JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (KSNT) – Some Kansas parents are expressing concern over their children having to take the Implicit Bias Test.
A mother in Junction City says she is worried about the Kansas Board of Education’s ability to choose curriculum for her children. This is after her daughter’s social studies teacher assigned her class to take the Implicit Bias Test.
Harvard University conducts the test to measure a person’s association between concepts and stereotypes. The researchers use this data to reveal someone’s hidden or subconscious biases. The study starts by asking for your race and ethnicity. But as it goes on, the questions become more targeted.
“I started doing it, and the further I got along, the further the race comes into it,” said Kylie Allmon, a junior at Junction City High School.
“These questions were, in my opinion, it seemed like they were pitting whites and Blacks against each other because no other races were asked at all in the questions,” said Lissa Allmon, Kylie’s mom.
Some of the questions ask, “Do Black people tend to be patriotic or do they tend to be unpatriotic” or “rate Black people on a scale of how lazy or hardworking you think they are.”
The Geary County USD 475 school superintendent says that this is a way for students to examine their own thought processes.
“This was just an activity that the teacher used as a survey that is not graded or disseminated,” said Dr. Reginald Eggleston, USD 475 superintendent. “It just gives students an opportunity to look at their own implicit or explicit biases.”
Kylie says she was shocked and confused when she read the questions, even skipping some of the prompts because of how they made her feel.
“I read these questions, and I was like, ‘how do I answer these for myself considering that I’m half African-American and half white’,” Kylie said. “I didn’t know how to answer it because I felt like I get to pick and choose one or the other, like what do I identify as.”
Kylie shared pictures of the test with her mom, who also didn’t like what she was seeing.
“Those questions just, they are not meant for 16-year-old juniors in a U.S. History class,” Lissa said.
She took her frustration to the Junction City high school principal, who informed her, this study was approved and follows the state curriculum.
“It’s not something that just create on our own,” Eggleston said. “We may help teachers with resources, but we make sure that we follow the standards that have been approved and implemented throughout the entire state.”
Eggleston says that he has set up a meeting with the Teaching and Learning Department to assess this and other surveys that may be controversial. He says this instance will play a role in how the school selects surveys to use in the classrooms, and the school does not want people to “misinterpret their actions or intentions as they move forward.”