DEI and the Cape school board seat

March 21, 2023

Very disappointed to see Jessica Tyndall’s recitation of the woke pledge of allegiance (diversity, equity and inclusion) in announcing her re-election bid for the Cape Henlopen school board seat. While DEI is supported by some well-intentioned people, it’s generally lacking in virtue. If my criticism of DEI offends you, please read on and I’ll explain.

Delaware’s eighth-grade proficiency levels are abysmal, just 18% for math and 24% for reading. According to the Caesar Rodney Institute, Delaware ranks ninth nationally in overall per-pupil education spending, but it is tied for last place in both math and reading for the fourth and eighth grades. The Cape school district’s numbers are somewhat better, but still a disgrace. With these numbers, you’d think there’d be a heightened focus on education, but the focus on indoctrination continues. 

DEI does not help educate minority students; it focuses on equalizing outcomes to make it appear it has achieved educational success. Some DEI programs have canceled honors classes and deemphasized mathematics, claiming it’s racist. The implementation of DEI is an acceptance of defeat. It hurts minority students and necessarily disadvantages other racial groups to achieve its equity goal. 

These policies have repercussions for us all. Who would want a surgeon to operate on us pushed through the system to achieve a racial quota? Who would want to drive on a bridge designed by someone educated in a system that deemphasizes mathematics and physics?

Pockets of inequity exist throughout society for various reasons, very little of which is caused by racism. The NBA and NFL, perhaps the least diverse workplace environments of all, are examples of this. There is no outcry to rectify this racial disparity, nor should there be. We accept it because the best players on the field improve the game. The involvement of our equity overlords will do nothing to improve outcomes in these situations. 

I am not suggesting the playing field is level for all; poor people regardless of race are disadvantaged. They do not have the financial resources or connections that wealthier people have. We should do all we can to help these children achieve excellence and success. We must also provide safe and encouraging environments for all students regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, with a zero-tolerance bullying policy.

DEI does not provide the building blocks to improve real educational outcomes; it instead constructs an equity façade for a failing education system. Children who cannot read or do math will increasingly find themselves incapable of competing, dooming them to a dismal future. It’s time to focus on academic achievement in our schools; we must allow DEI to die. 

We need school board members who are laser-focused on improving educational outcomes, not the advancement of racist social programs. Please vote for Shawn Lovenguth in the Cape Henlopen school board election Tuesday, May 9. His focus is on students who want to learn, good teachers, discipline and safety.

Hylton Phillips-Page
Rehoboth Beach
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