A large group of over 162 principals and assistant principals from schools in Minnesota put forth a public letter that called for “de-centering Whiteness” and “dismantling practices that reinforce White academic superiority,” while making the claim that their efforts meant that were making a “sacrifice” for “our children.”
Citing the late Congressman John Lewis, who once said, “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble,” the “Good Troubles” principals write in their statement: “We will not pledge loyalty to an institution over loyalty to the purity of children. We will not settle for the few overcomers of the greater system rather than dismantling the system for the greater good.”
They stated, “We are descendants of fighters and defenders of legacies. … we have fire in our bones and conviction in our hearts to see these walls come down like 1989 Berlin. … The undersigned principals declare publicly today that we are making some noise and getting in good trouble. Not for a day, a week, a month, or a year. But for a lifetime.”
They went on to ask rhetorically, “How might we get in Good Trouble today?”
(1) De-centering Whiteness. Understanding that traditional organized whiteness ensures domination through forms like PTAs and Unions. We purposefully call out and lift up historically non-represented voices of color in our spaces to hold weight and power.
(2) Dismantling practices that reinforce White academic superiority like bias in testing and the labeling, tracking and clustering that reflect an Americanized version of a caste system in our schools.
(3) Reconstructing “school” upon our full in-person returns where business-as-usual, like schedules and staffing, are open to drastic changes. and engaging in that preparatory work now.
(4) Speaking truth to power. Where our commitment to holding ourselves and those who serve under us accountable to this work is just as importantly extended to those who serve over us.
The group of administrators seems to actually blame the white children by asserting, “White children have been done a great disservice by sustaining white-centered schools in America over all these years. And it is to their equal benefit to thrive in schools where they are not spoon-fed the poison that they are better because of their skin color, where they have principals and teachers who boldly lead them to both humility and pride, and where they have the beautiful privilege of thriving while their classmates of color thrive as well.”
They then attempt to prop themselves up as martyrs: “And if getting in Good Trouble means we have a price to pay; so be it. For we know that the lives of our children are depending on us. And their lives are worth our sacrifice.”
In a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page, they stated, “This is a time like no other. And yet the principalship can feel so lonely. This page is an attempt to connect school leaders from across the Metro Area who are committed and dedicated to anti-racist, student-centered educational realities that may not already exist; or in the words of Dr. Bettina Love: Abolitionist Education.”
Love stated back in 2016, “Racism is indelible to the Black body and the spirit, and the physical and spirit murdering of Black bodies is unfortunately part-and-parcel of America’s history. It is, in many ways, what makes America, America.”