While school districts across Texas come under fire for spending thousands of taxpayer dollars for employees to learn radical gender theory and divisive racial ideologies, the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) held a week-long conference featuring sessions promoting Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Earlier this year, the ASCA directed thousands of school counselors to the Austin Convention Center for their annual “No Limits” conference. The association provided a pre-written “justification letter” for teachers to send to their school administrators and ask them to pay for the registration fee and travel costs with taxpayer dollars.

Registration fees ranged from $259 for a one-day-only pass to $659 for a nonmember. However, a badge only provided access to the conference’s programming and did not cover meals, hotel fees, or other travel expenses, which school districts typically fund.

Conference attendees listened to presentations on topics relevant to school counselors, including breakout sessions on Social Emotional Learning and CRT. The event’s Opening General Session explained “Education Equity” and “what it is, why all students deserve it and how school counselors can set their schools and districts on a path toward true equity.”

Another breakout session entitled “Address the Whiteness Culture in School Counseling” compared the 71 percent of school counselors who “identify” as white with the 50 percent of non-white students and instructed counselors to implement an “antiracist action plan” in their school districts:

These racial demographics often create a cultural mismatch, which can affect how school counselors serve racially marginalized students… school counselors, school counselor educators, and researchers need to shift their lens from gaps to the systemic barriers that create them. Systemic barriers are often rooted in the culture of whiteness, so it’s important to examine your beliefs and practices to develop an anti-racist action plan for your work.

The ASCA conference also hosted a session explaining “microaggressions” and how school counselors “can repair the harm when microaggressions occur.”

“School counselors must know and understand the detrimental impact microaggressions have on students, families and even staff of color,” reads the session description. “Many are subjected to these harmful messages daily, be it intentional or unintentional, and they must be interrupted. Learn how to navigate the harm of microaggressions and advocate for those in your school community by using the 3 R’s: recognize, respond, and repair.”

Social media users shared slides from one breakout session discussing “What does it mean to be White?” The presentation included statements like “White folks see themselves reflected in every area of society deemed ‘normal, neutral, or prestigious,'” and described “whiteness” as “dominant and pervasive in our society.”

Outside of their annual conference, the ASCA offers Affinity Group Zoom meetings for “School Counselors of Color” and “LGBTQ+ School Counselors,” which divide individuals into groups based on race and other “identities.” Additionally, the organization hosts webinars and programs for school counselors to complete professional development requirements.

The ASCA is planning its next annual conference for July 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Concerned parents and citizens can contact their local school district to find out if they plan to send employees to the ASCA conference with taxpayer dollars.

Katy Drollinger

Katy is eager to use her skills in writing and research to accurately report on issues for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.

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