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. 


  1. "To address past mistakes and obviate future harms, we must be willing to take the necessary steps to fundamentally transform our institution." Sounds like a demand to me.

  2. "Anti-racism" = Anti-white
    "Anti-racism" = non-whites can't be racist
    "Anti-racism" = Whites can't be victims of racism when raped/killed
    "Anti-racism" = Falsely claim that whites run the media and the banks
    "Anti-racism" = Encourage any and all non-white ethnic nationalism
    "Anti-racism" = Support the radical and rapid demographic replacement/ethnic cleansing of every white majority country
    "Anti-racism = Shut down any defense of the preservation of white people and their cultures.

  3. A nit. In his email, Best misuses the word "proscribed" which means to forbid. He means "prescribed which means to recommend. Odd that the Head of School gets that wrong.

    1. "erroneously mischaracterized," which is a redundancy, would also be disappointing to see in a letter from a headmaster, but the letter likely was written by a consultant

    2. Not that odd, considering the quality of graduates from the last 30 or so years. And dint ta' know, grammar is racist?

    3. If Jim best and the admin are just learning about this now then were they sleeping for the last few months when 120 faculty wrote this and signed it and no one knew ?? Seriously. You fucking hid it from all parents and hoped you could dispense of it by pulling the wool over all of our eyes when you would capitulate to these horrid demands. Shame on you Jim Best. Shame on Dalton. All parents should ban together and withhold tuition until answers are provided.

    4. Beat me to it. Is he REALLY the best man for that job, if I, a simple, deplorable, high school grad, knew that, and he did not?

  4. What the blog post does get right, albeit unintentionally, is the spirit of intellectual debate that uniquely defines our community.

    'Uniquely'? Is there a school administrator in America who isn't a purveyor of humbug? (Or do they all hire crisis communications firms using the same paint-by-numbers manual?).

    1. Not only that, but if "the spirit of intellectual debate" (true intellectual debate) is unique to Dalton, we have a very serious problem in this country. And we do. Just go onto social media and present a courteously-crafted dissenting opinion, and see what happens. The explosions of hatred you will get from supposedly "normal" people are frightening.

      I had a friend who said "Why do you talk to those people? You'll never change their minds." What she didn't understand was that I wasn't trying to change their minds. I was trying to diagnose what has gone wrong in this country. Naivete, a severe lack of experience, an unquestioning belief in everything they read or see, and a strong tendency to jump to conclusions all play a part, especially when added to the impersonality of social media. But what is most disturbing is how these people feel about thinking. There is an actual disdain for it, which explains the comfort some of these social media "exploders" appear to get from indoctrination. Jung put it well when he said "Thinking is difficult, so most people judge."

      By the way, thanks for using the word "humbug." If there were ever a word that should see a revival, it's that one.

  5. 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.

    The suburban high school I attended 40 years ago functioned satisfactorily by having a common set of behavioral and academic standards. The blacks in the student body weren't any more discontented than any other segment of the student population. They didn't need your 'diversity, inclusion, equity' wheel-spinning then and any children they have attending school today do not need it now. The only people who need it are people expecting political patronage from it.

    What students actually benefit from is a faculty which can design a sensible curriculum; teachers who know how to lecture, draw up examinations, and evaluate submissions; and a dean of students who is unintimidated by trouble-makers and their wretched parents. Achieving these ends is actually injured if you hire zero-marginal-product employees to pester and hector students and faculty.

    If you were a serious person leading a serious school, your institution would be inner-directed and in the business of promoting knowledge. You wouldn't be particular about the properties of your student body so long as their families could generate a satisfactory revenue stream, so long as they were willing and able to show ordinary courtesy and self-discipline so a teacher could get his job done, and so long as each of those admitted had the necessary absorptive capacity to keep pace with the rest of the students. That's it.

    1. @ArtDeco, you're absolutely correct.

    2. Succinctly stated. Americans quietly are getting tired of this political nonsense. And I am quite sure black students and minorities with any color are getting exhausted and insulted by being picked up as a political football. White people need to stop being guilted into being saviors of people who don't need help but complain non the less because their feelings control their life. Narcissists should find a different supply... but they won't. Our real societal issue is class. And yes in the lower class it is predominately ethnic minorities. Our politicians throw in race when they don't want us to see the widening class divide which affects most Americans. Solve poverty and fatherlessness ( possibly one in the same problem) and color and class will lessen as an issue. Look at the upper classes and wealthy. They could care less about middleclass racial and tribal politics but they have to live in the soulless squalor of it so they marginally help. But seriously, who wants to jump into that cesspool of idiocy. This is why Clause Schwab and the global elites of the World Exonomic Forum are orchestrating a global governance of technocrats, billionaires, and aristocrats. They probably just cant take our sniveling stupidity any longer. So they will offer us some sort of Lennin,Mao, Marxist kind of social utopia to shut us up.
      LmG- independent multiethnic proud American
      P.S. BTW I tell my kids the very best country to be disrespected or expected in is the USA. All of us should think about that.

