Jones, director of human resources and talent development for LCPS. “We're not there yet. Nationally, we're not there. Within our region, we're not there. But we are looking at we can do to mitigate where we are and make our environments more inclusive.”

Jones said the training is offered to all hiring managers and staff in leadership positions. The goal is to have 500 LCPS employees complete the training by fall, she added.

The diversity workshops are being led by Tiffany Taylor Smith and Stephan Reeves of Philadelphia-based Montage Companies, a firm offering various professional development programs.

Smith said the workshops provide a “safe space” to talk about cultural awareness. The interactive exercises in the workshop address “implicit bias, micro aggressions and cultural competence,” she added.

“The goal is to inform them of how their own cultural experiences can directly influence how they might pursue as well as evaluate job candidates,” she said. “We bring out some of the unconscious bias they may have and talk about how that might influence their efforts to pursue candidates.”

The training also focuses on how teachers and staff communicate with students and families from diverse backgrounds, said Smith.

Many studies have shown having teachers that understand and reflect the diverse backgrounds of students can make a huge difference in student achievement, said Smith.

Phillip Thompson, president of the Loudoun NAACP, told the Times-Mirror the optional one-day workshop is not enough to make a real change.

“It's a joke,” Thompson said today. “It's all smoke and mirrors. It's designed to make it look like they're doing something when they're not.”

Thompson said if LCPS wants to see a meaningful change in the number of minority teachers hired, the administration needs to make it clear the issue is a top priority.

“We believe we will only see an increase in the number of minority teachers when LCPS puts requirements on the people hiring the teachers,” he said. “Having a diverse workforce should be part of how principals are judged on their job performance. They need to hold the principals accountable for their actions.”

The NAACP president said he isn't suggesting the school division adopt racial hiring quotas. Instead, he believes LCPS should put pressure on its principals to meet diversity targets.

Thompson said his organization is monitoring the number of “qualified African American” teachers who are applying for LCPS positions and are being turned down.

“Before December the NAACP will be filing a series of complaints with U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,” said Thompson. “We will send them data showing racial inequities in LCPS' hiring, student discipline and student achievement and ask them to take a look at the division's progress and start a federal investigation.”

Thompson said the NAACP will also focus on hiring inequities in other offices of Loudoun County government.

“I'm going to pursue this full-time,” he said. “Not just with LCPS, but also with Loudoun County government's hiring and contracting practices and with the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.”

Comments


Blue22, I’m guessing you’re part of the application review board?  Typically when someone wants a job they seek it out.  However, this doesn’t always mean they get the job.  There are already laws in place against discrimination hiring practices.  If these highly qualified people believe they were not offered an opportunity because they are black, then by all means file a law suit and I’d guess that Mr. NAACP would lead the charge.  A “complete minority sit-in” you say.  Do you really expect this “sit-in” will magically create jobs?  Do you realize that by it’s very nature a minority “sit-in” is bigoted?  Perhaps LCPS should hold a job fair for minorities only.  Better yet, if you think LCPS is so bigoted, then I’d suggest scraping the “sit-in” and tell minority’s seeking a teaching job to self identify as being white.  While your at it, can you organize a “sit-in” so that more whites can become NAACP members?  Obama was considered to be highly qualified to be president and look how that turned out.  Perhaps the reason for a lack of black applicants is as a result of the Obama effect.


I have a very hard time believing that “qualified” minority teaching applicants are being turned down.  Every level of government has emphasized hiring minorities, hiring managers are rewarded for same, everyone knows it is a priority.  I think it is possible that a few applicants who really weren’t qualified, or pooched their interviews, or had poor performance in previous jobs who happen to be minorities are being turned down—but a good, solid teacher with a degree and a decent interview can’t possibly be turned down.  In fact, they have a leg up BECAUSE of their minority status—so for them not to be hired almost certainly indicates there is some kind of deficiency in their record.  Sorry, but if someone graduates with a 2.1 GPA and did poorly as a student teacher, they are not “qualified.”

This is a fake issue promoted by an organization that, in Loudoun County, is looking for something to do.  Pick another issue.


