The U.S. Department of Education has reversed a Trump-era decision that declared race-based “affinity groups” at public schools to be discriminatory, according to the New York Post.
After a whistleblower teacher’s complaint from the Evanston-Skokie School District in Illinois, the Trump Administration’s Education Department in 2019 launched an investigation into the district’s practice of dividing students and staff into different groups based on their race and conducting activities allegedly aimed at helping address discrimination and “white privilege.”
According to documents obtained by the NY Post, the practices carried out in the Chicago-area school district were found to be in violation of Title VI, the federal law prohibiting race-based discrimination in education. The practices deemed discriminatory by the Trump administration included, among many others, “racially exclusive affinity groups” that separated students, parents, and community members by race, a “Colorism Privilege Walk” that asked students to move forward or back according to racial privileges they supposedly have or lack, and a policy that explicitly directed staffers to take into account a student’s race when taking disciplinary actions.
The whistleblower told the NY Post that she received a call on Jan. 6 from Carol Ashley, the enforcement director for the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), who told her that the OCR had issued a letter of finding that the district was engaging in discriminatory behavior.
However, on Jan. 22, two days after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the teacher received another call from Ashley, informing her that the findings and any further actions have been indefinitely suspended as part of the new administration’s effort to promote “racial equity” in schools.
The suspension of the OCR investigation was also confirmed by Superintendent Devon Horton of the Evanston-Skokie district, who told the NY Post that “last month, the proceedings were suspended by OCR pending its reconsideration of the case in light of the executive orders on racial equity issued by President Biden.”
In the executive order signed on his first day in White House, Biden vowed to embed racial equity, rather than equal opportunity, into his administration.
“Equal opportunity is the fundamental promise of America. But systemic racism and discrimination in our economy, laws, and institutions have put the promise of America out of reach for too many families of color,” the order reads, adding that the Biden administration will take “bold and ambitious steps” to root out “inequity” from the economy and expand opportunities for “communities of color and other underserved Americans.”
Equity is a concept tied to the Marxist “critical theory,” which slices up society into identity groups based on race, gender, sexual proclivities, and other factors, while dividing the groups into oppressed and oppressors, similar to how Marxism labels people as oppressors or the oppressed based on class. In political parlance, equity commonly refers to equality of outcome, rather than equal treatment.
The OCR did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.
Petr Svab contributed to this report.