Pentagon Secretly Institutionalized DEI In Its K-12 Public Schools

Pentagon Secretly Institutionalized DEI In Its K-12 Public Schools

By Adam Andrzejewski of Open The Books Substack

In a Congressional hearing last spring, Gil Cisneros, then-Under Secretary for Military Readiness, announced that the Pentagon was closing its newly formed Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within its K-12 school system and reassigning its controversial DEI chief after a ten-month internal investigation.

The Pentagon’s climb-down was a big win for We had worked alongside whistleblowers, journalists, other investigative non-profits, and ranking members of Congress to expose alleged conflicts of interest, violations of military ethics policies, and radical ideologies being forced on the kids of servicemen and servicewomen.

Today, we are announcing Cisneros was actually faking. The radical curriculum was not dismantled. Instead, it was stealthily embedded into the lesson plans and classrooms throughout the entire school system.

The Pentagon, under Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, is preventing details of their DEI policies from coming to light by abusing the Freedom of Information Act. They bamboozled the public with window dressing in Congressional hearings while forcing woke extremism on the roughly 70,000 children of our military service members.

It’s critical that taxpayers understand the scope of the DEI philosophy within the DoD’s schools – deployed servicemembers often have no alternative but to use the Pentagon-run school system, called the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).

Troubling Curriculum

DOD relentlessly promotes DEI-ideologies to school children of serving families through educational contractors with millions of dollars of taxpayer funding.

Here are some examples of what’s happening in the Pentagon’s schools:

  • Chat rooms to facilitate teacher-student conversations that are closed off to parents about sexuality and gender, and likely without their knowledge or consent.

  • Engaging four-year-olds in LGBTQ+ conversations. Elementary schools are the “perfect time” to “really show students the diversity of the gender expression and gender activity.”

  • Solidarity with the neo-Marxist Black Lives Matter organization to encourage teachers to “challenge our beliefs, examine our own biases, and reflect on how we need to evaluate the structures and systems in our classrooms.”

  • Video content on “dissent” and “equity” to “help educators facilitate classroom conversations and much-needed discussions about implicit bias and systemic racism, human rights, equity, social justice, dissent, protest, and empathy.” 

  • Marxist activism to dismantle systems of “power” and “privilege.” Suggesting a refusal to teach a “white-washed” curriculum and instead teach “social justice rather than heroes, holidays, and celebrations.”

  • A teaching handbook that recommends “critical conversations” with students about race, identity, and privilege and the way “injustice” affects our lives and society. These “explicit conversations” provoke “strong emotions” and crying students are expected.

Read the details about these vendors, their payments, and the full background dossier on our investigation here.

Our report on the Pentagon secretly institutionalizing DEI in its K-12 public schools

Transparency Problems

The Pentagon is assiduously attempting to hide its biased left-wing extremist curriculum from public view.  It is deleting public access to links, driving DEI infrastructure underground, and liberally redacting the most basic Freedom of Information Act requests.

For example, filed a FOIA request for the agency payroll just as we have at nearly 13,000 public schools across America. Stunningly, the DoDEA refused to disclose the individual salaries of its staff, unlike public schools nationwide and almost every other federal agency. No names, job titles, or compensation details on the $1.4 billion payroll.

It’s not just our organization having problems.

In September 2022, The Claremont Institute published a groundbreaking report on left-wing extremism in DoDEA classrooms, called “Grooming Future Revolutionaries.” The report highlighted content from dozens of video presentations from staffers at a 2021 “Equity and Access Summit” discussing what they were doing to turn schoolchildren into social justice activists.

Days later, all videos were taken down from the publicly available links and are no longer accessible. While the agency originally refused to release relevant documents via our FOIA request, we appealed, and the subsequent production confirmed that the videos were taken down in response to the report.

Last spring, at the Congressional hearing, Gil Cisneros announced that the Pentagon was dissolving the DoDEA’s DEI department and reassigning its chief. However, key documents we captured via FOIA suggest that DEI-ethos is still at the core of agency mission.

Here is what we were able to find out:

The Pentagon “integrated” DEI specialists into “four key divisions” in the agency last March while also launching a DEI Steering Committee. The committee is comprised of top executives including the agency’s CEO Thomas Brady, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Academic Officer, and twelve others.  

We sought more information on the steering committee, but our DoD redacted, or, “hid”: 1. member names; 2. agendas, materials, minutes and discussions; and 3. impact the committee is having on the whole education environment at the Pentagon.

The extent of these redactions is so ridiculous that almost every slide from the 14-page slide-deck presented at a committee meeting had been redacted except for the title page and a page defining DEI. 

The only non-executive staffer we can confirm attended these meetings is DEI Specialist Michelle Woodfork. See her redacted slide deck and calendar information here

Screenshot: A DoDEA staffer presentation on Discovery Education resources intended to teach children about social justice activism. Discovery Education received $2.4 million in contract spending from DoDEA since 2019 (see full presentation here). 

Key Quote

During the agency’s 2021 Equity and Access Summit, Woodfork made her devotion to the Pentagon’s DEI initiatives abundantly clear in her presentation:  

“When headquarters published their initiative for REDI [an earlier name for DEI at DoDEA] I got heart palpitations because it felt so affirming of the work I’ve been doing for so long.”