Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Why Conservatives Should Love Cryptocurrencies


I started buying crypto about six weeks ago. I'd been pondering this for years, but finally got off my ass. Does it feel late? I think it's still very, very early. How many people do you know that own Bitcoin? One,  two? The total value of all Bitcoin is about the market cap of JP Morgan, a single company  If you think this is going to become an asset class, it has to be 100x a single company like JP Morgan.

But making an investment argument is not the point here. There's plenty of that elsewhere. I want to make a philosophical one.

First, Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a currency without a nation state attached to it. Nothing specifically backs it, but nothing backs the dollar, either. Unlike the dollar, though, Bitcoin has no controlling authority other than code. This has one key advantage: it can't be inflated (which is to say, devalued) by irresponsible governance. 

Politicians ultimately are the ones who destroy currencies. It's a pattern repeated throughout history. They spend more than they have, borrowing to make up the difference. Then they print money to pay lenders back. The more they print, the more the currency is devalued. It happens most everywhere. How many times has the Argentine peso crashed in the last century?

The U.S. is not immune to this. Here's a graph of our money supply:



Seventy percent of outstanding dollars have been printed in the last decade. That's an amazing fact. You've heard of "quantitative easing?" That's government-speak for printing money.

Our status as the world's reserve currency has shielded us, for a time, from an erosion of value, as has the fact that many other fiat currencies are backed equally irresponsible policy.

But what if there was a currency that actually practiced quantitative hardening

There is, and it's called Bitcoin. 

There are currently 18.6 million bitcoins in the world. Of these, it is estimated that 3-4 million are lost forever (people lose their passwords or die without giving anyone access). The pace at which new bitcoins can be created ("mined") is halved every four years. Once it reaches 21 million, there will never be another. 


Projected Bitcoin Supply

This is a very powerful fact, and it will ultimately serve as a means to keep profligate governments in check. In my view, Bitcoin will increasingly be viewed as a reserve-currency alternative. When this happens, fiat currencies will have to compete not just with each other, but with Bitcoin. They will have to operate with unaccustomed restraint or watch their currencies, and the power that comes with them, evaporate. 

Good.

The other crypto conservatives should love is Ethereum. Ethereum is completely different from Bitcoin, and it's worth understanding how. It is actually a platform that rests on a vast global network of computers. It is decentralized with no controlling parties. 

Using the Ethereum platform, developers can create applications (called "Dapps," for "decentralized applications") that let users make agreements and buy, sell, and trade without a middle man. To put a Daap on the platform, developers need to spend "Ethers," which is the cryptocurrency associated with Ethereum. Ethers have the second largest crypto market cap behind Bitcoin.

Think of Ethereum as the world's computer, but instead of being one big computer, it's thousands (millions?) of separate ones.

This is not good news for much of today's Big Tech. Even though the internet seems decentralized, it's not. The vast majority of it runs through the mega-platforms like Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. These companies have begun actively stifling speech, almost exclusively from the right. (The decision by several not to support Twitter-alternative Parler has been chilling.) 

Simply, these companies have become way too powerful, and they have social agendas beyond simply making a profit for their shareholders. 

Ethereum is the ultimate middle-man crusher. 

Why go to Amazon Web Services or Dropbox if there was a simple way to utilize private servers? 

Why buy a book through Amazon when you could buy it directly from the seller? Someone will create something that looks like Amazon, but in reality has no centralized corporation overseeing it. 

Why pay Uber a fee if you can hire a driver directly? Why pay Netflix if you can get what you want directly from the creators?

Check our Presearch. It is a decentralized search engine that doesn't have Google's privacy issues or anti-competitive practices. The coolest part? Every time you search, you get some tokens (their own crypto). These tokens are the currency with which advertisers pay to get on the platform. You may not need them for that, but if the platform grows, you can sell your crypto at a profit.

I'm sure I'm only scratching the surface, and honestly, I'm still learning. Like I said, early days. 

Last thought: I don't have the data to support this, but I think it's safe to say that crypto's biggest fanbase leans young and left. I wonder if they understand the basic contradiction in their views. They vote for an ever-expanding centralized planning (e.g. "Medicare for all") while at the same time supporting libertarian mega-trends like crypto. 

I would be the last one to suggest there's much self-analysis going on. 




Thursday, January 7, 2021

Obituary for a President


It was a remarkable thing, in some ways, to watch a single day destroy the legacy, maybe even the life, of a president. But yesterday, that's what happened. 

Until very recently, I was a big supporter of Donald Trump's. Not originally, but he got things done, things that were good for the country. I advocated strongly for his re-election. Sure, he was boorish and intemperate. Sure, he suffered from acute narcissism, but he also wasn't half the other things he was accused of, and his policies were spectacularly successful (with the partial exception of COVID aside). He also didn't take crap from the media or institutional Washington, an aspect other Republicans need to learn.

I started to sour post-election. Not because he wasn't at least somewhat right about election fraud. He didn't win in a "landslide," but there was clearly fraud. Worse, a number of states used compliant judges to circumvent their own election laws. Was any of this enough to change the outcome? I don't know. But Trump had every right to feel bitter, and he had every right to make legal challenges.

But he took it way, way too far.

Once things became untenable, he should have gracefully backed off, stolen election or no. He should have appointed a commission, one that would outlive his presidency, to look into the allegations and then make recommendations. This has to happen, because while violence is never acceptable, there are now tens of millions of Americans who have serious doubts about the honesty of the election process, and they can't be blamed for this. It was the actions of Democrats that created this doubt with en masse mail-in voting, mysterious late night vote counting shenanigans, etc.

We have changed the way elections work in this country, and not in ways that inspire confidence in their credibility.