  6. Did Best's rebuttal actual start with the classic trope of the "Cancel Culture" (or should it be spelled: "Kancel Kulture"? i.e. the tactic of trying to discredit and distract in writing?) FYI, this is a sarcastic, rhetorical question; of course he did, and it was a clumsy effort, in my opinion.)

    "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."

    Me thinks Mr. Best doth protest too much, and I wonder why he has to revisit how they teach at Dalton, and if they have, in fact, been teaching "systemic racism...(Highly doubtful in my opinion.)

    Perhaps he needs to be seen embracing the whole NY Times 1619 Project, despite its now discredited authorship and research attributions.

    Yeah, that's it, pander to the No Nothings and Nincompoops who cannot be bothered to actually formulate an argument with cited scholarly references and examples that delineate examples of systemic racism, especially since the progressive changes that have occurred in this country since the 50's and the rise of the Civil Rights movement.

    It would seem that the emperor of Dalton, cloaked in his righteous robes of purity and elite cologne of self-righteousness, is in fact standing in the middle of a pigsty of his own making, wearing in fact nothing but his off-white skivvies and stinking of porcine effluent...

  7. Commitment to Anti-Racism

    Why is that the school's architectonic mission? The term 'racism' has been completely drained of force and meaning over more than 50 years and there are worse problems in our society than person A having a rude or uncharitable disposition toward person B.

  8. People with money/the benefactors will leave the school, then what?
    Those who can afford $54K a year tuition have more choices than most.
    What happens if the parents pack up and leave their jobs in NYC?
    If you do move, please, I beg you, please don't go elsewhere and elect more diBlasio's, Cuomo's, Schumers and AOC's.
    Thanks from a guy who was born in Brooklyn and left years ago.

  9. "Head of School" Jim Best sounds like someone I would cross the street to avoid speaking with. I love what I take to be Dalton's motto, "to go forth unafraid". That motto needs an asterisk and a footnote: "except when there is a virus with a 99.99% survivability rate - then we'll be zooming from home."

    1. He sounds like somebody who should move to the Bronx or Lagos and observe his beloved pets in their natural habitat for a couple weeks.

    2. 98.99% survivability rate ... so clearly you know nobody who got very sick or passed away. Congrats. For the rest of us, it’s quite clear how one can “go forth unafraid” but still be smart about this.

  10. Here's a video Jimmy can add to his anti-racist curriculum:

  11. WHAT “racial injustice?” Is the “Dalton Community” responding to?

    One in their imagination?

    So far it appears that a convicted criminal imprisoned for his violent behavior, ODed.

    Shouldnt Dalton wait for an authoritative determination before turning itself into a school for retarded staff and students?

  12. What Jim Best fails to realize is that what the Naked Dollar has done may potential save the Dalton School from imploding. Just like evil is the privation of good, wokeness is the privation of wisdom.

  13. Schools are progressive places? This is shocking news. Quickly someone alert the press... Zzzzz

  14. The list of teachers who signed the letter I believe is 80% female. This is a woman's movement. Look at the front lines of every BLM/Antifa protest - all women. No cop is gonna push back against a woman screaming in their face. Might as well put infants on the front lines.

    1. About 70% by my account. It's a K-12 school. If their primary school faculty is like the average primary school faculty, > 90% are female. If their secondary school faculty is like the average, > 50% are female. I'd wager the faculty in general is about 70% female. I don't think men v. women is a strong vector here.

  15. It’s poignant that raw common sense has to scurry to the anonymous recesses of the Internet in order to survive the purge of these Equalicist progressives.

    Like mammals, common sense can never be eradicated. It will only flourish and all those having sold out to subscribe to this Classist gobbledygook gook will have to face the rest of us for their transgressions, as they once tried to do to us.

  16. Parents pay through the nose to send their kids to a Dalton because they want the best shot at getting into a Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. Princeton's not going to be taking as many kids from Dalton once Dalton eliminates all advanced courses because black kids don't perform equally to white kids in those classes, as demanded in the manifesto.

  17. Here's a little feedback by a native Spanish speaker who arrived in the US at 15:

    The suburban High School I attended over 50 years ago was well run, we had regular and advanced or honor classrooms for higher performance students. I struggled my first semester because my English skills were weak, something I remedied by attending the "English for Immigrants" course they taught at the same school in the evenings.

