"Edcamp Equity" returns in Wake County
Previous events featured sessions on "whiteness in Ed spaces," gender ideology, antiracist training, microaggressions, and getting around parent pushback.
An event called Edcamp Equity is returning to Wake County for the first time since being put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the past, EdCamp Equity has featured sessions on "whiteness in Ed spaces," gender ideology, antiracist training, microaggressions, and getting around parent pushback.
The 2020 “Whiteness in Ed Spaces” session included a discussion about how not letting parents - specifically white parents - “deter the work” with a direct reference to Critical Race Theory.
This year’s event is described as “Helping to create and maintain anti-racist schools is more important than ever.”
“We are a coalition of teachers, school leaders, parents, and community members eager to shift the paradigm on what's possible in public education. Join K-12 educators from across NC for a day of connecting, learning, and growing our craft with a specific focus on interrupting injustice in our schools,” the 2023 EdCamp description reads.
The “coalition” mentioned in the description is “Equity4Wake,” which consists of Wake County teachers, members of the Wake County Office of Equity Affairs (OEA), and members of Wake County’s affiliate chapter of the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE).
In past years, the event was held on Wake County Public School property and this year is no different. This year’s EdCamp will take place at Dillard Drive Magnet Middle School on Feb. 25.
The 2023 EdCamp is billed as an “unconference for educators, by educators,” and includes a graphic of an apple forming a protest fist. This is the same logo used for past EdCamps.
The rental agreement for Dillard Drive lists the Wake NCAE as the user group requesting space. The agreement shows fees of $470 and the purpose claims it is for professional development purposes.
EdcCamp Equity merchandise is also promoted to possible attendees through a vendor called “House of Swank.”
Of note, Wake County Schools Superintendent Catty Moore was a keynote speaker at one EdCamp Equity held in February of 2020. Some board of education members was also in attendance.
Equity4Wake is led by former OEA staffer Christina Spears. She is now the Wake County NCAE president. Equity4Wake’s website includes a section called “meet your disrupters” that lists the individuals behind the group.
“We are #equity4wake, a grassroots collective of passionate interrupters committed to providing equitable experiences for all. We commit to elevating voices of marginalized communities, disrupting systemic racism, and providing ongoing learning,” Equity4Wake’s website states.
Among the links on the Equity4Wake website is one for “Racial Equity Resource” provided by the Wake County Public Schools’ Office of Equity Affairs (OEA). The link goes to a Cloudshare location that displays a message of “file not found.”
Equity4Wake seems to have been formed as a way to maintain a separation or firewall between the group and the OEA. By organizing events through the “Edcamp Foundation,” the OEA is not officially tied to the questionable and radical agenda items these camps cover and would theoretically be shielded from public records requests.
Despite that firewall, Wake County Public Schools turned over links to Edcamp Equity materials when I asked for them in 2020.
I made the findings of that records request public in an article I published in September 2020. Read the full report: Records request reveals ‘Whiteness in Ed Spaces,” “Affinity groups” at WCPSS EdCamp Equity
The following year, that report became the main feature in the article “Subversion of Education” by Christopher Rufo which ran in the publication City Journal. Rufo, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, would go on to continue writing a series on radical ideologies appearing in K-12 education such as Critical Race Theory and antiracist programming in K-12 schools across the country.
More To The Story
Wake County Public Schools OEA has been behind the systematic Critical Race Theory infused antiracist training of the district’s teachers and as of January 2022, the office has cost taxpayers over $8.69 million.
Spears, before leaving the district’s employment, had been a lead instructor in much of the antiracist training. She is currently listed as a principal and co-founder at a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) outfit in Wake County called “RISE DEI.”
Another of RISE’s co-founders is another former OEA employee, Lauryn Mascarenaz. As one of the first major hires by the OEA, Mascarenaz had been employed with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s education activism arm called Learning for Justice. While at the OEA, Mascarenaz and then-OEA Director, Rodney Trice rolled out a “Black Lives Matter” website at the same time riots over the death of George Floyd were erupting across the country. The website has been dismantled, but the link directs to the same address used on the Equity4Wake website: “tfcloudshare.com/wcpssoea/racial-equity-resources/.”
OEA staff salaries have consistently totaled over half a million. In May 2020, there were seven staffers with a combined compensation including benefits of $869,626.
As of last November, six individuals were listed as OEA staffers with a combined compensation total of $589,617. The OEA’s new director, William Chavis, was included among those staffers. His most recent salary figure was $134,805.
Before being tapped as the new leader of the OEA, Chavis conducted a presentation on “culturally responsive teaching and social justice in high school mathematics classrooms” at a 2021 Math Summit held at N.C. State University.
An “Equity drive” math framework for “social justice” was included in the presentation. The material and themes included in the presentation closely mirror that of “Equitable Math,” a project aimed at dismantling racism in math instruction that has $1 million in grant backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.