What This School District Spent $50,000 On Will Make You See Red

A school district in northern Virginia threw away almost $50,000 to a racial consultant for a survey intended to direct its new “anti-racist” curriculum.

Parents Defending Education (PDE), an organization of concerned parents, discovered that the Fairfax County Public School district shelled out 49,600 to start an “Anti-Bias Community Engagement Policy” survey. The survey was conducted by, and money paid to, Leadership Academy,  a New York City-based diversity, equity, and inclusion firm.

As a reaction to the FOIA request, the school district affirmed that the cost of the survey was, indeed, $49,600 and stated it was “procured via an informal competitive process.”

PDE went on to report that the school district also “signed a four-year ‘Notice of Award’ on March 11 with the organization with a ‘pricing schedule’ of 21 items that could add up to a minimum of $702,700 of business and even into the millions of dollars.”

FCPS went on to claim that the “Notice of Award” is valued at $80,000, even though a single line item on the contract shows a value of approximately $240,000.

The survey in question inquired to the parents as to what degree they agree with the following statements. The ones responding could choose from four options, “Strongly Agree,” “Agree,” “Disagree,” and “Strongly Disagree.”

Some examples of inquiries on the survey:

  • “My multiple identities (racial, ethnic, gender, religious, etc.) are valued and within FCPS.”
  • “FCPS staff are equipped to teach about race”
  •  “FCPS staff are equipped to teach about racism”
  • “Teaching methods (or teaching practices) address race as often as they should”
  • “Teaching methods address racism as often as they should”
  • “The curriculum used in FCPS should teach students how to challenge power and privilege in society.”
  • “A curriculum and teaching methods focused on being anti-racist and anti-biased would support students’ academic excellence and accelerate learning.”

The PDE organization states the claim that the questioned were tailored in such a way as to search for negative responses in order to help funnel even more district money to these diversity consultants like Leadership Academy.

“The survey was filled with leading questions that are clearly designed with one intention: to get more business for the consultant, NYC Leadership Academy, which was involved in creating the survey,” PDE stated.

As part of an email about the survey, Superintendent Scott Brabrand stated that the district is seeking to remove its “Controversial Issue Policy,” which is designed to protect students and encourage educators to instruct impartially.

“One key strategy to achieve education equity is to analyze and address the beliefs and policies that inform teaching practices along with what is taught in schools,” Brabrand stated. “FCPS will be revising the existing Controversial Issues Policy and developing a new Anti-Racism, Anti-Bias Education Curriculum Policy.”

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