ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Rockwood School District has come under fire recently after a school administrator lobbied for teachers to hide race-based content in their curriculum from parents.
According to a memo obtained by The Daily Wire, Natalie Fallert, EdD, a Literacy Speech Coordinator for Rockwood School District, wrote an email to middle and high school English Language Arts teachers noting complaints by parents that the teachers were “pushing an agenda” and “making white kids feel bad about their privilege.”
The parental complaints come after Canvas, a tool used for online schooling where assignments are posted online, allowed parents to see the nuts and bolts of what their kids were being taught for the first time.
After acknowledging parents’ skepticism, Fallert suggested the teachers create two sets of curriculum; a false one that parents would see, and a different one that would actually be taught to the kids.
“This doesn’t mean throw out the lesson and find a new one. Just pull the resource off Canvas so parents cannot see it.”
“Keep teaching!” Fallert was quoted in the memo. “Just don’t make everything visible on Canvas. This is not being deceitful. This is just doing what you have done for years. Prior to the pandemic you didn’t send everything home or have it available. You taught in your classroom and things were peachy keen. We are going old-school.”
One day after Fallert sent it out, wind of the email broke and Rockwood School District issued a statement to all parents on April 23:
The email that was sent to teachers encouraging them to hide or alter content visible to parents was not reviewed or approved by anyone before it was disseminated by an individual staff member. It does not reflect the mission, vision and values of the district and is counter to the goals set forth in our strategic plan, The Way Forward. The Rockwood School District encourages transparency and recognizes open communication is vital between parents and our staff. Parents are essential partners and allies in the education of our children. We welcome their feedback and authentic conversations with regard to all aspects of a student’s education and we stand behind our curriculum, which provides our students with well-rounded educational experiences so they are equipped for future success.
Executive Director of Communications Mary LaPak told The Heartlander that the school district plans to, among other things, continue to show the curriculum to parents even after online learning concludes to restore trust in Rockwood.
“We’re also looking at a variety of additional things that we can do,” she said. “Sharing the curriculum at the beginning of the school year, sharing our choice books at the beginning of the school year. Really doing things so that parents have an understanding of what’s happening in the classroom from the get-go.”
When asked if Fallert has stepped down or is being reprimanded for sending the initial email, LaPak was unable to give a comment.
“I can’t speak to that. I can tell you that at the moment she’s still employed but that’s all that I can say at this time.”
It’s speculated that the curriculum’s race-based content is the product of a recent trend across Missouri schools to hire “equity consultants”. According to their website, one firm named Educational Equity Consultants (EEC) has been hired by 27 different schools in Missouri.
Rockwood School District can expect to be pressured more on the issue as Fallert is still employed and her future with the school seemingly still intact.