When a business or organization is asked to increase minority hiring it implies several negative messages. It says that a business or oranization is supporting prejudicial treatment to hiring minority groups. This is not neccesarily or usually the case. Pulling together unrelated data just to try and prove there is prejudice,  leaves another negative impression. 
A second message is given if the business or organization gives in and purposely starts hiring more minorities. Those that are hired then wonder if they are hired due to being a minority or because they are best for the job. The people already working at the establishment also wonder if the new person got hired because they are best for the job. This puts up a barrier between current employees and those newly hired. Both are left with negative impressions and wonder if any of them were hired because they could do the job.
A population that is as diverse as that in our country cannot start to lay hiring rules down based on how many of each of the various minorities uses a business or organization. If someone is always finding a way to point out discrimination in inappropriate ways, that keeps the prejudical fires burning.


I’m torn. Would hate to hire a teacher just for a quota..the kids suffer. And I get that we need more diverse teachers,but rightly,the system needs to have the diversity training for current teachers in order to deal with diverse students. I think both are needed..so no one should dismiss this current training.


I don’t object to many things.  LCPS should keep stats on number of applicants and hires by age, race, college attended, degree obtained, yrs teaching experience, career switcher, speciality (SpEd, ESL, STEM), etc.  They should publish the data too.

Individuals can file EEOC complaints on their own.

If there were evidence of systemic wrongdoing, I’m sure the feds would come in.  But you have disparities in hiring for many reasons across many industries and businesses.  Should the “feds” to after Facebook/Google/Apple?  Should the “feds” go after Goldman/JP Morgan/Citi?

Maybe that can be the new employment gravy train.  We can hire minorities to staff a super-beefed-up EEOC division and they can then come in and audit every possible employer whose employee racial distribution doesn’t match their immediate vicinity!

I don’t know if there is overt bias, subconscious bias or no bias.  I do know that generally speaking, hiring managers in this day and age prefer minority/female candidates over majority candidates.  All else being equal, I certainly do.  Make your case to the feds.  We’ll see what they do.

Of course, I would let students/parents pick their teachers.  That would really drive change.  But instead we are left with a corrupt school board.  They’ve never been inclined to follow the law.  And or course they lie, lie, lie.  Unbelievably blatant lies in reviewing transcript of LCPS officials in court.


Not sure if some of you are blind or just have your racist colored glasses on.  No mention of quota’s, no set requirements, the argument is that there is racial bias in the hiring process.  Bring in the Feds or some independent group and lets see where the chips fall.  48 present of the students minority, 12 percent of the teachers.  If LCPS is hiring the best, then a quick review of the applicants should reveal that.  Don’t understand why that would bother anyone unless they have a racist white supremacist mindset.  To even imply that hiring minority teachers would harm students is about a racist of a statement as you can get.  Stop whining and raising false arguments, let get the Feds in and take a look.  And by the way for some of you, minority does not mean Black, look it up in the dictionary.


The NAACP is throwing stones to justify its purpose in a post Civil Rights Act world.

Merit should be the highest priority, not skin color to satisfy a political makeup. I want my child taught by the person with the best credentials regardless of their race.

Thompson needs to spend more time praising LCPS on the number of minorities it is sending to College than chasing manufactured issues to justify their existence.


After 8 years on the LCPS School Board it is painfully obvious to me that the posters may not realize just how much “DELIBERATE” lip service is put toward resolving this issue. First the problem needs to be clearly defined by facts not political rhetoric.
The USA is a melting pot society so most children have mixed heritage. Is “White” really culturally homogeneous or even fairly defined? Where are the facts to support the belief that culturally diverse teachers are better mentors to low income/low self confident students. Which principals have been admonished or fired for failing to manage this? Should students from Spain, Panama or Brazil whose family has been in the USA for 80 years be considered minorities? Are formerly Siberian area Russian students really Caucasian. Given historic factors are Middle Eastern students white even though it is highly unlikely they are 100% white? The labeled Asian population has the BEST PERFORMING students yet they are minorities on a population basis with the lowest representation by Asian teachers. So I suggest folks try to force the school board to “REQUIRE” the Superintendent to control the current principal’s choice of the candidates provided to make the teaching population change to be more demographically fair but this should address ALL cultures making up the minority and insure that these teachers REALLY are culturally diverse so this isn’t just another discriminatory based hiring scam. I think it should be more important that students who have been in the USA the least amount of time regardless of original culture are more likely to need extra support than how much melanin they have in their skin. Imagine how hard it is for any student to handle the huge amount of homework LCPS gives out when their parents aren’t supportive nor even included in the educational process! How much homework is really needed to make up for what isn’t done in class? Has parental input been included as a major part of teacher evaluations yet? Perhaps yearly teacher evaluations instead of every three years would help too adding some extra weight for how minority students perform would be more productive than merely checking skin color in the human resources front desk.
Sincerely
Bob O__ Esq.


