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Home/Rod Dreher/The Dalton Gang Shoots Itself

The Dalton Gang Shoots Itself

The Dalton School is an elite school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that has long prided itself on its “progressive” values. Progress comes at a price: tuition for its K-12 program is over $54,000 a year. Naturally Dalton has been at the forefront of declaring its progressive bona fides over race and “antiracism,” and declaring its own need for more repentance, but now the Bolsheviks within are storming the Winter Palace.

A hundred Dalton teachers are revolting over the school’s plan to reopen, and have issued a set of demands to the school. Some students are joining. What do they want? Gosh, what don’t they want? Excerpts:

Here is a link to the original text of the ransom note, which most of the Dalton faculty have signed. As Scott Johnston, who broke the news on his blog, comments:

The demands for additional staffers alone would add millions of dollars to Dalton’s annual budget. Siphoning off 50% of donations would dry up funding. Eliminating AP classes (referred to as “leveled courses”) would destroy college admissions. It’s not an exaggeration to say these demands, if implemented, would destroy Dalton altogether. According to insiders, much damage has already been done.

But if they don’t agree to the demands, what will happen? Don’t get me wrong, the protesters cannot be allowed to succeed. Yet if they don’t, knowing how insane progressives are on these issues, will they choose to destroy the school? After all, if Dalton is as racist as they say, how can they let it continue forming racist graduates to go out into the world and spread Evil?

I wonder what it’s going to take for institutions to put a hard foot down and tell its radical faculty and students: “NO!” Identity politics destroys every institution in which it is allowed to gain a foothold.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

Hello, I am an 18 year-old reader of your blog. I go to a Private School in Los Angeles, and part of your “The Dalton Gang Shoots Itself” seemed extremely upsetting to me, as I feel like I understand how Private Schools generally operate with regards to donations.

The demand that seemed the most ridiculous (& destructive) was the one that said 50% of Donations would be re-routed. This is probably the worst thing the school can do for low-income families because many private schools have large endowments to fund financial aid. At my school, the average student is on some level of financial aid, and the school is kept afloat by donations and the relatively few full-tuition students. One of my best friends is an African American student who I know is only able to attend because of these donations. This is true for many of the minority students that we have.

That is why these demands are tragic, not only for the school, but for the people who the demands intend to help. Most families, white or black, are not able to afford to send their kids to Private School on full tuition, and diverting 50% of donations could prevent a large number of minority students from attending a competitive school. If the teachers truly cared for the Black Community, they would not have included this demand. The demand is only intended to fund the Teacher’s Unions (that unfortunately run the schools in LA and NY, and care little about education).

UPDATE:Dalton’s head of school broadly disputes the claims.It’s pretty feeble stuff. The Naked Dollar blog, which broke the news, responds forcefully here.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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