    Once I learned the ropes and how the school system worked, I studied very hard to raise my grades, and decided to only work weekends to have the time to study after school and do my homework during the week.

    By the end of my second year I had almost straight A's, and started applying to get into honors courses. This was somewhat difficult because the slots were usually reserved for students who were moving up the honor course chain from grade to grade. So by May I was told I had qualified for honors math (I had a perfect score in Math that year, therefore it was difficult to keep me out)...but I was denied entry into Honors Science. My very honest school counselor explained there was intense pressure and lobbying by parents who wanted their children to attend prestigious schools, and I, as an immigrant whose parents lacked connections, would have to show more to break through. She advised I take a couple of tests I had to pay for, which I took that summer, and in which I did very well. That August my kid sister arrived in the US, so I went to see the counselor to discuss my case and sign her up (my mother spoke poor English and my dad had stayed behind). My case was resolved easy, because I had the grades, had done well in those tests, and two students with honor slots had moved out. My sister's counselor however refused to put her in any normal courses, while I had suggested she take honors Spanish V (to pump her grades) and honors science and math. Bottom line, by then I had was much more aggressive and threatened to go to the school board and the local newspaper to complain if my sister didn't get her I won the argument, she graduated in the top 5% of her class, got her PhD in Biochemistry and married another PhD.

    I also graduated in the top 5%, had the school's highest combined SATs and was recruited by two Ivy League schools, but didn't have the money even though they offered me partial scholarships, and graduated from a public university (the family took a joint decision we would have me go cheap and my sister would have everybody pitch in for her PhD).

    In the past it was definitely advantageous to be politically plugged in, have influence and the time, environment, and social pressure to excel. However, this has changed and today some minorities are given preference, coddled, and allowed to graduate with mediocre grades. Then we are supposed to offer them jobs to "enhance diversity". This actually hurts their performance and teaches them to behave exactly like the rich kids whose parents get them into schools as legacies. This evolving system is rotten and will lead to much lower performance of society as a whole. This is why we should vote Republican even though some of them are real idiots.

  18. Fernando - thanks for your story, and congratulations on your and your sister's achievements. 40-odd years ago I was lucky enough to have middle-class parents who offered to send me to high school at an elite boarding school with very selective admissions because they felt it might give me a better education and a better chance to get into a top college - both of which ended up being the case. There were rich kids whose only qualification for being there was rich parents who bought their way in, there were middle class kids like me whose parents managed to fund the best education they could for their kids, and there were poor kids who were on financial aid and cleaned classrooms in the evening as part of their aid packages. Nobody stigmatized anyone based on color, economic status, or anything else, and there were quite a few minority students who were simply normal kids like anyone else and were well integrated into social circles. There were normal classes, advanced classes, and remedial classes for those who needed some additional help in a subject - and there were minority students in all three categories. All students were treated equally regardless of race, color, ethnicity, whatever - what mattered was your achievement and performance, no preferences or discrimination for anyone, and extra help was always available for anyone who needed a boost to achieve their potential. I agree that giving preferences and coddling people just reinforces stereotypes by suggesting certain people can't succeed without special preferences. What is getting lost is that there's a difference between providing help (like test prep, remedial classes, etc.) to give disadvantaged people the tools they need to perform their best and achieve their full potential and not be held back by lack of access to those tools, in other words making sure they have what they need to succeed on their own merit, versus promoting people just on their minority status in the name of "equality". Tailor the demands and programs to make sure that smart, hard working but disadvantaged people aren't held back by their circumstances and are able to do what they are capable of doing, but don't mindlessly promote and coddle those who cannot meet the performance standards even with the support they need. That hurts everyone, and that's the difference. And by the way, the school I went to is no longer as academically great as it was then (one third of my graduating class went to Ivy League schools), because it has been diluted and sidetracked from its single-minded academic focus to instead promote diversity, social justice, etc. Students are no longer admitted based on academic potential but rather quotas and "diverse experiences."

    Sorry for the long ramble, but this all bothers me a lot. I guess my point is that I strongly support special help for disadvantaged people OF ALL COLORS (black, white, brown, red, yellow, or even green) to help them achieve their own potential based on their own makeup, but then it's up to them to reach their potential themselves on their own merit without being advanced based on a quota. Not everyone is the same, and we need to stop pretending everyone is. Advanced courses are just that - advanced courses for the smartest and best students who may achieve great things if given the right education, and we should NOT be eliminating those classes for any reason whatsoever. BUT we also certainly should be making sure that nobody who has a mind capable of doing that kind of work is held back from doing it because they don't have access to the tools to help them achieve their potential - or because those classes have been eliminated in the name of "equality."