We’ve all seen plenty of stories about public schools and universities attempting to mandate “critical race theory” programs and “anti-racism” principles in their curricula and the predictably disastrous results that follow. What we haven’t seen nearly as much of is the cash-rich underbelly of the CRT movement. Out in Illinois, a prime example of this phenomenon was uncovered at The Federalist recently. Naperville, Ill., School District 203 recently scheduled a Zoom meeting where attendees would hear from a “diversity consultant” named Dena Nicole. The “anti-racism consultant” delivered, launching one broadside after another and lecturing any white attendees about their various shortcomings. That’s not the surprising part of the story, however. Would you care to take a guess at what Ms. Nicole was paid out of the taxpayer-funded school budget for this online course? Whatever figure you’re thinking of is likely far too low.
According to documents released in response to an open records request, Naperville, Ill., School District 203 paid a diversity consultant, Dena Nicole Simmons, $10,500 for a 60-minute Zoom “keynote” address at its 2021 Equity Institute late last month—a rate of $175 per minute. In one hour, the “anti-racism” consultant earned the equivalent of about two month’s salary for some teachers in the school district.
The controversial Feb. 28 event, first reported in The Federalist, raised alarm bells when a whistleblower said Simmons told attendees “our education is based on a foundation of whiteness” and that Americans are “spiritually murdering” students. In addition, parroting the refrain of the “anti-racist” movement, Simmons told attendees that if they were not an “anti-racist,” they were racist.
The appropriate response to this news quickly showed up on social media from Kira Davis.
Damn. How the hell do I get this gig? White ppl, I will tell you horrible things about yourself for half this! I can do it! https://t.co/NxA2BRsci5
— Kira (@RealKiraDavis) March 22, 2021
We could spend all day going through the various bits of hectoring dispensed by Dena Nicole, rife with counter-culture admonitions about the general evilness of white people, but we’ve been down that road before. The irony of a Black activist judging people based on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character falls on deaf ears with this crowd. The amazing part of the story is the fee that she charges for her services.
I did a bit of checking and learned that ZipRecruiter pegs the average salary of a public school teacher in Illinois at between $19K and $64K per year, depending on a variety of factors including experience, tenure, educational degrees achieved and the cost of living in various school districts. Naperville is a western suburb of Chicago, so they’re probably closer to the upper end of the cost-of-living scale, so let’s say that their teachers average somewhere in the neighborhood of $45K.
If that’s the case, one woman lecturing from a remote laptop about how terrible white people are earned $10,500 for a sixty-minute Zoom call. That means that the taxpayers in that district paid Ms. Nicole nearly the same amount of money for one hour that the teachers who are actually charged with instructing the students earn in nearly three months. As noted above, the pay rate works out to $175 per minute. Let’s put that in context for a moment. While it’s nowhere near what Hillary or Chelsea Clinton gets to show up and speak at an event, it’s still an impressive haul compared to what many people you’ve actually heard of are paid. That’s nearly half as much as Neil De Grasse Tyson earns. There are any number of other actually famous individuals who might have something of substance to offer who are paid well less than this woman.
School districts are constantly complaining that their budgets have been busted by COVID. (Along with most elements of society.) Residents are regularly asked to kick in higher taxes to afford their school district’s budgets. And this is what they’re spending money on in Naperville, Illinois? Are Parent-Teacher Associations still a thing? Do local news networks still cover the budgets for the schools? How is this justified in any way, shape, or form?
I’m not going to keep harping on about this all day. You get the point. But this is what the entire “Critical Race Theory” debate is bringing us. And the cost that we’re paying isn’t just a societal one. It’s also hitting the bottom line in terms of actual money.