Thursday, 22 July 2021

Guilt and shame taught in “White Privilege” courses for Education Ministry staff

“It is entirely inappropriate that the people who set the policy for our schools are undertaking courses that teach them “guilt and shame” are natural responses to so-called “white privilege,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“After ACT revealed school kids were being taught about “white privilege”, we can now reveal that more than half of the Education Ministry has also been through a course about it.

“There are 4,000 staff at the Ministry of Education and since 2018, 2,516 have attended the course “Courageous Conversations about Race” according to Written Parliamentary Questions asked by ACT. 

“The Ministry of Education courses have cost taxpayer $670,000.

"In an email to Chris Hipkins office, uncovered by Newstalk ZB, the director of the course confirms “white privilege” is part of the course.

“In a fact sheet he says, “White Privilege acknowledges the history of colonisation in Aotearoa New Zealand as well as the current and continuing impacts it has on our society and systems.”

“It goes on to say “guilt and shame are something many human beings experience on this journey. They are a natural response, a basic human response, and among many feelings which surface as a society develops greater consciousness about race. Determination, relief and resolve are also feelings which surface, when people are provided with space to share parts of their lived experiences that have remained silent and invisible for a long time.”

“The Executive Director of Courageous Conversations for South Pacific, Matthew Farry emailed Education Minister Chris Hipkins saying he was aware the ACT Party had concerns about the programme and tried to conspire with him to stop scrutiny of the programme.

“The company is American-based, and the email tells the Hipkins they removed some material from their website after it was obtained by the ACT Party.

“This reeks of a political cover-up.

“This divisiveness is the kind of attitude we’ve been trying to get away from for centuries, but it’s now pervasive in everything this Government does.

“Ironically, we do need to have courageous conversations about how we value the common dignity of each and every New Zealanders.

“ACT will never accept that New Zealanders should be pushed around on a chess board by government social engineering.”

The Written Parliamentary Question:

Reply 21133 (2021) has been answered
Portfolio: Education (Hon Chris Hipkins)
Question: Has the "Courageous Conversations about Race" course been offered to staff in agencies for which the Minister is responsible; if so, what has been the cost, by year, since the course has been offered?
Reply: The Ministry of Education contracts facilitators to deliver a workshop called Beyond Diversity, which is a tailored variation of the Courageous Conversations about Race workshop. This workshop has been delivered since 2018. As at 31 May 2021, 2,516 staff members have attended. I refer the Member to the attached table, showing the breakdown of cost by year. Beyond Diversity has been offered to New Zealand Qualifications Authority staff. The cost of the course in 2020/21 is $75,000 and in 2021/22 will be $50,000. This will be the total cost for 461 staff. As at 26 May 2021, 56 staff have attended the Courageous Conversations workshops. Four further workshops will be delivered. At the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), the Board, Executive Leadership Team, and Tier 3 and Tier 4 people leaders have all attended the Beyond Diversity course in 2020/21 (77 staff in total). This has only been offered for one year and the cost is $52,539 in 2020/21. No “Courageous Conversations about Race” course has been offered to Education New Zealand (ENZ) staff. 
21133 (2021)

The link to the table can be found here.