Maryland's Montgomery County plans to spend more than $450,000 on an "anti-racist audit" intended to create "equitable outcomes for every student's academic and social-emotional well-being."
According to a Tuesday memo from the county's superintendent of schools, Montgomery County Public Schools will award a one-year "anti-racist" consulting contract to the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium for $454,680. The consulting firm will investigate the district's culture, hiring practices, and pre-K-12 curriculum, which Montgomery County says should be tailored so that it "strengthens students' sense of racial, ethnic, and tribal identities, helps students understand and resist systems of oppression, and empowers students to see themselves as change agents."
The Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium's website states that it promotes "equity in education to achieve social justice" and touts a handful of left-leaning education partnerships. Among those partners is the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Teaching Tolerance" arm, which pushes for students to learn about slavery beginning in kindergarten.
The school district awarded the lucrative contract despite anticipating a budget cut of up to $155 million. According to Bethesda Magazine, the district's enrollment is down more than 2,000 students from the 2019 school year, which will decrease the required government funding to schools.
The one-year audit will be the largest such initiative reported to date. In nearby Loudoun County, Va., the district spent $422,500 over two years on equity training inspired by critical race theory, which claims racism is intrinsic to nearly every aspect of American life.
On Sept. 21, Montgomery County Public Schools issued a "request for proposal" document to hire a consultant "with deep knowledge and expertise in … racial equity." A district spokeswoman declined to tell the Washington Free Beacon how many consulting firms submitted a proposal.
Despite mounting budget cuts and an already-existing "Equity Initiatives Unit," district spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala said the anti-racist audit is considered "critical work."
"Whether we are providing instruction virtually or in person, we remain committed to ensuring that our students' academic success is not predictable by race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, language proficiency, or disability," Onijala told the Free Beacon. "We will continue to strive in these efforts until all gaps have been eliminated for all groups."