Montgomery Co. schools conduct anti-racist audit, curriculum reviews

Montgomery County Public Schools reminded families that an ongoing anti-racist audit would survey students and review policies and curricula throughout March.

The system asked families with students in Grades 4-12 to participate in “an age-appropriate, anonymous survey in school between March 1 and March 31” to review the district’s progress on addressing “racial and systemic barriers in Montgomery County Public Schools.”



Hana O’Looney, the student member of the board of education, said the surveys and audit were part of the board’s goal to research the problem and “make things better.”

“Over the last few years, some students, staff and community members have shared experiences of being treated differently because of their racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds. This can happen in the classroom, on the field or in the office,” O’Looney said. “To address this need, an anti-racist audit was developed to identify those disparities.”

Surveys will be available in Amharic, Chinese, French, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese. MCPS says that the entire audit, including surveys, will be conducted by the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium with one goal: “gather data to help answer the question ‘To what extent does MCPS support racial equity and disrupt systemic racism through its policies, procedures, structures, and practices?'”

Gathered data will include a review of current documents, policies and reports, a slew of surveys for community members, focus groups and community conversations. Superintendent Monifa McKnight, Ed.D., said that the district takes these issues very seriously and will use the data to form an action plan for Montgomery County schools.

“We are committed to ensuring that MCPS serves as an anti-racist school system and environment for all,” McKnight said.

The school system says that MAEC will provide the audit’s final report in June 2022. More information on the surveys and audit process can be found on the audit website.

The announcement followed reports of several diversity programs at local school districts across the country being cut amid concerns over critical race theory.

Critical race theory is a high-level theory relegated to graduate study that asks people to think about history through the lens of racism. Anti-racism, however, requires active participation in opposing racism instead of passivity.

“Anti-racism is not code for anti-white,” the system says. “MCPS is committed to providing students with age-appropriate tools to explore the evolution of our nation, its institutions, and policies through a lens that accurately reflects the experience of all communities and cultures.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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