But back to Trump. While he was bemoaning the outcome, he also may have lost the Senate for Republicans. This will lead to a legislative disaster from which our country may not recover. God knows what will come - socialized medicine, statehood for Puerto Rico and D.C., a packed Supreme Court...it's a long and ominous list, and all on the table. It's things that can't be reversed should Republicans take back Congress in two years.

Then came yesterday. Yesterday was a disgrace.

Sure, there were Antifa thugs in the mix, stirring the pot, but Trump lit the match. Then he took far too long to appear on TV, and said the wrong things when he did. It may go down as the worst single day for a president in our nation's history.

To their credit, every Republican and every prominent conservative I can think of immediately denounced yesterday's events. This is in distinct contrast with Democrats this summer, who stayed silent about BLM and Antifa violence for months until it started hurting them in the polls. That includes Joe Biden.

But the violence on both sides makes the case for smaller, decentralized government. There is way too much power in Washington. This raises the stakes every election. I long for the days of low voter turnout because it was low for a reason: the outcome didn't matter as much. Now, every election is the "most important of our lifetimes." It's tempting to call that hyperbole, but it's not. Washington has become too important to our lives, something our founders tried assiduously to avoid.

The irony is that yesterday may have gifted Democrats power for a generation, and they are precisely the people that want more power and money for the Beltway. This will raise the stakes even further, dividing us as a nation even more.

As for Trump, many Republicans loved him, including me, but they need to let go. He broke faith with us. There are plenty of deserving conservatives in waiting and they should get their due. Trump might have played a role in promoting one, but no longer. 

It disappoints me enormously to say it, but he's poison now.



Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Critical Race Theory and the "Equity" Scam

 


You've see this one, right? The three kids on the left are "equality," because they all have the same size box. The kids on the right are "equity," because they have an equal outcome.

Seems nice, right? Everyone's happy. This poster has been used in endless DEI sessions. (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, if you haven't been keeping up.)

I just have so many problems with this.

For starters, the poster is misleading. The boy on the right has been given the help he needs to reach a goal, and that's great. This is what all our schools should be doing. 

If only this were a good metaphor. 

It isn't. This is a better one:



Okay, a bit graphic, but it makes the point. Critical Race Theory, the guiding force behind the DEI movement, is cultural Marxism. It is about equal results, achieved by tearing standards down. Saying things like, "striving for excellence" is now considered a microaggression. Not kidding.

Look no further than the faculty demands at the Dalton School (chronicled in previous posts). One of the demands is to eliminate AP classes (euphemistically called "layered" classes) by 2023 if black students are not qualifying in the same percentages.

In other words, bring down the high achievers (including some blacks) if the numbers aren't equal. "Equity" is all about assuming racism exists wherever the numbers for racial groups aren't equal. It doesn't require that one find actual discrimination. If you don't have a proportionate number of blacks at your company or on your faculty or in your AP classes - presto! - there's systemic racism. Cue the hiring of an immense DEI infrastructure. Yale alone has 150 DEI officers. I have no idea what they do all day, other than sow division.

Which brings me to my next issue with poster #1. It shows three individual boys, which is highly misleading. The "equity" movement is about groups; it cares not about the individual. The original intent of the civil rights movement - that we be judged as unique individuals, not by the color of our skin - has been thrown on its head.

Now, one's defining characteristic is color.

Here's a great example. A few decades ago, symphonies began using "blind" auditions. The idea was that judges would only hear the quality of the music and not be influenced by race or gender. Now, the New York Times, among others, is demanding that this practice end. They want racial preferences to make sure orchestras are diverse. Never mind tapping the best musicians.

The word "meritocracy" is also considered a microaggression. Yup.

Don't get me wrong, I strongly favor getting people the help they need to be the best they can be, and that needs to start at a young age. To do this, there has to be an honest conversation about teachers unions and fatherless homes, but just try to go there with a Critical Race advocate or DEI brown shirt. You'll be on the fast train to Canceltown.

Lastly, I thought I'd throw in one more poster:


'Nuff said.




Friday, January 1, 2021

How Did Hunter Biden Get into Yale Law School?



Do you know how hard it is to get into Yale Law School? The admission rate is 6.9%. By comparison, Harvard Law is twice as easy. It's also tiny, with only 200 slots available each year. 

Do you know how hard it is to transfer to Yale Law? Forget about it. Even harder. Typically, only about ten students a year are accepted. It goes without saying you'd have to be at the very top of whatever law school you were transferring from, and even then it wouldn't be a layup.

Which raises the question; how exactly did Hunter Biden pull this off?


You probably didn't even know he went there. It doesn't come up much. 

Here are the facts:

  • Biden arrived as a transfer in the fall 1994. This means...
  • He was accepted sometime in the winter/spring that same year
  • The Dean of Yale Law at that time was Guido Calabresi
  • It was well known that Calabresi's ambition was to serve on the federal bench
  • On February 9th, 1994, Bill Clinton nominated Calabresi to the 2nd Circuit, where he still serves
  • Thus, Biden's acceptance to Yale Law and Calabrisi's appointment were contemporaneous
  • Chairing the Judiciary Committee at that time - the man responsible for confirming Calabresi's nomination - was none other than Joe Biden.
  • Calabresi sailed through the process

Calabresi

Those are the facts. 

Coincidence. 

Perhaps. 

If you think Hunter Biden was one of the top first-year law students in the country and had near perfect board scores. I am not one of those people. 

I do not have Hunter's transcripts from Georgetown undergrad or his first year of law school there, but he's not exactly known as a scholar. I know people who knew him then and they say he was more arrogant than anything else. His life since does not suggest the slightest trace of intellect, except in the pursuit of ways to monetize his family's name..

So, there's no smoking gun, no absolute proof that a slot at America's most elite law school was traded for a federal judgeship. But the circumstantial evidence raises serious questions, the kind the mainstream media won't ask anymore, at least when it inconveniences Democrats.

