Seattle schools are poised to invest more taxpayer dollars to fund “racial equity” programs including a program that refers to black male students as “Kings.”
Public education officials in the Democrat-run Washington city have proposed that schools receive more funding for various Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs than core academic subjects like math and science.
As detailed by the Washington Free Beacon, Seattle Public Schools will spend more than $5 million on the DEI programs including a “racial equity analysis tool” as well as an after-school program directed toward black male students who are referred to as “Kings.”
The so-called “Kingmakers of Seattle” is “an elective program for Black male middle school and high school students, referred to as Kings, taught by Black male facilitators. Kingmakers supports the cultural, historical, social, and emotional needs of young Black boys and teens as it relates to their identity. The program is offered at four SPS schools: Aki Kurose, Asa Mercer, and Denny International Middle Schools and Interagency Academy,” Seattle Public Schools explains.
The equity budget surpasses the $4.5 million for core academic subjects, including math, science, and literacy. To fund the new equity budget, more than $500,000 will be cut from the science budget.
Instead of funding core programs, the public schools are prioritizing “racial equity,” “engaging students of color,” and setting up a new series of procedures to overhaul policies to ensure that the schools’ disciplinary policies are not used “as a substitute for culturally responsive behavioral and social emotional supports.”
The Free Beacon explains how the prioritization of DEI “comes as students' proficiency in reading and math has fallen 6 percentage points and 16 percentage points, respectively, since 2019.”
“Test scores from last year found nearly 56 percent of Seattle students are not competent in science and about 57 percent are not competent in math. Just 30 percent of black students and 18 percent of Native American students are meeting grade-level standards. Public school officials in the region have blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for learning losses,” the publication reported.
The breakdown of the $5 million budget proposal includes $1.3 million for scholarships and programs in “Native Education,” $1.5 million for “African American Male Achievement,” and around $1.3 million for the establishment of a “Department of Racial Equity Advancement.”
An additional $600,000 is designated toward “Ethnic Studies and Black Studies,” and $650,000 is headed for “Proyecto Saber,” a Latino-based cultural studies program for Latino students.
A spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools says that the “Native Education” program is getting more funding than core subjects because the budget allocation is “a complex process that involves community input, stakeholders, students, etc.”
The push for DEI programs across public schools in the United States comes amid a rise in social justice activism both online and offline.