Maryland School District Requests 'Anti-Racist Audit' to Help Students 'Resist Systems of Oppression'

Getty Images
October 9, 2020

Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools district is requesting a "systemwide anti-racist audit" to determine whether it is doing enough to help students "resist systems of oppression."

According to a "request for proposal" document obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, the school district is looking for a consultant "with deep knowledge and expertise in … racial equity" to examine the school district's culture, hiring practices, and pre-K-12 curriculum. The document requests that consultants investigate whether the district's curriculum "strengthens students' sense of racial, ethnic, and tribal identities, helps students understand and resist systems of oppression, and empower students to see themselves as change agents." It also asks if the district is taking a sufficiently "proactive approach" to issues of implicit bias, even though the racial makeup of the district is majority minority.

Following the Black Lives Matter protests this summer, the school district said it would reevaluate its social studies curriculum to address systemic racism, "particularly for ... younger students." The school district already operates an "Equity Initiatives Unit," which aims to counteract "bias ... oppression, and inequity." Marya Hay, a member of the unit, posted photos online of the "equity" training that staff undergo. One photo showed school district employees defining "whiteness" as "a systemic, racial, social construct backed by no scientific evidence, created to benefit white people by unequally distributing power and privilege through society's norms, traditions, and institutions."

Other school districts in the Washington, D.C., suburbs are conducting similar initiatives. Since 2018, Loudoun County, Va., has spent $422,500 on equity training inspired by critical race theory, which claims racism is inherent in every aspect of America.

Montgomery County Public Schools' top-down push for "anti-racist" practices has already manifested in several of the district's schools. Clarksburg High School posted a race-and-equity pledge inspired by the writings of Ibram X. Kendi, in which staff promised to engage in a "race-conscious community" and support "anti-racist policies."

The school district anticipates it will announce its official partnership with an anti-racist consultant on Oct. 28. According to the "request for proposal," the district will offer a yearlong contract with the anti-racist consulting group. The request did not disclose a budget for the contract.