These are tough times for Minnesota schools. In Lakeville, for example, the school board recently announced wrenching cuts of almost $7 million. Ninety-four teachers will lose their jobs, arts programs will suffer and a school will be closed. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the board set its jaw: There's not a dime for anything extra.
Unless you've got an ax to grind with white folks. Then the money spigots open. The Lakeville schools are sending a delegation of teachers to the 12th annual "White Privilege Conference" at the Bloomington Sheraton from April 13-16. The district is shelling out $160 a pop -- plus $125 a day for teacher subs -- for this "white guilt" festival.
Organizers say they expect attendees from a number of other Minnesota districts.
The conference is "built on the premise that the U.S. was started by white people, for white people," according to conference materials. Its mission is to get participants to confront their biases in a "journey in understanding white supremacy, whiteness, privilege, power and oppression," and to "agree to take action in [their] own circle of power."Weasel Zippers