Updated: May 11, 2021
By: Sloan Rachmuth
What would happen if you gave a man who makes a fortune running "equity" programs the keys to North Carolina's public education system? Save your guess about what would happen because we are finding out right now.
The NC Board of Education, as well as its most prominent member, reportedly received money from an organization tied to China to"combat structural racism within the education system" a month after passing a statewide critical race theory policy.
This foreign entity paid at least one North Carolina Public School district $90K to create and then analyze student surveys that collect sensitive information.
NC's educational framework has officially been changed from one of equality to "equity" which will be based on students' race and gender to ensure outcomes.
Critical Race Theory will now be pushed from the DPI through a program called "Transformative SEL."
This summer North Carolina Board of Education member James Ford and the North Carolina Board of Education itself was reportedly awarded part of a $1.4M grant from Switzerland-based Oak Foundation to "combat structural racism within the education system" in North Carolina. Here are the details:
On July 9th, 2020, the progressive group MDC, located in Durham, announced that school board member James Ford's nonprofit Center for Racial Equity in Education (CREED), and the North Carolina Board of Education, were selected to participate in the Learning for Equity: A Network for Solutions grant program. Funded by the Oak Foundation, the grantees' activities would include:
Re-training teachers to educate through an "equity" and "culturally responsive" lens
Influencing the school system to adopt policies that guarantee equal outcomes among all students
Transforming students and families into activists against "systemic racism"
Just one month before the announcement, the state Board of Education released a draft of a an "equity" resolution that parroted exactly the plan that the Oak Foundation sought to fund. The new policy proposal acknowledged:
North Carolina schools are systematically racist
Race and gender are a determinant of equity
An "Equity Lens" will be the new policy and practice for every school district and will be achieved through "social and emotional learning" programs
Parents and the community are responsible for achieving equity for all students
An"Equity Officer" was needed to work with the Superintendent of Public Instruction to ensure new policies and practices are implemented and followed
Schools must be-named if students are offended by its current name
Then, with little attention, the final draft for the "Equity and Excellence in North Carolina Public Education" resolution was passed by the State Board of Education in September, 2020 by a vote of 5 to 3.
Accordingly, the Department of Instruction has now installed its Transformative Social Emotional Learning system framework to use as a "lever of social justice and equity" in all 115 state school districts, and has requested $400K from the General Assembly to pay for its new Office of Equity Affairs.
All appearances indicate that James Ford and some unnamed members of the North Carolina School Board have completely upended the state's public education system in exchange for a big payday from a deep-pocketed and opaque Switzerland-based Oak Foundation.
The most disquieting aspect of this policy is that it places the new Equity Officer over securing"social and health" outcomes in students, as well as intervening in "pandemics as well as natural disasters." Taking care of the health and wellbeing of children is and should remain the exclusive province of parents, not the government.
The first draft also mandated that "disaggregated and transparent data" be collected on all students to then stereotype them and give a social score in the name of achieving equal outcomes in the classroom. Who will students' scores be shared with? For how long? Will these scores result in disparate treatment for categories of students? Time will tell.
Collecting and analyzing private student data is important to the Oak Foundation. Two months awarding James Ford a grant, the Foundation committed $90K to the development of student and family surveys and a screener to scan students for "social-emotional and behavioral problems" in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for 2020 and 2021 school year. Today these invasive student surveys are in use all over the state.
Oak Foundation's foreign control of North Carolina's school system is also being carried out by groups like Durham-based Education Justice Alliance who trains student activists to campaign against ALL school discipline policies and against allowing school resource officers on campus. Other Oak Foundation grantees have formed a lobbying coalition to also demand North Carolina abandon even mild school discipline policies, as well as to beg for more exorbitant taxpayer funding for educational "equity" policies. Most alarming is that the Education NC (ED NC) is positioned as the Oak Foundation's official media arm - publishing advertisements of the foundation's "investments" in North Carolina's education system dressed up as serious, unbiased reports for the public .
The Oak Foundation's enmeshment in North Carolina's public education system should alarm everyone. Foreign policy group Capital Research reports that the Oak Foundation founder and its directors are heavily invested with the Chinese Communist Government in a development project called "Belt and Road" where they stand to gain billions of dollars.
The Oak Foundation's financial structure is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. The Washington Examiner reported that the organization's 2017 Annual Report says “Oak Philanthropy Limited” is located at an address in Geneva, yet a search of Swiss corporate records “Oak Foundation” or “Oak Philanthropy” came up empty. But an archived page posted by the Oak Foundation states “Oak Philanthropy Limited” is actually located in the Channel Islands located off the French coast of Normandy. Oak Fiduciary Services Limited, according to its web page, serves over 50 countries and in has more than $20 billion of assets under management for private clients.
From the Washington Examiner:
"The foundation's 2018 annual report says Oak Philanthropy Limited is wholly owned by Oak Holdings Limited, but there's another Jersey entity that was formed on Sept. 1, 1997, and registered to the same address in Jersey as Oak Philanthropy Limited. So what gives?
Oak Holdings Limited's 2018 annual report provides some additional insight, noting that Oak Holdings Limited is co-owned by RBC Trust Company Jersey Limited, an incorporation and offshore services entity affiliated with the Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management, and Oak Fiduciary Services Limited.
We Need Answers
Oak Foundation's alleged paying off the North Carolina School Board, James Ford in exchange for "transforming" the state's school system into a Marxist system - complete with racial incitement and activism is outrageous, illegal, and General Assembly members must order an investigation without delay.
Why the Oak Foundation, a foreign entity, is paying for the creation of special student surveys, and then also paying to have private data collected from these surveys analyzed? Where is that disaggregated data going? How is it being used?
Also, why is North Carolina's School Board apparently allowed to profit while millions of families will suffer as a result of this policy mandating unequal treatment? Why was James Ford, with unchecked power, allowed to use his powerful position to implement a race-based education system cooked up by a Geneva foundation with global ties?
The public deserves answers. Now.
We reached out to James Ford, Eric Davis, chair of the North Carolina Board of Education, the Oak Foundation, and MDC for comments but have yet to receive a reply.