There's a pattern of quid quo pro that seems follow the Biden family wherever it goes.

It's worth noting that the Ivies are very much part of the swamp. Yale, for its part, gets the better part of a billion dollars a year from the federal government. Also, there is a definite pattern of prominent Democrats getting their kids - somehow! - into Ivy Leage schools. Tucker Carlson did an entire piece on this. It 's worth a watch.

Edit: I'm going to anticipate one of the objections to this piece, which is Yale is a private institution, so it can admit whomever it likes. First, this would be true if they didn't accept federal money. Second, the example of accepting a rich kid in exchange for a large donation - one I know will be thrown at me - is quite different from giving a coveted space up in exchange for a personal favor. In the first instance, all of Yale benefits from the donation. In the second instance, it does not.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Dalton Update 3



I'm told that Dalton is preparing a letter for the Wall Street Journal in response to my article. It's hard to imagine what they have to add on top of the response they sent our to their own community, but expect it to be carefully crafted by their consultants.

In the meantime, the comment section below the Journal piece makes for some great reading, some of it quite funny, some of it highly incisive. Here's a sample:

"The French Revolution is being delivered electronically, and the guillotine is Twitter."

"My demand: the headmaster, Mr. Best, should change his surname. I am oppressed because it speaks of exclusion!"

"You know your society has reached peak bourgeoise decadence when its ruling class will pay top dollar to learn how to hate themselves."

"It won't be long until there's a Secretary of Diversity and Inclusion in Biden's cabinet."

(No joke, that one.)

Lot of great writers out there.

"My demand: the Headmaster Mr. Best should change his surname. I am oppressed because it speaks of exclusion!"

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Dalton Update 2


Dalton has removed the names of all their directors from their website. For some reason, they don't want you to know who they are.

Did I mention their motto is, "Go Forth Unafraid?"

Also, the administration has decided they want all teachers to come back post break, but initially gave them all a lot of latitude to say no. Most did, apparently going forth unafraid. So then Dalton said, no, really, we weren't kidding. We want you to come back. They narrowed the latitude for saying no.

At this, I'm told by insiders that the black teachers erupted, repeating earlier claims that demands to return are racist. THEN, teachers apparently "officially" tied their return to an acquiescence to the demands in their manifesto. They think it's all reasonable and want it all agreed to before they come back. See here for the full list. Set aside some time to get through it all.

This is an extremely difficult situation, but one Dalton engineered itself. Hire radical teachers, and you will get radicalism. 

In case you were wondering, here's the Dalton board. The Wayback Machine is so useful.

2020-21 Trustees

Alan Klein*
President
Aly Sheezar Jeddy*
 Ramsey Smith
Jim Best
Head of School
Leah JohnsonAshley Smyth*
Ronnie Abrams ’86
Olati Johnson*Deirdre Stanley
Timothy Barakett*Erica KleinBenjamin tenOever
Graciela Hank BitarBruce MeninAndrew Weinberg ’92 
Mark Chan*
Durre NabiBrynja Sigurdardottir
PA President
Sheree ChiouAlexander RobinsonJoanna Stone Herman
Alumni Representative
John Clark Ishaan Seth*Emily Mindel Gottlieb '91
Dalton Council Chair
Jennie Tarr Coyne 97*James SimmonsSarah Kerman
Faculty Representative
Andreas DracopoulosDasha Smith**Executive Committee Members
Jennifer Glassman*

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Dalton Head of School Responds to the Naked Dollar



In a carefully worded email to the Dalton community, Head of School Jim Best has responded to the Naked Dollar's revelations about their woke agenda. The email, reprinted in full below, was no doubt crafted with the outside consultants who have been hired to help manage the crisis.

I have a number of comments directly for Mr. Best.

  • You refer to the original document as a "thought piece." A document signed by over one hundred people strikes me as much more of an end point than a beginning. The fact you put "thought starter" in quotes means it's not a thought starter at all.
  • You say I have "mischaracterized" your efforts? How, exactly? I am providing the transparency that you, apparently, have not. The only point we could have a legitimate argument over is whether the letter can be characterized as "demands." Something signed by over one hundred staffers seems very much like a demand, and that's certainly how the parents I have been in touch with view them. This is an age-old tactic: find one thing that may not be a provable fact in order to discredit everything else.
  • Dalton does not "stand behind all the concepts shared or actions prescribed." So, which ones do you stand by? Because the entire thing reads like some manifesto written by a freshman sociology major. The Port Huron Statement had nothing on Dalton Letter. The  whole agenda smacks of indoctrination. This is a dangerous echo of the Red Guard and Maoist "struggle sessions." 
  • You claim that the letter was only "recently brought to (your) attention." Could you define "recently?" Because I find this extremely difficult to believe.
  • Dalton is committed to an "anti-racist curriculum." These are chilling words to those schooled in Orwell. As I pointed out in a previous post, Dalton is even finding ways to make the STEM curriculum woke.
  • You say you will conduct a parental survey. Excellent idea. One question: will it be anonymous? Because if it isn't, you will only get answers you want to hear.
  • Your letter closes by saying that Dalton is a "unified community." No, it's not. I have experienced this personally. You only think it is because no one dares speak out. Many parents are extremely angry. And no, they are not crypto-racists. The agenda of the letter, in any part, will only hurt the very people it aims to help creating a permanent victim class.
Mr. Best's full letter is reprinted below.

Side note: the Daily Mail story said that I was a Dalton parent. I am not, and I have asked them to make the correction.


To the Dalton Community,  
 
As you may know, a blog called "The Naked Dollar" has blatantly and erroneously mischaracterized diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Dalton. I feel compelled to set the record straight lest it—and any additional media coverage that may follow—be taken seriously. 