If minorities aren’t applying for teaching positions, it is kind of hard to hire minority teachers. Maybe the NAACP should spend more time offering LCPS resumes of candidates instead of filing lawsuits that aren’t based on any known race biases in hiring.


Lawman, I stayed out of this but feel the need to enlighten you on that last comment.

You imply that because the county has a 40% “minority” student population, the “minority” adults should get a 40% piece of that employment pie.  Note that he really couldn’t care less about the quality of the instruction, it’s all about the $$/jobs/etc.  Reminds me of some other groups who don’t care about the effectiveness of the military as long as they can use it for social justice.

But your assumption is incorrect.  About 20% of the student population is Asian (largely Indian).  The adults in that group are much more likely to work in IT or other fields than to seek employment as a teacher.

And 15-20% of the student population is Hispanic, with a significant chunk of new immigrants.  Many of those adults have neither the skills nor the qualifications to be teachers.

When you consider that these two large “minority” groups will naturally and appropriately be underrepresented (unless and until they seek those types of jobs with the proper quals), the racial distribution of gov’t workers seems about right.  Of course, your hidden goal is to increase the share of African American teachers by exploiting the increasing share of Asian/Hispanic kids, but why be transparent, right?

Our schools tout “critical thinking”.  That implies you can absorb “diverse” information and synthesize it to make rational judgments.  Given your comment, one has to wonder if even you are cut out to teach our students to think critically.


Hey Lawman, when the president of the NAACP use the term “minority” he does NOT have the best interest of ALL minority types just blacks.  You can disagree all you want, but Thompson’s comments, rhetoric, etc is in the best interest of blacks.  Check out all is Facebook postings and let us know how he is rallying for ALL minorities and not just blacks.  Don’t be misled, he USES ALL nonwhites as a vehicle for his black agenda.  It’s called strength in numbers, he could care less about all other nonwhites.  It’s no different than Hillary Clinton pandering to blacks to try to win their votes.  She could give a rats butt about blacks.  If you think differently, look up Margret Sanger and all she’s contributed to the black community.  Hillary is a huge fan of Sanger.  Once you understand what Sangers motives were then maybe you’ll get it Until then, stay inside your little bubble and pretend your claims are based on facts..


Yeah thats all we need a minority sit in day.  Another protest will do it.  What do you expect LCPS to do to ensure more blacks are applying for a teaching job?  How is it their responsibility to ensure that there is a proper number of blacks applying for teaching jobs?  I know, I know the board is made up of all whites, must be a conspiracy.  Before pointing the finger at LCPS and the LCPS board and calling them a bunch of racists do some research on the number of blacks graduating college, getting their masters, etc.  In those numbers you will find that the careers blacks are migrating towards is NOT teaching.  So if there’s a lack of black teachers in Loudoun, heck the US why don’t you start looking here before trying to call out LCPS and the board.  Also, as PvilleDiva said, Loudoun’s hispanic rate is growing a lot faster than blacks and yet Mr. Diversity is singularly focused on blacks and blacks only.  Want true diversity?  Lose the “Diversity” effort being pushed by people like. Mr. NAAACP.


Just a couple of questions, Lawman.  And again, I apologize if this appears to be argumentative.  Rather, I would like to extend the conversation.

1.  As you state the, “time for seeing 80 percent plus white workforces in out taxpayer funded governments…are over.”  Are you in favor of hiring quotas regardless of qualifications?  I am not saying if a minority candidate and white candidate appear equal on paper.  Rather, if a minority candidate has fewer qualifications or experience, should he or she be selected over a white candidate with “better” credentials?

2.  What would change the “hard way” look like?  Does violence follow?  Sit-ins and other forms of non-violence protest?  I only ask because, with the current climate of the world today, some people may take the “hard way” statement as one of violence.

Again, I think this is a subject and conversation that needs more attention, and thank anyone willing to delve deeper into.


There are 2 aspects of diversity hiring.  The first, easiest, and not even touching upon possible complaints of reverse discrimination, is affirmative action to make minority community teachers and student teachers aware of vacancies, how to apply for them, and the school system’s desire to increase diversity. 

The 2nd involves actually hiring minority teachers.  It is unclear whether or not the recent Supreme Court “University of Texas” decision (on constitutionality of some racial preference in college admissions) would apply to LCPS hiring of teachers. Irrespective of that decision, it should be constitutional to use racial preference in the situation where two candidates are rated as otherwise equally qualified.  Probably it is permissible for LCPS to ask Principals to explain the basis for their hiring decision when minority candidates are not selected.


