What is the Glasgow Group?
The Glasgow Group, a limited liability corporation, is a consortium of consultants “providing skills, tools, and experiences through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion that enhance and deepen schools’, organizations’ and individuals’ capacity for transformation”. They offer advice, and leadership programs to elite private (“independent”) schools across the country. Many of their members concurrently hold administrative positions at these independent schools. President Rodney Glasgow was recently in the news for comparing parents who voice concerns about neo-racism in schools to the January 6th Capitol rioters.
At the recent May 2021 webinar “Navigating DEI in a Divided Landscape”, hosted by ISM: Independent School Management, members of the Glasgow Group discussed how to respond to parents who are pushing back against programming and curriculum that are deeply infused with neo-racism and critical pedagogy. FAIR has obtained several clips from this seminar that illustrate the institutional capture and entitlement that consultancies like the Glasgow Group have with respect to the governing authorities of their client schools. Throughout the seminar, these professionals frequently dismiss the concerns of parents, explicitly talk about excluding parents that disagree, and how best to manipulate the Board of Trustees–all while keeping them isolated from the conflicts generated by divisive agendas. These consultants even arrogate the right to decide who is allowed to become a Trustee–at the same schools that are paying for their services.
We hope publishing excerpts from seminars like these will give concerned parents a chance to “see behind the curtain” and get a glimpse of how these consultants are planning to double down on their agendas in the upcoming school year.
Why do independent schools seek out consultants like The Glasgow Group?
Elite independent schools pay consultants like those in the Glasgow Group to help them comply with the rules set by NAIS: The National Association of Independent Schools, whose approved accreditors set standards for more than 1,600 top schools.
These standards are outlined in the “Principles of Good Practice” that schools must adhere to in order to maintain accreditation. Many of these principles (particularly those in the “Equity and Justice” section) sound good in principle but are often implemented with neo-racist theory and pedagogy.
The article “Why Private Schools Have Gone Woke” by Aaron Sibarium explains the complex relationship—described as a ‘cartel’—among the NAIS accrediting bodies, elite schools, and consultants. Accrediting organizations approved by NAIS in all major markets insist that “diversity practice” be “an organic part of every area of School life.” When schools are periodically evaluated, they are consistently told they should adopt race essentialist practices like segregated “affinity groups”.
That’s where consultancies like Pollyanna, Inc. and The Glasgow Group come in. Organizations like these are featured in the NAIS Community Market, which “provides a space where NAIS supporters who are experts in their fields can provide solutions to different challenges that independent schools may be facing”. Their stated goal is to “transform communities” (Glasgow Group) and “advance systemic change through programs that enhance cultural competency, racial literacy and equity practices” (Pollyanna, Inc.).
Video clips from the ISM webinar: “Navigating DEI in a Divided Landscape”
Ted Fluck (Executive Director of Independent School Management) and Rodney Glasgow (President of The Glasgow Group and Head of School at Sandy Spring Friends in MD) discuss what to do when the Board of Trustees is “in the way”.
Rev. Loris Adams (Director of Equity and Community Life, The Hewitt School, NY) talks with Rodney Glasgow about interrogating “who has access to positions”, training them on “dominant fragility” through a “social identity lens”–and keeping the board away from the day-to-day operations of the school.
Rohan M. Arjun (Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid, Friends Select, PA) says schools should be OK with board members, parents, and employees deciding to leave as a result of schools’ “doing this work”.
Rodney Glasgow says that “the upset that we’re seeing is because we’re doing the work” and if “you’re not hitting resistance, you’re not changing the system”.
Yvonne Adams (Director of Equity and Inclusion at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, TX), recognizes that “it’s not just white conservatives, we have folks of color…balking at this work as well”. She also proposes addressing the question “how did they get in here?” by “eliminating who’s coming through and being part of your community”
John Gentile (Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at The Calhoun School, NY) discusses how he convinces parents to accept the program of “equity work”. He raises the prospect to parents of their children getting expelled from college in order to gain their compliance.
Regarding parents who want to maintain a more traditional curriculum, Yvonne Adams wonders “who deemed these classics?”
Rev. Loris Adams advises practitioners to interrogate “where the money resides” and the fiscal power of client institutions, before worrying about losing parents and students.