At issue is a "thought starter" document created this summer by a subset of faculty and staff with ideas on how to achieve Dalton's commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution in the wake of George Floyd's tragic death. While the blog refers to these ideas as "faculty demands," that is not true. The document—which was only recently brought to my attention—was never presented to, nor considered by, the administration, and we do not stand behind all of the concepts shared or actions proscribed. In short, what the blog characterizes as current or possible policy is instead a set of ideas created at a specific moment in time as a well-intentioned effort to help Dalton navigate this critical issue. 

What the blog post does get right, albeit unintentionally, is the spirit of intellectual debate that uniquely defines our community. Part of Dalton's magic is that our students are inspired to "go forth unafraid" by educators who aren't afraid to think boldly. In this instance, sparked by a national outpouring of grief and pain around racial injustice, some faculty and staff took the step of questioning the status quo around age-old structures that may foster systemic racism. And while there are better ways to go about advancing those views, I wouldn't wish for a culture in which the authors didn't feel free to express themselves. However, I will continue to clarify expectations and processes with faculty and staff that lead to more collaborative and productive outcomes.

Dalton prides itself as a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion and will always welcome community input and honest debate around how to meaningfully bring these principles to life. To that end, as mentioned in my December 8th "DEI and Anti-Racism Update," Dalton is actively, thoughtfully engaged in rethinking how our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism is realized in our curriculum and in our student and community life—always in keeping with our strong values and high standards of academic excellence. 

We will begin this reset with the launch of a comprehensive discipline review of our DEI efforts and will supplement this work with the results of a community-wide survey. Together, these will inform the development and coordination of a cohesive and developmentally appropriate anti-racist curriculum. I look forward to sharing an update on progress towards this goal in early January. In the meantime, you can check the Commitment to Anti-Racism Progress Report on our website.
  
I hope you share my pride in Dalton's leadership role in diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism and that we stand together as a unified community. And while this forward-looking role may sometimes put us in the spotlight, it also illuminates the importance of what we are trying to achieve together.
 
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, and I trust you'll continue to support the hard and necessary work to get this right. 
 
Jim






Saturday, December 19, 2020

Dalton Update

The Head of School (we can't say Headmaster anymore - triggering) emailed the Dalton community. He characterizes the faculty letter as a "thought starter," not a list of demands. A working document, if you will, although it was signed by over one hundred staffers.

There's clearly some backpedaling going on here. I hear there was a hastily called board meeting. To be fair, the faculty letter does not say "demands." My sources say they view them as much, but I can't know for sure.

Also, in the spirit of accuracy, the faculty is not tying this to their return to the school. This may have been floated, but if so, is no longer the case. Too weak a hand? Dalton has been one of the only schools in New York that hasn't returned at all this year. 

But this doesn't change the substance of what's going on here. If you haven't, I urge you to read all the "proposals." (See my previous post.) If you think it's a sane, rational document, if you think the ideas put forth would produce anything other than more divisiveness, you probably live that kind of woke bubble that only exists on the coasts and university towns.

Twelve full time diversity officers? Diversity officers are hammers looking for nails. Their very job descriptions necessitate finding them, and they do, even in progressive utopias like Dalton. This often means resorting to ill-defined "microagressions" and the like. You're racist even if you don't know it.

Diversity has become a full blown industry in America. It's not just Dalton. Hire more officers and they will find ever-more nuanced definitions of racism, as one commenter put it. 

The goals of the diversity movement were, theoretically, commendable, at least for a time. the movement has become something else altogether. Sadly,  it reduces the very people it strives to help to a permanent victim class.

How this is good for anyone, white or black, I don't know.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Teacher Demands at Dalton

 


As promised. Looks like it's signed by most or all of the faculty. I'd like to meet anyone who didn't sign. That would be a very brave person.

This is unedited. As you can see, I left plenty out of my first post


Without new visions we don’t know what to build, only what to knock down. We not only end up confused, rudderless, and cynical, but we forget that making a revolution is not a series of clever maneuvers and tactics but a process that can and must transform us. 

Robin D.G. Kelley 

 

Context

 

During the past few months, we have been inspired by the Black Lives Matter uprisings across the country. Black activists and their accomplices continue to put their personal safety at risk in order to make a better world for all of us; we thank them for their courage and vision.

 

We have also had the opportunity to see this activism up close, in our own community. Dalton’s Black students and students of color demonstrated that same courage—going forth unafraid—when they shared personal stories of racism and trauma in the high school town hall at the end of the year. On Instagram, @blackatdalton and @dalton_anonymous have held Dalton accountable for its shortcomings, and Dalton’s Black alumni and parents of Black students are helping us to envision a more inclusive school. We are also inspired by the demands currently being championed by Black Students Demanding Change.

 

Dalton has also made a public commitment to “live up to our stated values as a visibly, vocally, structurally anti-racist institution.” Towards this end, Head of School Jim Best outlined the following list of actions:

  • Create and apply a comprehensive anti-racism and inclusion plan 
  • Revise course content to be relevant and inclusive of a full range of experiences including those of people of color
  • Learn specific teaching practices that foster an inclusive classroom without burdening students of color and marginalized students
  • Establish a clear system for reporting incidents of bias, discrimination, or racism
  • Implement a mandatory parent orientation that is aligned with our mission, our values, and our commitment to anti-racism

 

We are heartened to see Dalton’s leadership taking such a strong stance on this issue, and we are energized for the work ahead. In the spirit of eager collaboration, we have identified 24 proposals, detailed below, that we believe will complement and extend Dalton’s existing efforts. 

 

To contextualize these proposals, we would like to include the following definitions, put forward by the Aspen Institute:

 

Structural Racism: A system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead it has been a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist.

