North Kingstown school committee member and co-founder of a group calling itself TANK (“Towards an Anti-racist North Kingstown”) Jennifer Lima and her friends desperately continue their effort to convince us that North Kingstown is a “systemically racist” community – especially in its schools.

What do Ms. Lima and her cohort know that the rest of us do not? She cites a survey they conducted asking “people regarding their experiences and thoughts regarding racism in our town.” Who precisely was interviewed? Were they chosen at random? Was this merely a “push poll”? How many people were interviewed?

She claims 50% of parents trust the school resource officer compared to 27% of students. What does this have to do with racism? She writes “32% of students don’t feel the currently available clubs and organizations represent them.” Which clubs do students want and is she talking about the high school or across the board? And “88% of respondents indicated they had experienced or witnessed racism in North Kingstown”. Who exactly were the “respondents?” Students? Man-in-the-street interviews? Phone survey? Members of TANK?

Ms. Lima shifts from “racial equality” to the theme of “racial equity” in her letter. Equality is what we are guaranteed in the Constitution and refers to the opportunity to succeed based on merit. If the U.S. is a white supremacist country, why are two million people of color projected to enter our southern border illegally this year ostensibly to find a better life?

Equity means equal outcomes irrespective of hard work and effort with government as the arbiter of who gets what. This is another name for socialism.

Ms. Lima is clear that her desire is to have “student-focused research conducted by a neutral third party.” By this she means her chosen “non-profit entity,” the Providence-based Equity Institute that describes itself as “an education-based nonprofit organization” whose mission is to build “more diverse, equitable and inclusive learning.”

According to EI’s website, its co-founders are CEO Karla (“she, her, ella”) Vigil, whose experiences “have been mostly shaped by her identities (women [sic], lower socioeconomic class, LatinX and teenage mother)” and chief impact officer Carlon (“he, him, his”) Howard who says they have had “starts and stops with individual schools.” Neither of their bios list any college degrees or educational credentials other than to say they have a “wealth of experience in K-12 education.”

Equity Institute traces its origin to EduLeaders of Color RI that works to “unite, support and empower people of color.” Sounds like a really unbiased, neutral third party, doesn’t it?

Using the cover of something called the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, the school committee and administration wan to spend between 60 and 70 thousand dollars on a no-bid contract for a five month investigation that EI hopes will lead to it “being a long-term strategic partner” to the North Kingstown School Department, whatever that means. Not to worry taxpayers, the money is coming from something called “ESSER funds” otherwise known as “COVID money”.

Does anyone have any doubt what EI’s findings will be at the conclusion of their study?

Richard J. August,

North Kingstown

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