The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (DEISJ) movement has infected America’s education system — from pre-school to medical school. As a college professor, I’ve had a front row seat in watching the total devastation the DEISJ push has wrought on education and, ultimately, our country.
But behind the tragic spectacle are glimmers of hope: a state-level movement to demand accountability from public colleges and universities in how much taxpayer money is funneled into DEISJ initiatives and, more importantly, to put a stop to the toxic waste.
Florida got the ball rolling in what I think could be a “Great American Pushback” against DEISJ prioritization and indoctrination in our Higher Education institutions. In December, Governor Ron DeSantis made headlines for requiring the state’s public universities to report DEI expenditures. Despite the predictable outrage and misreporting from leftist media, Oklahoma and South Carolina soon followed with similar requests for accounts of spending.
Even the governor of deep-blue New Jersey has expressed concerns over DEI spending after Rutgers University increased its DEI spending by a whopping 40.7 percent. Subsequently, Governor Phil Murphy has introduced legislation to force universities to submit an annual fiscal monitoring report.
In addition to steps to pull back funding, we’re also seeing schools drop DEISJ requirements for hiring. Texas Tech is removing DEI statement requirements for open faculty positions and the West Virginia House of Delegates has introduced a bill that would prohibit requiring diversity statements for admissions and hiring. DEISJ loyalty oaths have become a litmus test in the hiring process, and according to an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) study, 34 percent of faculty job postings required diversity statements in 2021. The primary consideration for any position should always be merit and qualifications, not a DEISJ loyalty oath.
But taking back education will require more than just pushing back at woke, ideological zealots – there’s a lot of money at stake – think of it as “Big Woke”. DEI has rapidly evolved from relative obscurity to a thriving multibillion-dollar industry. Governor DeSantis’s report revealed the State University System of Florida (SUSF) spent $34.5 million in DEI spending for courses, centers, organizations, and other DEI projects for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to a crowd at the Knights of Columbus in Elmhurst, Illinois, on Feb. 20, 2023. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images) (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
According to Campus Reform, organizations such as StirFry and the National Coalition Building Institute are raking in huge sums from the $9.5 billion DEI industry in the state of Florida alone. These outside consulting groups provide training and certification in DEISJ ideology for schools, government agencies, corporations and other organizations. According to some estimates, this DEISJ consulting and training industry is expected to increase to $15.4 billion nation-wide by 2026. Clawing back money from this hungry beast won’t be easy, but we must fight tooth-and-nail to do so — for the sake of our children and our nation.
Speaking as a professional educator, I can tell you that the DEISJ framework undermines academic rigor and intellectual freedom by pushing a political agenda and prioritizing identity over merit. Furthermore, these efforts silence and exclude perspectives that oppose or even question the DEISJ narrative, encouraging groupthink and threatening the foundations of the American identity. In short, it is destroying education and American culture. And as we learn more about its toxicity and cost, we need to be bold in turning knowledge into action.
Redirecting the funds intended for DEISJ initiatives to the voracious beast won’t be easy, but it’s necessary. As custodians of public funds, it is incumbent upon public officials to uphold their responsibility to ensure that taxpayer dollars are managed responsibly and with the utmost care, as they are entrusted with the stewardship of precious resources that belong to us.
The “Great American Pushback” against DEISJ has begun because Americans are waking-up to the fact that it’s destroying our country. We need to restore unity, not division; merit, not victimhood; self-reliance, not dependency. Now is the time to take action through the power of the purse. Cutting the funding for this poison will go a long way in returning academia to its core mission of pursuing knowledge and truth to produce a productive citizenry. Only then can we start restoring American and academic excellence.
Nicholas Giordano is a political-science professor at Suffolk Community College and a Leadership Institute Campus Reform Higher Education fellow.
Source: fox news