Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: DFI Sues Biden Education Department for Refusing to Produce Records Related to Federal Funding of Critical Race Theory and Gender Identity Theory Instruction in Public Schools

WASHINGTON—The Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies (DFI) filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Department of Education (ED) for withholding records showing how the Biden administration has used Equity Assistance Center (EAC) grants to promote a progressive left education agenda in public schools.  

In the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress directed ED to establish Desegregation Centers to assist public schools in their desegregation efforts. In 2016, without statutory authorization from Congress, ED transformed these Desegregation Centers into regional “Equity Assistance Centers.”

Through grant awards in 2016 and 2022, ED has abused its authority under the Desegregation Center program to fund regional Equity Assistance Centers across the United States. Rather than focus on racial desegregation in schools as intended by Congress, ED has transformed the program into one that promotes “woke” education policies, including Critical Race Theory, Gender Identity Theory, and “intersectionality theory,” and provides guidance on how to undermine parents who want a say in their children’s education.

For example, one grantee, Great Lakes Equity Center (GLEC), states in its Center Statement, “For those who are white (non-disabled, Christian, non-LGBTQIA+, English-only speaking, US born, and otherwise privileged) educators/scholars, we urge you to focus your work on dismantling the racism and ableism, and other oppressions you engage to maintain this systemic trauma for our Youth of Color and intersectionally-marginalized youth, alongside your community of white educators and scholars. Position yourselves as vulnerable and work toward the redistribution of your own power and resources, not the deficit-based fixing of children who are already brilliant and beautiful exactly as they show up in our schools, classrooms, and online spaces each and every day.”

Another grantee, the Center for Education Equity (CEE), published a blog post entitled “Bold Classroom Conversations: Let’s Talk About Racism!” declaring that there isn’t a better place to discuss historical racism than the classroom, and that although “parental pushback is a powerful force,” it must be minimized by “making sure that any discussions on racism tie back to the curriculum. After all, how can they [parents] argue with that? Ok . . . they still find a way, but you get my point!”

More than a year ago, DFI requested ED to produce under the Freedom of Information Act any and all records concerning the Equity Assistance Centers, related grants and reports, and communications with EAC grantees. The Department has not produced the records requested by DFI.  

“It appears that the Education Department is using Equity Assistance Centers as surrogates to advise school districts on how to undermine parents and to get around laws that prohibit the agency from directing curricula and instructional materials,” said Bob Eitel, President and Co-Founder of DFI. “What’s more bothersome is that the agency is using these funds to advance a radical ideology rather than to reverse the massive learning loss suffered by students due to the pandemic. We have no other choice but to sue.”

To read the complaint and associated exhibits, click here.