 

Institutional Racism: Institutional racism refers to the policies and practices within and across institutions that, intentionally or not, produce outcomes that chronically favor, or put a racial group at a disadvantage. Poignant examples of institutional racism can be found in school disciplinary policies in which students of color are punished at much higher rates than their white counterparts, in the criminal justice system, and within many employment sectors in which day-to-day operations, as well as hiring and firing practices can significantly disadvantage workers of color.

 

Much of the discourse surrounding equity and inclusion in schools focuses on reducing interpersonal racism, training faculty about implicit bias, and diversifying the curriculum. We heartily affirm the importance of these anti-racist efforts, especially in light of student testimony detailing microagressions, careless remarks, and blatant racial prejudice. In this document, we imagine what it would mean for Dalton to move towards its stated goal of becoming a more “structurally anti-racist institution” (emphasis added)—an inspiring charge that requires more than well-intentioned, individualized efforts. On the contrary, we must “[engage with] the Dalton community in an intensive, comprehensive, ongoing examination of our cultural norms, our policies, and our programs,” and most importantly, we must change them. Structural racism is cumulative, pervasive, durable, and mutable; our response must be similarly thorough and systematic.

 

It’s important to note that the language in this document focuses primarily on the Black community at Dalton. While we acknowledge that white supremacy harms all people of color, we believe that anti-Blackness must be understood as distinct from “racism” writ large. In this moment, our collective anti-racist efforts must center Black people and their needs. Nonetheless, we believe that many of the proposals outlined below could be extended to consider indigenous and native people; people from other underrepresented racial and ethnic identities; people from working-class backgrounds; people with disabilities; the queer community; non-binary, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming people; etc. 

 

Ta-Nehisi Coates says, “black history does not flatter American democracy; it chastens it.” The testimony of our Black students and alumni should also chasten us. Let their words spur us towards a “reckoning,” as Coates says, “that [will] lead to spiritual renewal.” We have seen the Dalton community come together in amazing ways during times of crisis. Dalton’s Black students and students of color deserve decisive action that reflects the urgency of the moment. Their lives are happening right now. To address past mistakes and obviate future harms, we must be willing to take the necessary steps to fundamentally transform our institution. We believe Dalton can and must be a leader in this vital, urgent work of making our school a home for all students.

 

To add your name in support of these proposals, please submit your information here.

 

Proposals

 

Equitable Outcomes and Self-Evaluation

  1. Collect and publish data regarding race and discipline (including suspensions).
  • One of the most damaging manifestations of institutional racism can be found in school discipline policies. Research suggests that schools tend to discipline Black students more often than their non-Black peers and that race, gender, and class are all linked to likelihood and severity of punishment. Dalton should publish all historical data and examine to what extent race plays a role in disciplinary practices.
  1. Collect and publish data regarding race, grades, retention, and graduation rates.
  • Dalton faculty are increasingly attendant to the pernicious effects of implicit bias and its impact in the classroom. Research suggests that grading practices can be one source of racial discrimination in schools. 
  • Furthermore, Black students and students of color at Dalton must perform under more challenging conditions than their white peers; for instance, one recent paper suggests that exposure to police violence leads to a persistent decrease in GPA for Black and Hispanic students. Other research shows that racist incidents on campus also have negative effects on GPA and mental health for Black students and students of color. In order to move towards equity within the classroom, we should ensure that there is no correlation between a student’s racial background and their ability to be successful at Dalton. 
  1. Commit to racial equity in leveled courses by 2023; at that time, if membership and performance of Black students are not at parity with non-Black students, leveled courses should be abolished.
  • Research suggests that Black students, students of color, and low-income students are more likely to be tracked into lower-level courses, creating segregated learning environments that affect students’ educational trajectories. In the High School, there have been persistent complaints of de facto racial segregation in some “Advanced” courses. Dalton should ensure that there is no correlation between race and placement or grades in all tracked courses.
  1. Publish data regarding faculty, staff, and administration salaries, including mean and median salaries of employees by race and gender.
  • Race and gender are well-established variables that affect negotiations, salaries, attainment of leadership positions, and turnover, and the Black-white wage gap has widened over the previous two decades. Providing salary benchmarks and transparency will prevent inadvertent salary disparities at Dalton.
  1. Dalton’s student body, faculty, staff, administration, and trustees should be representative of New York City in terms of gender, race, socioeconomic background, and immigration status by 2025. Dalton should publish yearly updates regarding the demographics of each of these groups.
  • As “an intentionally diverse community,” “an inclusive, democratic community,” and to ensure access and equity in the institution, Dalton should reflect the city in which it is located. Dalton has already made some progress on this front: for instance, 25% of the school’s top leadership is Black or African American, which reflects the demographics of New York City. Dalton should continue to diversify its community—from students to faculty to leadership—and publish comprehensive data about its progress each year.
  1. Develop a systematic and robust approach to assessing the experience of Black students and their families, and Black faculty, staff, and administration. Publish an annual report detailing institutional progress towards equity and inclusion.
  • The best way to hold ourselves accountable is to be public and transparent about our successes and failures; institutional integrity is crucial to the success of our mission. Informed community members will continue to push Dalton to be better, and we should welcome their engagement and recognize it as a form of optimism and love. As Head of School Jim Best acknowledges, this is “a conversation that needs many more voices,” and we won’t get it right every time. Dalton can and should change, but it will not be a straight line to success. An annual report will help us to stay focused and on track.
  1. Convene a committee of students, alumni, parents, and faculty to audit progress and develop new suggestions to supplement these measures by 2023. At least half of the committee participants should be Black.

