Act 1 created the Ethnic and Social Equity Standards Advisory Working Group on March 29, 2019. The Working Group is tasked with reviewing existing education standards, rules, policies, and curriculum at the state and local level on the basis of providing more “equitable” learning for ethnic and social groups. Act 1 was passed by the House, Senate and then signed by the Governor on March 29, 2019. Not one single vote by either house was made against the Act as currently adopted.

Creation of the Ethnic and Social Equality Standards Working Group

(c)  Creation and composition.  The Ethnic and Social Equity Standards Advisory Working Group is established.  The Working Group shall comprise the following 20 members:

(1)  10 members who are members of, and represent the interests of, ethnic groups and social groups, two of whom shall be high school students;  

(2)  a Vermont-based, college-level faculty expert in ethnic studies;

(3)  the Secretary of Education or designee;

(4)  the Executive Director of the Vermont-National Education Association or designee;

(5)  the Executive Director of Racial Equity or designee; 

(6)  the Executive Director of the Vermont School Boards Association or designee; 

(7)  a representative for the Vermont Principals’ Association with expertise in the development of school curriculum;

(8)  a representative for the Vermont Curriculum Leaders Association; 

(9)  the Executive Director of the Vermont Superintendents Association or designee; 

(10)  the Executive Director of the Vermont Independent Schools Association or designee; and

(11)  the Executive Director of the Vermont Human Rights Commission or designee.


Since forming, the group has renamed themselves to the Education Justice Coalition of Vermont. They describe themselves as “a multicultural and multigenerational group” comprised of “people of color from various racial and ethnic groups, anti-poverty, disability rights advocates, and LGBTQIA advocates.” The group does not attempt to hide it, these members are advocates and activists seeking to transform Vermont schools speaking about “collective liberation” for certain groups. Lets look at the members and see just how truly lacking this group is in terms of diversity.

Group Members

Asma Elhuni (Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity In Schools)

(Asma Elhuni left)

Elhuni is the Director at Rights & Democracy, a staunch activist, and a Georgia State University graduate with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. There are numerous articles, easily accessible by search engine, that highlights Elhuni’s activism, political motivations and affiliations.

Barbara Marden (Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools)

Bruce Pandya (Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools – Student Representative)

Cynthia Reyes (Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools)

Celilo Bauman-Swain (Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools – Student Representative)

Infinite Culcleasure (Vermont Coalition of Ethnic and Social Equity In Schools)

Infinite (formerly Percy) Culcleasure ran for Mayer of Burlington as an Independent and Socialist in 2017. At that time he addressed his prior felony conviction of a VT Digger commentary, titled “Infinite Culcleasure: Redemption in an oppressive racist culture”. He leaves out that he was convicted and pled guilty to distributing cocaine.

Mara Iverson (Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools)

Iverson is a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Trainer operating her own business since late 2021. She has been teaching adults and children about anti-racism, anti-colonialism, implicit-bias and other topics for over a decade, reaching over 10,000 people.

Miakoda Schultz (Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools)

Schultz is also the leader of the Town of Bennington Democratic Party and a member of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union’s Educational Equity in Practice Committee.

The coalition wasn’t looking for people with advanced degrees but rather ones who were passionate about equity in education and connected to their communities. attributed to kiah morris (Director of Vermont Coalition on Ethnic and Social equity in schools)

Maxwell Barrows (Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools – Abenaki Representative)

Barrows is the Outreach Director Green Mountain Self-Advocates, a program which helps to empower those with developmental disabilities.

Vera Sheehan (Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools – Abenaki Representative)

Amanda Lucia Garces (Vermont Human Rights Commission Designee)

Garces provided testimony to the Senate Education Committees with respects to Bill H.3. Here are some quotes:

I had read the reports of the pervasive racism in Vermont schools, I heard of the sadness of friends [sic] whose kid came home from kinder [sic] with drawing of little white people because they did not have the color crayons of their kid’s skin color, and I was nervous about my kid’s education.

H.3 Amanda Garces Testimony

I saw light when I read the news that Oregon had passed House Bill 2845, directing the Oregon Department of Education to convene advisory groups to develop ethnic-studies standards into existing statewide social-studies standards. I began the work of meeting with many of the individuals and organization working on racial justice issues. The Oregon bill also included the LGBTIQA and Disability lens so I also started to reach out to those groups.

H.3 Amanda Garces Testimony

Garces somewhat entertainingly side steps the discussion on adding religious protections to H.3, unsurprisingly due to controversies within her coalition with regards to anti-Semitism. Admittedly her take is somewhat more nuanced than portrayed, but we leave it in the readers hands to explore.

Amber Wylie (Vermont Independent Schools Association Designee)

Bonnie Johnson-Aten (Vermont Principals’ Association Designee)

Not only does Johnson-Aten have years of experience as a DEI Coordinator for the Burlington School District she also facilitates the Affinity Group for Vermont Administrators of Color, which “provides an opportunity for BIPOC administrators, working in predominantly white schools to come together and share experiences, learn from and support each other through our triumphs and challenges. The sharing of stories, experiences, ideas, successes and lots of laughter, provide a place for healing and growth that allows for racial equity transformation.

Chelsea Myers (Vermont Superintendents Association Designee)

Heather Bouchey (Secretary of the Agency of Education Designee)

Heather Lynn (Vermont School Boards Association Designee)

Michael Martin (Vermont Curriculum Leaders Association Representative)

Michael Martin works at the Rowland Foundation. From the Rowland Foundation’s philosophy page “The Foundation believes that systemic change, the kind that can alter a school’s culture and enhance its climate for learning, is derived from visionary leadership within the school. It cannot be mandated by top down attempts at school reform from Montpelier or through federal legislation.” Ironic.

Natasha Eckart-Banning (Vermont-National Education Association Designee)

Besides her obsession with Black vs White history in lieu of American History, she was an active participant in the Montpelier Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020.

Xusana Davis (Executive Director of Vermont Racial Equity Task Force)

Mark Hage (Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools)

Hage’s anti-Israel stance would like garner enough attention to preclude him from this group if it was any other ethnicity on the plant.


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