A Pennsylvania school has forked over more than a million dollars for social emotional learning (SEL) curricula from organizations supporting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
Parents Defending Education obtained copies of five invoices from the Armstrong School District outside of Pittsburgh totaling over $1.5 million.
Its largest payment was about $700,000 to Amplify Education for student curricula and professional development for teachers. The company is all-in on DEI, stating it wants to help students with materials that “reflect diverse histories, cultures, and identities their students bring to the classroom.” DEI also influences whom the company hires to create the resources.
DEI intiatives have recently come under scrutiny and criticism as they have been often found to be discriminatory rather than truly equitable. Criticism has even come from former DEI directors.
The Armstrong district also paid Amplify three other times, payments totaling another $730,000.
DEI and social justice guides for students are contain in Amplify’s core knowledge Language Arts curricula. The organization also provides 5th grade lesson plans on how literary subjects and historical time periods such as poetry, the Renaissance era, the Reformation, and personal narratives fit into DEI and social justice.
Armstrong also paid $80,000 to CharacterStrong, which has an “Equity Commitment” that focuses on “recruiting potential CS employees, vendors, and contractors from diverse spaces around the country in order to bring more voices into the development of our work.”
This company says it will “maintain an accountability chart instead of an organization chart to promote less hierarchical decision making.”
For teachers, CharacterStrong has “equity training to deepen personal awareness, better understand our biases, and build skills that help people better serve the entire school community.” It also recognizes “land acknowledgments” and “personal pronouns.”
In a survey tool, students are asked what gender they identify with and to “insert the options around gender identity that best matches district policy.”
On its career page, CharacterStrong includes the following statement:
“The best companies bring together diversity in race, age, physical and mental ability, sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, perspectives and ideas.”