 

Anti-Racist Pedagogy

  1. Adopt a two-pronged approach to course-related content changes: 1) Institute a divisional requirement for courses that explicitly center Black liberation and challenges to white supremacy. The requirement should be equivalent to or greater than the smallest requirement for any other department. 2) All other existing course content and departmental work via Dalton by Design should undergo an audit to ensure that content is guided by Dalton’s commitment to anti-racist education and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • In the same way that subjects such as English, art, physical education, and mathematics have been embedded within the Dalton experience, so too should coursework that is explicitly anti-racist. No Dalton student should graduate without taking classes that center race, identity, difference, and social justice.
  • Furthermore, we should take this opportunity to review all of our content and pedagogy across all divisions. While we acknowledge that diversifying curriculum is not a solution in and of itself, centering Black experiences, scholars, authors, and primary sources can be part of a broader strategy to align our classrooms with our stated values.
  1. Allow faculty members to earn a course release if they partner with a Black-led community organization to teach a class or volunteer in other meaningful ways.
  • Dalton should build partnerships with other organizations and schools to provide a robust array of opportunities for interested faculty, and the necessary support and professional development to ensure success. Dalton has already committed to “Creat[ing] a K-12 Service Learning program that emphasizes service in New York City and beyond as an essential part of the Dalton experience and prioritizes time for reflection on issues of ethics, equity, inclusion and social justice,” per the 2018 Strategic Plan. These opportunities should be expanded to allow faculty members to take their expertise beyond Dalton’s walls. In addition to good citizenship, this would be a powerful, transformative form of professional development that would improve faculty retention and Dalton’s ability to attract dynamic educators.
  1. All faculty, staff, administration, Parent Association volunteers, and trustees should undergo yearly anti-racist training. 
  • This proposal builds on work that has been ongoing in Equity Leadership Groups, new faculty and staff onboarding, and recent professional development efforts at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Dalton should build in time during the school year for these groups to collaborate with their colleagues and with experts from outside Dalton.
  1. Administrators, faculty, and staff should produce individual public anti-racism statements. Faculty should also include anti-racist resources for each class they teach. Each department/grade level should publish its DEI-related efforts in an annual report.
  • Anti-racism statements and resources provide an opportunity at the individual level for engagement with students, colleagues, and the broader Dalton community. Administrators, faculty, and staff should use these statements to describe the specific ways they have adapted their practices and curriculum to align with Dalton’s commitment to anti-racist eduation. Departments should also clarify their expectations for teachers, and produce an annual report on progress and other new initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Public statements help make the work visible to the wider community; the DEI office should not be the only mechanism by which we hold each other accountable.


Needed Personnel and Equity in Hiring

  1. Expand the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to include at least 12 full-time positions: one Director, one Office Assistant, three full-time staff members per division, and one full-time staff member for PE/Athletics.
  • In keeping with Dalton’s commitment to small class sizes and personal attention, we should budget for more full-time positions to support our community as we make these important changes to the school. At the divisional level, three staff members could collaborate on work that is faculty-, student-, and parent-facing. 
  • It is especially important for PE/Athletics to have a dedicated full-time staff member; PE/Athletics is housed in a different building and operates on a different schedule from the rest of Dalton. Furthermore, research suggests that PE/Athletics are important sites of racial identity formation.
  1. Hire a staff member outside of the DEI office whose entire role is to support Black students and students of color who come forward with complaints and/or face disciplinary action.
  • The outpouring of pain from current students and alumni reflect ongoing trauma in the Dalton environment that has been underappreciated and unaddressed. Black students deserve to have a full-time advocate to support and validate them as they navigate a predominantly white institution.
  1. Hire a psychologist in every division with a specialization on psychological issues affecting “ethnic minority populations,” as defined by the Council of National Psychological Associations for the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Interests. Expand services to support students coping with race-based traumatic stress.
  • Research suggests that racism has persistent negative psychological effects on the well-being of Black students and students of color. It is vital that Dalton invests in safe spaces where our Black students know they will be supported, and in people who reflect their backgrounds and can validate their experience.
  1. Implement name-, school-, and salary history-blind recruitment and hiring practices for faculty, staff, and administrative roles; require diversity statements as part of every application; publish expected salary range in every job posting; and publish data regarding the racial makeup of every stage of every hire.
  • Implementing explicitly anti-racist safeguards for recruitment, hiring, and promotion can be effective ways to reduce bias in recruitment and hiring. Research suggests the use of diversity statements early in a hiring process can be an effective strategy to improve equity in faculty hiring. Dalton should commit to publicly explaining the mechanisms that it employs to prevent discrimination in recruitment, hiring, and promotion.
  1. Review and audit all vendor and third-party contracts to ensure that Dalton is partnering with Black-owned businesses wherever possible. Publish yearly reports detailing Dalton’s vendors and third-party contracts.
  • For a variety of reasons, Black-owned businesses lag behind white-owned businesses in profits, employment, and survival. Nonetheless, Black-owned businesses tend to employ more Black people than their white-owned counterparts, and they are an important tool for economic advancement in the Black community. 
  1. Retain all security/maintenance/dining/other contracted staff without reduction in salary or benefits, regardless of whether Dalton is able to physically re-open facilities.
  • Black workers have suffered record job losses since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are disproportionately represented among essential workers who must risk their health in order to continue working. Dalton must prioritize the health and security of its staff—no one is disposable. Our staff are beloved members of the Dalton community, and they should be supported in the same way that we are supporting administration and faculty.


