Providence’s policy of segregating teachers by race.
In October 2021 Romana Bessinger, a teacher for 22 years at a school in Providence, Rhode Island, suddenly discovered she had been suspended without pay and transferred to a no-work desk job because she had publicly criticized the school district’s effort to segregate teachers by race (see graphic to the right) while also making the the history curriculum an anti-white, anti-American diatribe.
Bessinger has now won back her teaching job. Just days before the school district was going to have to defend its position at her grievance hearing, it backed down completely.
I have received notification that coming this fall, I will have a permanent classroom assignment at Classical High. I have been freed from the basement. I’ll be back in the classroom this September sharing literature about the Holocaust, American authors with universal messages to share, historical references and literature that reflects the greatness of America in all her flaws and perfection. I’ll teach universal themes that all children can relate to, my classroom will have characters and poetry free of harmful political activism and full of accuracy. I hope to instill critical thinking, freedom of thought, rigorous activities that promote lively discussion unprompted by curriculum materials filled with propaganda.
Bessinger considers this a victory but I am not so sure. She might be back in the classroom free to teach history properly, but it does not appear the school district’s segregation policy nor its official curriculum promoting hate and bigotry have changed. As Bessinger noted in July 2021:
The Providence School District management have essentially replaced the study of American history with a mutated version that is nothing more than woke, racist propaganda intended to inject the politics of “white supremacy” and to apply the canard of systemic racism to the past, airbrushing white historical figures from factual American history and changing their race to Black or Asian.
Nor is she exaggerating. For example, the school district distributed history leaflets that “browned out the faces of historical characters like Lincoln to look black or brown.”
In isolation and without historical perspective, the thematic message in every book was clear: White Europeans were and are evil and African Americans were and are victimized by white oppressors. Woven into this new curriculum was a school-wide social push to focus on Black Lives Matter support groups and other social justice identity groups.
Teachers were encouraged to participate in “white educator affinity groups” where we would be given essays on how not to be a white supremacist in the classroom. This was a system-wide directive to separate white and non-white teachers for training. [emphasis mine]
These facts were also confirmed by the Providence Teachers Union.
I can find no news report in the past year suggesting that the school district has changed its policies regarding the history curriculum it will teach. Though Providence has backed off trying to punish Bessinger and prevent her from teaching history properly, it is continuing its racist rewriting of history in all its other classes.
Since Rhode Island’s government is totally dominated by the Democratic Party (Democrats hold a 33-5 majority in the state senate and a 65-10 majority in the house), it would be futile to expect the legislature to exert pressure on the school district to change. Similarly, the Providence city government is a one party state, with the mayor and all fifteen city councilors Democrats. Democrats generally hate America, and want to denigrate its history whenever they can. Expect Bessinger to remain very isolated and alone in her school, with the school’s administration working hard to discredit her work while continuing to encourage hostility against her from both students and teachers.
That said, I also fully expect Bessinger to continue the fight. Kudos to her. She isn’t running from the battle, but engaging in it. Her example might actually serve to give some courage to the many people in Rhode Island who agree with her but are too timid and fearful to speak up. They need to join this battle and hopefully Bessinger’s example will be the spark that will light their fire.
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