Public schools across the country are using politically one-sided questions to ideologically screen potential teachers, according to a survey of nearly 70 public schools by the National Opportunity Project (NOP). Instead of merely selecting the most qualified candidates, these discriminatory hiring practices evaluate would-be teachers by their alignment with so-called “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) goals.
Documents obtained by NOP show public schools advertised ideological requirements in their job postings with coded language seeking “equity-literate educator[s]” who will work at “dismantling systemic racism” with a “commitment to social justice.” Denver Public Schools dictated that applicants should “have an anti-racist mindset and will work to dismantle systems of oppression and inequity in our community.”
These standards invite educators of a particular ideological affiliation to pursue jobs in public schools while deterring other candidates. “They position teachers as soldiers who share responsibility for upending societal barriers,” the report noted. “Their message to applicants is clear: Be prepared to join our crusade, or don’t apply.”
Kristen Williamson, communications director at the National Opportunity Project, told The Federalist schools are “possibly breaking the law” by ideologically filtering potential teachers.
The vetting continues in the interview process, in which candidates may be asked “loaded and presumptive” questions. Some of the questions NOP uncovered asked applicants how they would lead conversations about race in the classroom and incorporate unscientific fads like “gender diversity.”
“Perspectives that diverge from or fail to mesh with the district’s views on equity” are “judged poorly,” NOP concluded.
According to a Fairfax County Public Schools screening rubric, an “outstanding candidate” is someone who “provides concrete examples of strategies of their commitment to serve to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and understands “their role in breaking down barriers.”
One prompt from City Schools of Decatur in Georgia asks how applicants would shut down parents who object to their racially divisive curricula:
An upset parent emails you regarding a classroom discussion with your students about Critical Race Theory. They accuse you (the teacher) of anti-Americanism, changing ‘real history,’ and of making White children feel marginalized and attacked. Please discuss your course of action and draft a response to this parent.
The hiring team then must ensure “that there is at least one person of color and one woman or gender-fluid person” involved in scoring the response. NOP uncovered several other identity quotes for hiring panels and committees like this one.
“The effect of these policies is that teachers in many of the country’s K-12 schools are selected partly based on subjective, quasi-political, and sometimes illegal criteria that have nothing to do with reading, writing, and math,” Williamson said, noting that these teachers are “handpicked based at least in part on their acceptance and evangelism of one side’s political and social orthodoxy.”
Sometimes applicants aren’t just filtered by their beliefs, but by their physical characteristics. Hinsdale Township High School District 86 in Illinois insists that employees reflect the student body in terms of “race, cultural background, linguistic skill, physical abilities, and disabilities, sex, and sexual identity.”
“Parents and taxpayers must hold school districts accountable regarding teacher hiring standards,” Williamson said. “Ultimately, these same teachers are recruited to be partisan political activists for teachers unions, forcing policies they teach in the classroom on the rest of the country through strikes, lobbying, and electioneering.”