Institutional Resources and Commitments

  1. Offer a special orientation session for incoming students and families of underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds. Provide anti-racist orientations for all families on a yearly basis.
  • Dalton is already expanding the use of student affinity groups in Middle and High School, and should consider formal programming at the start of each year for new and returning Black students and students of color, and their families. Anti-racist orientations for all families would be especially important at crucial transition points (Kindergarten, 4th grade, 6th grade, 9th grade).
  1. Provide child and elder care support for faculty and staff, and any families who qualify for financial aid, especially if Dalton remains primarily online due to COVID-19. Dalton should also restructure its parental leave policies for employees; rather than 6 weeks of paid leave and 6 weeks of unpaid leave, Dalton should follow the lead of companies like Netflix and offer a full year of paid leave for new parents.
  • Families with young children have lower incomes than households without children, and “for parents of color, the lower income level associated with having a young child is compounded by the broader labor market disadvantages faced by people of color.” Access to high-quality child care is essential for child development and intergenerational social mobility; it is also unaffordable to the vast majority of Americans, and especially to Black families, who have significantly less wealth on average than white families.
  1. Commit to paying all Dalton employees—especially staff and independent contractors—at minimum a living wage for New York, as calculated by MIT’s Living Wage Calculator. Ensure racial equity in the proportion of full- and part-time workers; independent contractors; faculty, staff, administration, and associate teachers; and publish information regarding the racial makeup of each of these categories every year.
  • According to the Urban Institute, “Structural racism continues to disproportionately segregate communities of color from access to opportunity and upward mobility by making it more difficult for people of color to secure quality education, jobs, housing, healthcare, and equal treatment in the criminal justice system.” Studies also suggest that Black and Hispanic employees are more likely to be concentrated in less remunerative, more precarious occupations. As part of a commitment to structural anti-racism, and to ensure all employees can live in the city in which they work, Dalton should commit to salary floors for all employees that reflect the living wage—not the minimum wage—for New York.
  1. Double individual faculty and staff professional development (PD) allotment if it is used to service student debt.
  • Student debt is both a symptom and cause of the racial wealth gap. On the day of graduation, Black college graduates owe on average $23,400—$7,400 more than their white counterparts; four years later, their average debt balloons to $53,000, twice that of their white peers. Black students in doctoral and master’s programs were also more likely to borrow money and graduate with debt. One recent study suggests that the median debt for an average Black graduate student borrower is 50% higher than that of a white graduate student borrower.
  • One of the most meaningful changes Dalton could make for the long-term financial safety of its Black faculty and staff would be to commit to paying any outstanding student debt upon employment; failing that, Dalton should double the PD allotment for employees who use the money to service student debt. We believe this would also help Dalton stand out from other schools to attract and retain top teachers.
  1. Publish the endowment investment portfolio and immediately divest from private prisons and detention centers; companies that manufacture technology, equipment or weapons for police; companies that use prison labor; the bail-bond industry; and other companies as determined by a committee of students, faculty, parents, and trustees. At least half of the committee participants should be Black.
  • In alignment with the Movement for Black Lives, Dalton should immediately divest from the “criminalizing, caging, and harming of Black people.” Marbre Stahly-Butts, Executive Director of Law for Black Lives, says that divestment and reinvestment are parts of a broader strategy to “reallocate power and resources back to our safety, back to our health, in ways that help us thrive, and don’t criminalize or dehumanize us.” For Dalton to be a structurally anti-racist institution, it must ensure that its financial resources do not contribute to ongoing dehumanization and harming of Black people. 
  1. If Dalton is unable to diversify per Proposal 5, the school should make a financial commitment to institutions that serve a student body more closely representative of New York City, and contribute 50¢ of every dollar raised via any form of fundraising to the NYC Fund for Public Schools.
  • Over 100,000 NYC public and charter school students were unhoused or housing insecure at some point in the 2018-19 school year—approximately 10% of all students. As many as 20% of children in New York City experience food insecurity, and rely on schools for meals. Dalton is in the enviable position of spending millions of dollars to enhance already-abundant opportunities for its students; most recently, the school spent at least $24 million to build the Ellen C. Stein Center for Collaborative Study. We believe that the school should redistribute a portion of its resources to support fellow New York City students, many of whom are in dire need. A commitment to “cultivating ethical, purposeful citizens of a diverse community” and structural anti-racism requires accountability and reparations for historic inequities, including those inequities that were not directly caused by Dalton. We recognize that our school exists within a broader community; good citizenship should push us to spend our privilege, support institutions that serve our neighbors, make our city livable, and safeguard our collective future.
  1. Going forward, any Black student or student of color who appears in Dalton’s promotional materials should receive reduced tuition, or be retroactively compensated the equivalent amount if they graduate before their likeness is used. Similarly, any Black student or student of color who does work or provides consultation with the school regarding anti-racist and/or DEI initiatives should receive reduced tuition. Dalton should convene a committee of students, parents, alumni, and outside consultants to determine an appropriate compensation policy. At least half of the committee participants should be Black.
  • The previous few weeks have been a stark reminder that Black students and students of color do not receive the same educational experience as their white peers. For some of these students, the benefits of attending Dalton are undermined by otherness, exclusion, and trauma. Nonetheless, Dalton relies on the presence and participation of Black students and students of color. Dalton says, “Our mission to educate students...hinges on their capacity to think critically and make ethical decisions that stem from a core belief in the value of difference, a real sense of cultural fluency, and a sincere and empathic regard for interdependence and the ways in which diversity enriches the way that we see ourselves and each other” (emphasis added). The presence of Black students and students of color affirms Dalton’s legitimacy as an appropriately multiracial, cosmopolitan, modern school; their participation is necessary for the “conscious collaboration, hard work, and dialogue” within the school. In this way, Black students and students of color make unique contributions and create value on behalf of Dalton. Just as Dalton compensates staff and faculty for the value they create for the school, it should similarly compensate Black students and students of color.

Name

Position

Alex Bertrand

8th grade math teacher, house advisor, & preceptor

Kenneth Hamilton, Jr.

House Advisor & Equity Chair

Donald Okpalugo

HS Equity Chair; History Teacher

Mark Anderson Jr.

