School District Shells Out Nearly Half a Million Dollars for an Anti-Racism Audit to Produce Academic 'Equitable Outcomes'

Anja Niedringhaus

 

School isn’t exactly a land of singular scores. In fact, one might say differentiation is the very nature of grades — you get…graded.

But maybe that’s racist, and someone needs to nip it in the bud.

In Maryland, as I observed last month, they’re trying.

And now, The Washington Free Beacon confirms the state’s Montgomery County Schools will pull the trigger on $454,680 to fix the fluke.

That cool nearly-half-mil will go to one-year contract-winner Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, which’ll perform an anti-racist audit on the district.

The probe will look deep into the association’s hiring practices, culture, and curriculum pre-kingergarten through 12 grade.

A Tuesday memo from Superintendent Jack R. Smith laid it out:

The Anti-racist Audit will provide an opportunity to examine our systems, practices, and policies that do not create access, opportunities, and equitable outcomes for every student’s academic and social emotional well-being. Furthermore, the audit will provide the opportunity to examine not only the student experience; it presents the occasion to analyze policies and practices that impact staff, as well. Therefore, we will engage in a systemwide audit to examine the following areas: Workforce Diversity, Work Conditions, K–12 Curriculum Review, Equity Achievement Framework Progress, Community Relations and Engagement, and Evaluation of School Cultures.

A few thoughts:

  • It’s not within a school’s ability to create a sense of social well-being equitably within every child who takes classes there. That’s for family and the individual to figure out.
  • It’s absolutely within a school’s ability to produce equitable academic outcomes for each student: Just give everyone an A+ in all things. Easy peasy.

That’ll be $454,680, please.

But Mid-Atlantic beat me to it, and they’ve got their own website — which describes the mission thusly:

MAEC envisions a day when all students have equitable opportunities to learn and achieve at high levels.

Do they want equitable outcome, or equitable opportunity? In its memo, the district championed the former.

Moving on, here’s the Consortium’s stated Theory of Change:

MAEC believes that by increasing educator awareness, understanding, and skills to address factors which contribute to inequities, clients will become change agents and create positive learning environments where all students can succeed. Our theory is based on a deep analysis of root causes of racial, cultural, linguistic, gender, and ethnic inequities in education. Current structural, cultural, and material policies and procedures impede low-income, African American, and Latino students (including English Learners) from achieving in school.

The Beacon notes MAEC has partnered with such groups as the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Tolerance” arm, which informs kindergarteners of slavery in the United States.

And despite a push for even grades, when it comes to the revolution, the numbers don’t have to add up: The large-ticket item of anti-racism’s being purchased despite an anticipated budget cut of up to $155 million.

Compared to last year, the district’s enrollment is reportedly down by more than 2000, which will decrease its guaranteed government funding.

Per the Free Beacon, Montgomery County’s punishingly high pocket punch will be the largest such investment yet.

By contrast — and as I covered in October, when the county announced it would be seeking an audit — in nearby Virginia, Loudoun County coughed up $422,500 over two years for “equity training inspired by critical race theory, which claims racism is intrinsic to nearly every aspect of American life.”

And in case you need it, here’s a quick anti-racism brush-up, courtesy of CNN:

Being anti-racist means more than ridding yourself of racist attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. It means you’re also actively fighting that reprehensible trinity as it manifests in your life on a daily basis.

Donating to activist organizations and protesting injustices are definitely good starts to becoming an ally. But that’s not enough. Actively rebutting prejudices in your own circles is key to lasting change, as those ideas and beliefs — unless challenged — are what our children absorb and are woven into the fabric of our culture.

Some white people know that to become anti-racist, they must start to listen and brush up on the history of racism in their countries.
Some people are describing obviously racist behavior as the the tip of the iceberg — calling people racist names or threatening people on the basis of race. Then there’s the part of the iceberg that’s not easily visible to people if they’re not looking. This includes a range of subtle but insidious attitudes, behaviors and policies.

Among these are microaggressions. They are brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities, Tatum said.
Microaggressions can be intentional, unintentional or even well-meaning, but they communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial assumptions to the receiver. And they have an insidious effect on a black person’s psyche and continuing racist assumptions.

For all you musical nuts, want a microaggression triad? Here’s Do, Mi, and Sol:

  • “Don’t blame me. I never owned slaves.”
  • “All lives matter.”
  • “I’m colorblind; I don’t care if you’re white, black, yellow, green or purple.”

Perhaps if Mid-Atlantic can erase those words from students’ (and staffers’) vocabulary and figure out how to give everyone the same grade — which will, then, make it no longer a grade — Montgomery County will feel like it got its money worth.

Will the tax payers?

Either way, one thing’s for sure: Progressively, fairness ain’t cheap.

-ALEX

 

See more pieces from me:

Over the Moon: Bikini Model Celebrates #BootyForBiden, but There’s a Crack in the Campaign

A Leviathan of a Lesson Learned? Minneapolis May Soon Ask Other Police Departments to Loan Them Officers

A Real Turkey Day: CDC Says to Spend Thanksgiving With Your Family – Just Not in the Same Room

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