Defense Department Sparks Controversy Over DEI Based Education Program

The Defense Department agency responsible for educating military children revealed in a contract that it has sanctioned the allocation of nearly $2 million for significant Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) schemes and advisory services. The contract, exclusively acquired by the Daily Caller News Foundation from the Functional Government Initiative, discloses that the Defense Department’s Education Activity (DoDEA) employed the services of management consultancy BCT Partners.

BCT Partners, a firm with an emphasis on the concept of ‘equity’, has been contracted to crystalize an actionable strategy for the agency’s sweeping DEI program in 2021. The noteworthy aspect, as per the document, is that it’s the agency’s maiden venture in securing a systemic contract of such nature.

The contract ambitiously covers a wide range of deliverables including a thorough audit of DEI strategies within DoDEA, provision for continued consultancy, development of the program, and development opportunities for senior leadership and even pupils. These updates, involving the contracted advisory services encompassing diversity aspects, are remarkably forward-thinking, and are anticipated to lead to better outcomes for all students.

Inked in November 2021, the contract is deemed as an ‘indefinite-quantity contract’. It bears the potential for successive renewals until we reach May 2028. As data from open source federal awards suggests, DoDEA has already disbursed over $600,000, with the capacity to dispense over an additional $1.2 million before the contract finally expires. This speaks volumes about the sizable commitment the agency is willing to undertake to ensure its DEI objectives are met.

The aggregate sum over the initial base year along with four potentially extendable years may well turn out to be about $1,987,347. One of the contract’s pivotal sections, labeled as the ‘background’, confirmed DoDEA’s understanding of successful DEI strategic implementation which involves (1) informed leadership teams, (2) active diversity councils, (3) potent instructional leadership across all schools, (4) employee awareness of diversity impact, and (5) DEI principles in curriculum execution and training for educators.

The DEI program is strategically focused on race, equity, diversity, and inclusion, which directly translates to ‘fairness or justice in the treatment of people’, particularly referring to seven protected classes. This elucidation in the ‘background’ stresses consistent principles and protection, and strives to create an environment where every student can reach their potential.

At the inception of this contract, DoDEA served nearly 66,000 pupils across 174 academic institutes domestically and at military bases globally. Projection suggests that BCT Partners will compile a ‘DEI Evaluation Assessment Report’ over the ensuing year utilizing already gathered survey data from DODEA.

This critical assessment would encompass the verification of alleged ‘inequities, barriers and gaps’ that currently inhibit DODEA from infusing DEI standards throughout their organization; potentially influencing various aspects from recruitment, retention, promotion, to the actual teaching and learning methodologies.

Another imperative goal is to provide at least 75 annual ‘interactive expert DEI consultation services’ targeting 50 seniors of the executive suite, other high-ranking leaders, the DEI Director, and constituents of twelve functioning groups. This showcases the agency’s commitment to pervasive professional development as they strive to build a more fair and equal opportunity organization.

Moreover, the contract importantly included a glossary of DEI-related terms like ‘micro-aggression’, ‘gaslighting’, and three distinct elucidations for the term ‘racism’. ‘Antiracism’ was defined, implying an ‘active and conscious effort to work against multidimensional aspects of racism’. Additionally, the definition for Critical Race Theory was provided, based on the contributions of Kimberle Crenshaw, an original critical race theorist.

‘Systematic racism’, as per the contract’s articulation, is argued as an integral component of American life that challenges the beliefs that allow its perpetuation. In a nutshell, the contract shows a commitment to challenge entrenched systems and foster a more equitable society.

The contract also witnessed two modifications awarded in June 2022 and April 2023, which elevated the financial limit for the hired contractor. Unfortunately, the precise increment is undisclosed. The allocated funds and the extensive contract display the significant agenda DoDEA has committed to overseeing. This demonstrates the pentagon’s commitment to taking substantive action to reform its educational systems.

The award of this contract was steered by former President Joe Biden’s executive order, endorsing the adoption of race-conscious policies and training throughout the public sector. In 2021, in response to this, DoDEA instituted a four-year roadmap to cultivate DEI in recruitment and retentions strategies, promotion and development, in addition to its teaching and learning procedures.

Lastly, the DoDEA and BCT Partners have yet to offer any public comment to the DCNF’s query. The theory of CRT has sparked conversations for its assertion that racial inequality is both pervasive and inherent in America; its critics however, feel it is essentially incompatible with the military’s merit-based ethos. Regardless, it seems the theory has found its place in the defense establishment, according to a statement from the Functional Government Initiative to the DCNF.

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