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GOP Moves To Rein In Woke DOD Schools

GOP Moves To Rein In Woke DOD Schools
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Among the many national security liabilities created by the Biden administration, one of the less remarked upon has been the ideological corruption of the schools serving children of America’s military servicemembers.

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The outgoing director of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) schools hired a woman with a very public record of anti-white racism as its first chief of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI). DODEA, which runs 160 schools on military bases across the globe serving more than 69,000 children of military personnel, has gone further than perhaps any district in America in systematizing secret so-called gender transitions. In Bahrain, the official school Facebook account openly celebrated a pro-Hamas political activist.

Telling America’s military servicemembers that “in exchange for risking your lives to serve our country, we’ll teach your children to hate your values” is a dishonorable deal for Uncle Sam to offer. Fortunately, Republicans in Congress have taken note — and are stepping up to change the way DODEA schools are governed.

After revelations published by the Claremont Institute and Open the Books regarding the extremely ideological “equity training” offered to teachers which included recommending so-called Social and Emotional Learning material intended to make children cry — congressional Republicans, led by Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., added a Servicemember Parents Bill of Rights to the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Given the stir around these trainings — and the apparently corrupt dealings of DODEA’s anti-white chief diversity officer — DODEA eliminated the position of chief diversity officer and appeared to disband its DEI department.

But that was a sham. As Open the Books, a transparency oversight nonprofit organization, noted, DODEA school chief Tom Brady opted instead to form a secretive “DEI Steering Committee.” DODEA has stonewalled public records requests from Open the Books regarding the membership and activities of this committee and also blocked congressional inquiry led by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.

Congressional Action

Banks sponsored an amendment to the most recent NDAA for fiscal 2025, passed out of committee last Wednesday, to dismantle the DODEA DEI Steering Committee. Perhaps more importantly, he sponsored an amendment to create a small school choice pilot program for 30 students in the DODEA school in Bahrain, which has experienced not only significant problems with facilities but also apparently supported an antisemitic activist who openly embraces the cause of Hamas.

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Congressional Democrats vehemently and unanimously opposed Banks’ amendments. And it’s no wonder why. The last round of NDAA extended additional rights to service members whose children attend DODEA schools. Banks’ amendments represent a potential for a significant shift in the exercise of congressional authority over DODEA. His amendment would actually dictate aspects of how DODEA is managed. And, more importantly, his amendment could create a precedent for extending school choice to the children of all military service members. The NDAA now awaits a full House vote; after passage, it must be reconciled with the Senate’s forthcoming version of the bill before it can be sent to the president to sign into law.

About two decades ago, congressional Republicans — especially Rep. John Boehner — noted the disaster that was the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) system and decided to launch a voucher program for D.C. children. Congress has even more authority over DODEA than over DCPS. Historically, Congress has not exercised it — partly because offering choice to DODEA parents would seem to be an admission that the schools were not excellent. Given the generally high standardized test scores these students achieve, Congress likely made a prudential calculation that it was in America’s national security interest to let this system operate as is.

But now the Biden administration and the leadership of outgoing DODEA Director Brady have infected operations with DEI, and the public recognizes that direct federal influence and control has fully institutionalized this anti-American ideology, it only makes strategic sense for Congress to change its calculation. Banks’ program for now may be only a pilot serving 30 students. But hopefully, if and when Republicans gain full legislative control, they can follow in the footsteps of state legislators across the country and extend universal education savings accounts to all families serving our country.

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Just as school choice for students in the District of Columbia has been a steadfast Republican congressional priority, so too should it be for children of America’s military service members. 




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