Cory Davis

Pulaski Academy - January 2023

Cory Davis
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January, 2023

THIS PETITION HAS BEEN CLOSED AND SUBMITTED TO THE PA BOARD OF TRUSTEES ON JANUARY 9, 2023 AT 8AM. ALL ANONYMOUS SIGNATURES AND COMMENTS WERE REMOVED PRIOR TO SUBMITTAL.


***CURRENT PA PARENTS ONLY FOR SIGNATURES PLEASE**

Pulaski Academy Board of Trustees:

The following is a petition signed by parents of students at Pulaski Academy who have lost confidence in the leadership ability of our Head of School, Brock Dunn, and Head of Upper School, Susannah Livingston. The reasons for this loss of confidence include:

• Ms. Livingston’s education philosophies as reflected in the quotes and writings identified below.

• Either a) Mr. Dunn’s failure to properly vet Ms. Livingston’s education philosophies prior to hiring her as Head of Upper School; or, b) Mr. Dunn knew of Ms. Livingston’s education philosophies prior to hiring her, which, at the very least, constitutes a constructive endorsement of those philosophies.

• The restructuring of curriculum and testing, including the phasing out of final exams and AP classes, and the failure to provide adequate (or, arguably, any) explanation to parents or students why such changes are being considered/implemented. In other words, a lack of transparency.

Not only have these acts resulted in a loss of confidence on the part of the undersigned, but there is a reasonable basis to believe that faculty morale, especially in the Upper School, is at an all-time low. There is also a reasonable basis to believe that any attempt by faculty or administrators to challenge leadership on any issue is met with stern resistance or the threat of termination. This is not right. We support the teachers, administrators and coaches who have made Pulaski Academy the superior institution that it has been for nearly fifty years.

Considering the foregoing, we demand immediate removal of both Brock Dunn and Susannah Livingston from their current positions at Pulaski Academy. While we recognize the significance of such a request, we feel it is warranted under the circumstances.

Finally, to underscore the concerns regarding the educational philosophies of Ms. Livingston and Mr. Dunn, we urge you to please read the following:

Livingston, S. E. (2019). THE MASTER’S TOOLS. Critical Pedagogy in Independent Schools as a Means of Battling Educational Determinism. 1-13. (https://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/download/1734/1326)

Livingston, S. E. (2022). The Politics of Liberation and Love in Privileged Classrooms. Rethinking Critical Pedagogy,3(1)1-35(http://www.criticaleducationnetwork.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/RCP_Feb2022_SusannahE.Livingston.pdf)

Many of the philosophies and comments expressed in these writings are in direct contravention to educational philosophies we desire our children to be taught. The following quotes represent a small sample of the overall content of these writings:

“We must never forget to include all children regardless of the socioeconomics of their parents and backgrounds—in critical dialogue and liberatory praxis, for the deterministic nature of education can liberate these children from the ignorance in which they will most likely end up trapped if they are allowed to continue learning in their current hegemonically oppressive, elitist, and dehumanizing environments.” Livingston, 2022.

“Critical pedagogy for students of privilege seeks to liberate children of the elites from their unique types of bondage, strives to heal them from the sickness of their isolation, and empower them to be able to connect with others” Livingston, 2022.

“If we believe that there is an overall pressing and immediate need for critical education, it becomes necessary for private school teachers to become guerilla-educators as we attempt to circumvent the educational system in which so many of our students are trapped. This is done by chipping away at this system from the inside…” Livingston, 2022.

“Private school critical pedagogy provides the opportunity for the master’s tools to help dismantle the master’s house.” Livingston, 2019.

If the Board desires additional information related to this petition, we would welcome an open forum meeting with the Board. And, if the Board desired, Ms. Livingston and Mr. Dunn would be welcome to attend and participate.

Parents of Pulaski Academy

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