Teacher, Equity Chair, House advisor

Tarika Coleman

Kindergarten House Advisor

Will Hummel

Director of College Counseling, House Advisor

Alicia Reid

MS and HS Science Teacher

Shahar Atary

MS/HS Science Teacher

Justine Ang Fonte

Director of Health & Wellness

Cortney Norris

MS/HS Teacher (Latin & Linguistics)

William Fisher

Teacher

Daniela Gomez Paz

Associate Teacher

Ilia Castro

DEI Office Assistant

Paula Cuello

Science Department Chair K-12 and science teacher

Parul G. Kalbag

High School History Teacher

Tao Wang

HS Math Department Chair

Crystal McCreary

Health Educator

Shobana Ram

Second Grade Head Teacher

Michael K Forbes

English Teacher/House Advisor Upper School

Nadege Casseus

Head Athletic Trainer/Physical Education Teacher

Roxanne Feldman

MS Librarian

Judy Calixto

Director of Middle School and High School Admissions

Bill Solomon

MS/HS Music Department Co-Chair

Samara Antolini

College Counselor

Josh Bachrach

8th Grade English teacher and House Advisor; Chair Middle School English

Craig Sculli

Associate Director of Stewardship and Advancement Research

Jennifer Pease

Director of Financial Aid & Assistant Director of Middle and High School Admissions

Colleen Grimes

Director of the Annual Fund

Rob Quatrone

MS Science & Engineering

Anne Lockwood

FP Art

Justin Greer

FP Performing Arts Specialist

Elissa Baim

MS Science & Health

Angelo Bove

Teacher

Juliet Baker-Samuels

Diversity Coordinator for Student Life

Nick Grasso

MS / HS Visual Art Teacher

Christy Payne

Director of Libraries and Information Services

Elizabeth Rappaport

FP Math Specialist

Chris Hood

Director of the Creative Writing Program

Natalia Malone Hernández

First Program Spanish Teacher

Stephanie Fins

Anthropologist and Museum Liaison

Amanda Hemenway

2nd Grade Teacher

Kate Chechak

Math Coordinator

Christine Leja

HS Curriculum Director of the Humanities

Danielle Braver

Learning Specialist

Megan Preis

High School Math Teacher

Joseph Quain

MS Librarian

Glenn Makos

Music

Sarah Dunitz

High School History Teacher

Catherine Edwards

8th Grade Teacher

Randi Sloan

HS Curriculum Director of the Arts

Elizabeth Brizzolara

High School Curriculum Director of STEM

Blake Pearson

Dance, House, Peer Leadership

Jocelyn Russell

First Program Visual Art Teacher

Johanna Braff

Middle School and High School Teacher

Jessica Joiner

Science Research Coordinator

Zach Terrell

8th Grade Eng / HA

Jasmine Bensky

HS Math Teacher & House Advisor

Sarah Appleman

First Grade House Advisor

David Harvey

High school mathematics teacher

Marly Bresler

Kindergarten Associate Teacher

Athena Decker

First Grade Associate Teacher

Morgan Pile

High School Preceptor

Meg Zeder

Theater and Art Teacher

Michelle Marcus

Art HIstorian and Museum Liaison

Laura Zanes

FP Art

Rachel Pellegrini

5th Grade Head Teacher & House Advisor

Mara Naaman

HS English Teacher/House Advisor

Lori Langer de Ramirez

Director, World and Classical Language Department

Susie Ott

Assistant Director of Admissions/MS/HS; Financial Aid Coordinator; HS House Advisor

Janet Chinelli

FP Music Teacher

Deborah Reilly

Kindergarten House Advisor

Evie Harrison

MS/HS Science Teacher

Elizabeth Cruz

Chorus Teacher- Co-Department Chair

Terria Meyer

FP Art Teacher

Alexandra Nakos

2nd Grade House Advisor

Terrill Caplan

HS Assistant Dean of Students

Tobi Fineberg

High School Librarian

Hope Donovan

First Program Science Teacher

Sarah Kerman

HS English Chair, Faculty Association President

Ryan Brennan

HS Science Teacher

Debora Tascher

FP Psychologist

Colleen Cumberpatch

Kindergarten Associate

Dave Morgan

Music Teacher

Nancy Silber

FP Music

Hyun Davidson

MS Science Teacher

Jess Emory

HS Math

Melanie Wassmuth

HS Science Teacher

Tracy Christopher

MS/HS French Teacher

Courtney Dennis

MS Science Teacher

David Lindo

HS Science Teacher

Andrea Velasquez

Associate Director of College Counseling

Jamie Levin

House Advisor

Matthew Williams

8th Grade Social Studies and House Advisor

Judith Geller

House Advisor (HS)

Douglas Berns

Community Service Coordinator/Afterschool instructor

Nicole Smith

College Office Assistant

Joanne Guzman

Physical Education Teacher and Athletics Coach

Tom Armstrong

MS/HS CS Chair

Liz Fiore

MS Preceptor

Erica Lee

2nd grade house advisor

Erica Lynch

FP Reading Specialist

Lillian S. Redl

High School Preceptor

Tammy Logan

Teacher

Neil Goldberg

Archaeologist in Residence

Kate Quinn

FP Reading Specialist

Nicholas Lechich

Assistant Director of the High School and Dean of Students

Christine Nassar

First Program Librarian

Linda Hanauer

Art Teacher, MS and HS

Ellen Stavitsky

MS & HS Art teacher

Mira Gelley

MS + HS Visual Art Chair, HS House Advisor

Malcolm Fenton

Science Teacher

Phillip Scaringi

Associate Teacher

Kristie Guiliano

Educational Technologist

Ashley Shaheen

3rd Grade House Advisor

Charles Forster Stewert

Interdisciplinary Project Coordinator

Sloan Warren

Director of In-person Programming

Jake Henin

First Program Science Associate

Joaquin Ramsey

High School Chemistry Teacher

Erik Romano

FP Science Associate Teacher

Ali Fleming

Middle School Math Preceptor