To the Editor: I continue to be perplexed why the News-Miner would designate someone who is clearly anti-public education to cover the school district. Wednesday’s article by Amanda Bohman on the district’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work is yet another example. Ms. Bohman obviously thinks the News-Miner is a tabloid, or else she can’t find actual newsworthy topics in Fairbanks and must create sensationalist topics on her own.
One example of her use of emotionally charged, inflammatory language is the reference to DEI “programming” based on the ideas of the National Coalition Builders Institute. Using this dog whistle phrase is clearly an attempt by Ms. Bohman to stir the pot by implying that there are underlying motives to the district’s DEI work. The second example was the reference to “privilege walks” in work with students. She states, “In general, DEI activities have been developed for students to include privilege walks” implying that these activities have been developed here or are being conducted in Fairbanks schools. If that was indeed her intent, then she should be specific. As it is, it reads like an inflammatory teaser. And, as a career educator, I have never heard that term used to describe that activity, although it certainly does engage with the hot button language of those opposed to diversity and empathy in public education. (As a side note, the power of creating connections and empathy among students is well documented, and the positive school climate results cited by Ms. Bohman could be a direct result of past work such as Challengeday.org.)
A review of board testimony, correspondence and data shows discrepancies in academic achievement between subgroups, and ongoing public concerns about the lack of equity and inclusion in Fairbanks schools. Perhaps Ms. Bohman can be re-assigned to chasing ambulances or looking for evidence of alien activity, and another reporter can engage in factual reporting on the school district.