What we're doing for Utah children

Public Hearing on R277-328 Educational Equity in Schools

Streamed live on July 22, 2021

AIM called for a public hearing on R277-328, the USBE’s ruling on “Educational Equity,” or better known as CRT in Utah’s classrooms.

We were the only parent organization to come out publicly against the ruling in the presentation portion of the hearing.

We used our time to expose CRT as an ideology that creates racial tensions and tries to solve for discrimination by creating more discrimination.

We also made public for the first time the news that USBE staff had used a secret advisory committee called ACEESS (whose membership had to meet strict race and sexual identity based quotas) to draft R277-328. ACEESS was created in 2016 by Superintendent Dickson to advise the USBE staff on drafting controversial equity policies that frequently influence or become board policy. 

The Board, by a vote of 14-1, voted overwhelmingly to adopt R277-328, which gives the greenlight to equity, diversity, and inclusion policies that by default treat students as disadvantaged because they are classified as racial or ethnic minorities.

ACEESS Advisory Members from minutes taken May 2021

CRT and Equity ideologies cannot survive in a TRUE marketplace of ideas. That’s why special interest groups use government to force them into public schools, which have a captive audience because of the monopoly public education has on pupil funding.

These racialized ideologies are not democratic--they are autocratic. And students, parents, or teachers who disagree with them in any way get labeled as insensitive, fragile, privileged, or even racist. No freedom, academic or otherwise, can exist in such a “wolf in sheep's clothing” framework.

USBE SEPTEMBER 2021 Board Meeting
Gender draft & ACEESS Committee

Streamed live on SEPTEMBER 2, 2021
starts at the 38:00 mark.

[I]n truth a "gender support plan" is obviously not about protecting the child. It's about building a blockade against parental oversight while gender activists indoctrinate the child.

How about the instead the board enacts a policy on gender dysphoria considering the following points:

Immediately alert a child's parents of any request from the child or peers to call a student by pronouns that do not align with their biological sex and/or any name other that their legal name. Not asking children their "preferred pronouns" but address all children by their biologically based pronouns. Remove all gender ideology from the curriculum and classroom. Remove any gender ideology marketing material that may have been distributed or displayed by GSA clubs, as this constitutes marketing for a multi million dollar industry. GSA club staff sponsors should be made aware of these concerns and adjust the boundaries of the group to minimize the promotion of sex stereotypes in favor of inclusiveness toward all gender nonconforming kids.

The Utah State Board of Education recognizes that academic success depends on access to an educational environment that is safe, conducive to the learning process, and free from unnecessary disruption, discrimination, and harassment.

The agenda being pushed down to the schools is nothing more than harassment and discrimination. You have staff member (Ms. Holly Bell) speaking to other Board members, singling out Natalie Cline for asking questions. Ms. Bell believes Natalie is "a challenge to work with" and if you "want to get an idea of the board that you will be working with, visit the recording...take a visit to the Facebook page because it is all right there. If you see what Natalie has posted, that is going to give you a good sense of where she stands and is going to be a loud voice."

The level of hypocrisy is amazing. Do you speak for Natalie or do you talk about Natalie? You single out and harass members of the board but you want parents to trust the decisions you make for their children? To the USBE, do you not know you are being manipulated by ACEESS, Sydnee Dickson, Deputy Superintendent Norman, and others? Do you not know or do you know and not care?

USBE OCTober 2021 Board MeetinG Defending NataliE & Parent Primacy

Streamed live on Oct 7, 2021
Starts at the 8:40 mark.

Since Member Natalie Cline was sworn in as Board member, you have openly mischaracterized, criticized, and ostracized your colleague for nothing more than representing a worldview at odds with your socially extreme political leanings.

Member Cline was elected to represent the families of her district, and her seat at the board is fully equal to yours. Your aggressively antagonistic treatment of her creates the appearance of the USBE being a hostile work environment. You can’t possibly engage in this kind of public behavior and honestly expect parents to trust you to turn around and create “safe” school environments for their children when you can’t even it pull it off in your own office.

AIM letter KEEPS teens from testing or vaxxing to attend school dance

Click image above to download the letter

Two teens attending a northern Utah Charter school approached AIM at an October 2021 conference with their parents and a problem -- their high school was telling all students that they had to take a COVID-19 test or get vaccinated to attend a school dance. They knew this didn't sound right, and they sought out our help to prove it to their school.

After consulting a few sources, AIM drafted a letter for these determined girls. Upon the girls presenting it to their administrators, the policy was changed schoolwide. Buh-bye to the school's illegal test or vaccine requirement for the school dance, as it should be. It was a good victory for freedom, and AIM was glad take part in advocating for it.

Our daughter or son has been informed by school administration that students must have proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to participate in an upcoming extra-curricular dance, with no exceptions allowed. Other students received this information as well.

There is no such testing or vaccination requirement listed in SB0107: In-person Instruction Prioritization. Line 172 (4)(a)(b) states: An LEA may not test a student for COVID-19 who is younger than 18 years old without the consent of the student’s parent. This letter notifies the school that we do not give our consent for any of our children to be tested.

As our LEA has not met either of the testing criteria in lines 129-132 of SB0107, any requirement of a student to test to attend activities would be in contravention of state code.

Academic Integrity movement

AIM investigates divisive Privilege walk assignment

AIM was given this assignment by a teenager at Herriman High. The assignment was for a Sociology class, for which there are no Utah core standards. So the teacher defaulted to using national standards, which include teaching culture from a Critical Race Theory-based perspective.

AIM was included in a meeting with the teacher and administrators by the student and parent rightfully upset over this assignment, which assumes that certain subjective and often random life experiences inherently give a person "privilege." Examples of these experiences are presented without meaningful context and many aren't even based in any established social science, like this oversimplified question from the assignment: "If your parents tell you that you can be anything you want to be, take one step forward."

Though the principal conceded that the assignment wouldn't be taught again, both he and the teacher said that the concepts of "privilege" and "inequality" and how to "overcome" them would continue to be taught, just not through this assignment but through "discussion."

Two takeaways: First, absent local standards, national standards for certain disciplines will be used. These standards can easily elevate divisive approaches like Critical Race Theory as the lens through which society should be viewed, not just as one among competing theories.

Second, even if a specific CRT-themed curriculum is banned in the classroom, a teacher can (and most likely will) simply find another way to present the same ideas to students through another less observable method, like discussion, which means the likelihood of parents knowing what's actually being taught in their kids' classrooms and how it's being taught is extremely low.

This is an assignment that has been taught for years and years and not anybody has ever had any issues or any questions about it.

Principal, Herriman High

My intention was to never even have them turn it in. It was just for them to do a little self-examination, because everyone has different kinds of privilege, it doesn't mean we can't overcome it.

Teacher, Herriman HigH