by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In October, Fairfax County Public Schools signed a nine-month, $455,000 contract with an “equity” consultant, whose strategy plan for the Virginia school district promised “equal outcomes for every student, without exception.”
In short order, the district got exactly what it paid for. As a local ABC affiliate reported on Sunday, seven Fairfax County high schools “have now admitted” that they failed to inform students of their National Merit Scholarship recognition “in time for important college scholarship and admissions deadlines.” Whether by negligence or explicit intent, school administrators in the district denied their most academically exceptional students the status and recognition provided by the prestigious scholarship — just as those students were filing their college applications. …
… “Equity,” as an ideological premise, is a friend of mediocrity and an enemy of excellence. It is characterized by what the British political philosopher Michael Oakeshott described as “a revulsion from distinctness” — “intolerant not only of superiority but of difference.”…
… Governor Glenn Youngkin, who rode parental dissatisfaction with radical educators to the Virginia governor’s mansion in 2021, is blaming the district’s “maniacal focus on equal outcomes for all students at all costs,” rather than innocent mistakes, for the scandal. “At the heart of the American dream is excelling, is advancing, is stretching and recognizing that we have students of different capabilities,” he said.
The governor is correct. And insofar as equity has supplanted equal rights under the law in many of the nation’s institutions, this “maniacal focus on equal outcomes” poses a serious threat to the culture of striving, achievement, and excellence that has made America the most powerful, prosperous, and free country in human history. Not to mention being grossly unfair to talented, hard-working students whose achievements should be recognized, not hidden away in the service of ideological perversity.