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12/2/2021 WCSD Town Hall With President Angie Taylor

Tonight was a night many who attend Washoe County School District Board meetings looked forward to, a town hall with President Angie Taylor. Although the evening was intended for those in President Taylor’s District E, the majority of seats were filled with community members and parents who regularly attend the School Board meetings to voice their opposition to CRT/Social Justice curricula and mask mandates.

New Superintendent Search

The crowd was restless as President Taylor started the evening off with an in-depth overview of the search for the new Superintendent. Despite the anticipation for the question and answer phase of the evening, everyone in attendance was respectful and quiet as President Taylor spoke. She was enthusiastic about the hiring of a local search firm, the Bryan Group, to help the School Board find qualified applicants for Superintendent. Although the firm has only been together for a couple of years, the members of the firm have years of experience and together they have met with great success. Reviewing their credentials and unusual way of getting to the perfect candidate through storytelling scenarios, the firm does seem to be a solid choice.

Community Q & A

Misuse of District Communication System

Once the meeting was opened up for questions, the first person to speak wasted no time in asking how the meeting was noticed and why there seemed to be little time between the date of the notice and the meeting. President Taylor easily responded that the notice was sent through the school district’s Connect-Ed, and they decided to notice it this week, so it would not get lost in last week’s Thanksgiving holiday. This then lead to the highly charged question about how the Superintendent was allowed use of the school communication system to send out a call to action in response to the January 6th Insurrection. President Taylor discussed how policies were in place so there would not be a repeat of such a communication and acknowledged the communities divided opinion on this issue. Superintendent McNeill, who was in attendance, remained silent.

CRT / Social Justice Supplemental Curriculum

The highlight of the question and answer session was President Taylor’s reaffirmation that the supplemental curriculum would contain no, none, zero, political or divisive, racially or otherwise, language of any kind. In fact, when asked about the equity and diversity training teachers are being mandated to take containing the language oppressors and the oppressed, white supremacy and a systemically racist nation, President Taylor let us know that these teaching materials are currently under review. This is something we will follow up on.

The damage of such curriculum and training was clearly illuminated by a parent of a student who said her son has a teacher who proclaims she is there to stand up for the rights of female Latinx students. With her son being a young black man, she was concerned where his needs would fit into this teacher’s personal agenda? I can’t think of a more perfect example of what happens when teachers teach their political and personal ideals to try to lift up one segment of the student population to the detriment of many.

Mask Mandates

Another heartbreaking story came from a father who spoke of the pain it caused him to send his 5 year old to school each morning with his face covered by a mask. He also spoke of how unsanitary it is to mask a 5 year old. They bite and chew on the mask and before the end of the day it is filthy and unsanitary. He pleaded with President Taylor to resist the governor’s mandate and help to unmask children who do not have the same consequences older members of society encounter. Please fight for the children. The usefulness of a mask for a 5 year old is questionable at best, and the negative consequences are evident.

WCSD Academic Performance

The only true dissension came, causing a handful of people to leave, was when they felt Superintendent McNeill was trying to sidestep how the Washoe County schools were faring in comparison to schools around the country, as well as just failing to graduate students who are proficient in their core subjects. Those who stayed heard President Taylor promise to try to obtain the metrics for which they asked. She explained these metrics are not as easy to find as you would think.

Denounce CRT?

The meeting wrapped up with an audience member trying to get President Taylor to denounce CRT. President Taylor refused to engage in the challenge on the ground that, anyone who has researched this issue cannot deny, for every person there is a different definition of CRT. I believe that sums up where WCSD and this country is: what is CRT and if the schools aren’t teaching that, then what are they teaching? President Taylor confirmed for us they will not be adopting a curriculum that teaches anything that is political or divisive. She seems to want what we all should want: diversity and inclusivity of all at the expense of none and equity of opportunity not equal outcome. We can only hope that all that surround, support and oversee President Taylor agree.

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