by Hans Spader
Students vary widely in intelligence and willingness to work hard. Why would anyone expect “equal outcomes for every student, without exception”? But that’s what educational consultants paid for by Virginia’s largest school district expect. The consultants were hired by Fairfax County Public Schools, which have 180,000 students.
Their goal is to “produce equal outcomes for every student, without exception,” reports The College Fix:
Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools reportedly paid almost half a million dollars to a firm whose “Equity Imperative” is that all students’ academic performance result in equal outcomes. Documents obtained by Asra Nomani show the district paid $455,000 to Oakland, California’s Performance Fact to “analyze student data to identify trends and recommendations in support of the development of strategic goals,” among (many) other things. It also “facilitated” school board “work sessions/retreats” which allegedly were “focused on the development of the [district] strategic plan.”
The September 20, 2022 retreat was led by company CEO Mutiu Fagbayi. … A PowerPoint for the retreat titled “Equity-centered Strategic Planning” is, like many diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI) documents, full of flowery, yet vacuous, academic lingo. It includes the typical comparison between equality (“resources and supports are distributed evenly, irrespective of individual needs or assets”) and equity (“incorporates the idea of need; distribution of resources and supports is purposefully unequal”)….Then there’s that “Equity Imperative” which is “equitable access to resources and opportunities that guarantee fair, just, and affirming experiences and produce equal outcomes for every student, without exception” (emphasis added).
Once considered anathema in education and elsewhere, expecting equal outcomes has become more and more popular as a facet of anti-racism training. For example, last year Harvard featured the head of the UK’s “leading independent race equality think tank,” who advocates for equal outcomes.
Outcomes equality is also a tenet of anti-racism guru Ibram Kendi’s philosophy. In 2019 he told an assembly at George Washington University that “racists believe unequal societies [and] racial disparities stem from unequal peoples,” whereas “antiracists believe that the racial groups are equal.” As such, any differences among groups come from racist policies. “It’s that simple,” said Kendi.
Kendi is wrong to claim that unequal racial outcomes are all due to racism. Many obviously are not. For example, Latinos live three years longer than whites, on average, even though doctors don’t discriminate in their favor. Asians make more money than whites, on average, even though Japanese and Chinese- Americans used to face massive discrimination. And while blacks make less money than whites, on average, immigrants from some African countries like Ghana and Nigeria typically make more money than whites do.
Unequal racial outcomes exist everywhere in society and the world, usually for reasons unrelated to racism, as the black economist Thomas Sowell chronicles in his book Discrimination and Disparities.
The “key concept” in Ibram Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist is that discrimination against whites is the only way to achieve equality: “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination,” writes Kendi in that book. Kendi is a leading “critical race theorist.”
The consultants hired by Fairfax are so lazy they don’t even use “demographic information” from the Fairfax schools in their presentation to district employees — they reuse data from another school district, reported The College Fix. “The Fairfax County district equal outcomes revelation comes on the heels of a report that officials from one of its schools had withheld National Merit Scholarship awards from students — because they believe in ‘recogniz[ing] students for who they are as individuals, not focus[ing] on their achievements.’ They also didn’t want to ‘hurt’ the feelings of students who did not earn any awards.”
A class full of failing students whose teacher doesn’t teach anything would have “equal outcomes for every student,” as the consultants hired by Fairfax advocate. But that wouldn’t be desirable.
Hans Bader is an attorney residing in Northern Virginia. This column was first published on Liberty Unyielding and is republished with permission