Some of you people can’t read.  He doe snot say hire Black teachers, he says minority teachers.  He says the NAACP is monitoring a number of African American candidates.  Nearly half the students in the school are minorities.  The County is nearly forty percent minority.  The time for seeing 80 percent plus white workforces in out taxpayer funded governments without any challenge are over.  You people on line can talk, whine and rant, but, change either the easy or hard way is coming.


And we need a group for Philadelphia to teach us about implicit bias, micro aggressions, and cultural competence.


So Mr Thompson is not calling for quotas, but principals should be held accountable to meet diversity targets. The their job performance should be so judged.
Hmmmmm? 
Most of the comments are great. Why does Mr Thompson only focus on Africian American teachers. Ehh not Hispanic and Asian or any other minority group.
I’ve got an idea. Maybe just maybe LCPS should be hiring THE most Qualified teachers for any race, color, or creed.
I think I’ve read somewhere that is how it is supposed to be in America.


what is it this guy wants?  If a black person interviews for a job and doesn’t get the job because he/she is black they can take action.  So just because the county is taking “diversity” action that is supposed to mean the flood gates will open with 100’s of blacks applying for a job?  Look at the numbers man, all of the numbers.  Blacks graduating from college aren’t becoming teachers.  What do you want the county to do?  Perhaps they should open up 100 reqs for blacks only and see what the response rate is.  Better yet, what if all of the whites that are applying for teaching jobs self identify as being black, that should help your numbers.  Diversity is only designed for nonwhites and is a complete farce.  Hey, Mr. NAACP, why don’t you take a break from your law practice and become a teacher.  How do you expect your rhetoric to solve any problems unless you’ve experienced the so called problem?  Please don’t say your black and you understand, thats irrelevant, become a teacher, work in the county and learn first hand.  Would it make sense for the county to hire a black teacher who is not at all qualified to teach in the name of diversity?  Nope.  because unless this under qualified teacher is only teaching blacks then the other non-black students will be subjected to someone who isn’t qualified.  How is that “fair”?  The execution of diversity needs to be rethought because it is anything but diverse and sadly will always be.


ABSOLUTELY agree with LOCO Teacher. This county is packed with Hispanics. Why is this guy ONLY monitoring the increase in African-American teachers? If he’s so interested in reflecting the diversity of this County, it’s bilingual/Spanish teachers who will get the bump.


I think it is interesting that Blue22 feels that all people of color working for the County should be like sheep, and fall in line, and sponsor a sit-in or similar type of civil disobedience. It sounds like we’ve reached a point in all aspects of life where racism is being claimed and the books need to be fully opened, which I don’t disagree with, but I doubt that will occur.


Thompson says he isn’t suggesting quotas, but pressuring people to hit diversity targets. That is exactly the same thing. What he really is saying is hire blacks, no matter what. Enough. Pick the best candidates. If they’re black, great. If they’re Latino, great. If they’re white, great. Any other approach lessens the education our children receive. Shouldn’t that be the top priority?


While I do not disagree with Mr. Thompson in the sense that there does need to be more done with hiring minority teachers/leaders, I do question as to why he is focused almost entirely on hiring African American teachers/leaders.  While important, shouldn’t one focus on other minority groups as well?  The Hispanic population is exploding in this county and the schools I have been in certainly do not reflect this trend.  Have there been any answers as to the hiring practices of LCPS?  I am certainly not saying that one group is inherently more qualified than the next, but is the data there to show an actual discrepancy with the under hiring of well qualified minority teachers vs. the over hiring of under qualified white teachers?  If this is available, where can the public view such data?  This is not meant to be argumentative, but I think this is an important conversation that the general public must have.


“We believe we will only see an increase in the number of minority teachers when LCPS puts requirements on the people hiring the teachers,”

In other words, quotas.


I am agreeing with the NAACP. There have been 3 applications that I know of from a monitoring resident in Loudoun who is highly qualified for 2 and meets the qualifications for the school district diversity recruiter and he has received zero/zip/nada response from either the county government (2 positions applied for) or the school district (1 application).

The efforts of the school district are sad and more lip service. There should be a complete minority sit-in or MIN-OUT day in Loudoun.  MIN-OUT being that ALL minorities not attend school and stage a protest at the admin building day.

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