The Fairfax County School Board has had a Controversial Issues Policy for many years. It requires teachers to be objective and nonpartisan if controversial issues arise in their classrooms. The text of the Policy is HERE.
It seems sensible to have such a policy; right? Otherwise, our schools could be a means by which those in power could indoctrinate our kids with their personal political ideologies.
Under the Policy, an issue is “controversial” if there are “substantial differences of opinion about it on the local, national, or international level and when these differences of opinion are accompanied by intense feelings and strong emotions.” When a controversial topic is introduced, teachers must address it “as impartially and objectively as possible. Do not let personal biases intrude ….” In classroom discussions, teachers should “encourage critical thinking by offering multiple perspectives,” and should “not expect or require students to reach an agreement.”
In 2020-21, the Board initiated a process to amend the Controversial Issues Policy. Why? The Board was in the midst of developing its new race-centric social studies curriculum, focusing on “systemic racism,” “privilege,” “identity, etc., and it knew these concepts are highly controversial. The Board acknowledged that its new curriculum would violate the Policy; therefore, it initiated a process to amend it to conform to its objectives. Expensive consultants were retained; a questionnaire was circulated in the community; and focus groups were convened.
After that, however, the new curricula were implemented without amending the Policy.
Now, after the fact, in March 2022, a new Policy is being proposed. It will presumably be considered by the School Board soon. The text of the proposal is HERE.
Fairfax Schools Monitor decided to investigate the history of what has occurred. We submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain all relevant records. The documents are being released to us in installments, and some have been withheld on grounds of “attorney-client privilege,” which may require litigation to resolve. But the records obtained thus far are very revealing.
The story that has emerged, and the underlying documents, will be discussed in the next few posts.
Part 2 will disclose the records revealing the Board’s awareness that its race-centric curriculum would violate the Controversial Issues Policy.
Part 3 will discuss the lengthy process of developing a new policy, including the controversial role of the Board’s consultant, The Leadership Academy, Inc. It will also review the Board’s effort to keep information relating to this project away from the public.
Part 4 will discuss the Board’s violation of the Controversial Issues Policy by implementing its new curriculum without revising the Policy.
Part 5 will discuss the proposed new Controversial Issues Policy.
This article is a brief overview of our basic findings. Subsequent posts will fill in the details.
Summary of What Has Transpired
The School Board initiated an effort in 2020-21 to substantially revise school curricula to incorporate concepts of “systemic racism,” “power,” “privilege,” the importance of “identity,” etc. An additional element of this program was to encourage students to become actively involved in activities that would advance the Board’s “social justice” agenda.
The Board recognized that its program would conflict with the Controversial Issues Policy.
Therefore, the Board adopted a plan to amend the Policy to permit teaching kids about “systemic racism,” etc.
One step in the Board’s plan was to hire an “equity” consultant, The Leadership Academy, Inc. (“TLA”), to assist in developing a new policy. TLA prepared an online questionnaire, and it conducted several focus groups, to obtain community input. The questionnaire was widely criticized by members of the public as being biased to achieve a particular result. Also, the focus groups were narrow and unrepresentative of the community at large.
Members of the Board, and other school personnel, criticized TLA’s work as being poorly constructed, shoddily administered, and unrepresentative of the community. Although the contract with TLA contemplated that TLA might provide additional services, the Board quietly terminated its relationship with TLA, without announcing the termination to the public.
The Board did not publish the results of TLA’s work. When members of the public inquired about the results, they were given misleading answers.
The Board established a private, password-protected website so that further discussions of this matter could be conducted off-line, without public scrutiny.
Several months passed, and it seemed that the issue of revising the Controversial Issues Policy had fallen into a black hole.
Recently, however, the School Board’s Governance Committee considered a proposed rewrite of the Policy.
The proposed new Policy is vague in critical respects, but its purpose is clear: To allow the school system to indoctrinate our children with its divisive agenda.
The implications of the proposed policy are alarming. Parents and other concerned citizens need to take note and to make their voices heard.
If you believe this post is of interest and potentially important, please urge others to review it.