The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) system, located north of the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C., is one of the more liberal public education systems in the country. During the coronavirus pandemic, the county public school system hosted a LGBTQ town hall to commemorate historical events in the gay rights movement, and announced that it will pilot an LGBTQ social studies course.
The system’s superintendent sent a memo to the county’s board of education, which recommended that the one-year “anti-racist” audit be awarded to the consulting firm Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium. The goal of the audit is to create “equitable outcomes for every student’s academic and social-emotional well-being.” The superintendent lauded the upcoming audit as an “opportunity to examine not only the student experience; it presents the occasion to analyze policies and practices that impact staff.”
The audit will take a deep look into “Workforce Diversity, Work Conditions, K–12 Curriculum Review, Equity Achievement Framework Progress, Community Relations and Engagement, and Evaluation of School Cultures.” The deadline for the anti-racism audit bids for consultants was this past October 12. The memo said that the purpose of the audit was to find a consultant “with deep knowledge and expertise in leading work in racial equity to organize and lead a systemwide anti-racist audit.” The MCPS plans to spend “a total amount not to exceed $454,680.”
As the Washington Free Beacon reported, the recommended consultant has ties to the anti-conservative and anti-religious organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC has a list of alleged hate groups and commonly places conservative and Christian organizations on the list, without a fair assessment or input. The consultant also claimed that it helps promote “equity in education to achieve social justice.”
The contract recommendation came after a projected budget shortfall of $101 million in the coming year due to declining enrollment during the coronavirus pandemic. Bethesda Magazine, a local publication, noted that projected revenue losses will total around $101 million, or a 3.6% decrease in the system’s $2.8 billion budget.