The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) are proving once again that the drive toward equity is taking us down a dark road.
The FCPS hired a consultant, Mutiu Fagbayi, to consult on equity. Mr. Fagbayi publicly stated, as reported in this newspaper: “To have an equity-centered organization, we have to have the courage and the willingness to be purposely unequal when it comes to opportunities and access.” With this statement, Mr. Fagbayi said the quiet part out loud.
His philosophy explains why seven FCPS high schools (that we know of so far) intentionally withheld National Merit awards from students who had earned them. By Mr. Fagbayi’s lights, this FCPS action would be a courageous step toward greater equity.
If you think children who work hard and do well should receive the awards they earned, here are some questions to ask: Why did Mr. Fagbayi receive a $455,000 no-bid contract? What is he evaluating under this contract and what recommendations has he made so far?
More broadly, does FCPS plan to deny some children opportunities and access to achieve equity? What specific steps does FCPS plan to make to move toward equal outcomes? Was withholding National Merit awards a first step in a larger plan?
We need sunlight on the topic of equity and how much of it must necessarily involve being “purposely unequal when it comes to opportunities and access.” Parents should be wary of happy talk about equity and should demand specifics. Additionally, because FCPS has lied and slow-rolled these disclosures, the Virginia Attorney General’s investigation should be broadened to look at this entire mess. We need grand jury subpoenas to get to the truth.