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Report on Chief Diversity Officers Makes Sweeping Policy Recommendations Based on Flawed Research

BOULDER, CO (January 25, 2022) – A recent Heritage Foundation report objects to the increasing number of Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) emerging on public school districts’ administrative teams, but it appears to be supporting a conservative agenda rather than guiding policy related to student achievement gaps.

Edward García Fierros, a professor at Villanova University who also serves as Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, reviewed Equity Elementary: “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” Staff in Public Schools, and found it to promote test-driven accountability at the expense of the learning needs of pre-K-12 public school students.

The report claims that districts with CDOs have failed to close student achievement gaps in standardized testing outcomes, have exacerbated performance gaps between white and minoritized students, and have advanced the Critical Race Theory goals of leftist political activists. It also asserts that increasing CDO numbers can be linked directly to their presence in higher education, where they are much more commonplace.

As Professor Fierros points out, the report attempts to attribute test score outcomes to the presence of CDOs, without accounting for more likely (and research-supported) impacts on student achievement such as differences in household adult education attainment and societal inequalities linked to racial and socioeconomic status. It also does not distinguish between CDO models or examine how long CDOs have served in their roles. Accordingly, the report fails to analyze the true effectiveness of CDOs.

The report’s rhetoric and claims appear to be ideologically and politically motivated and, for that reason and others, it fails to provide guidance for policy or add to the research base on closing achievement gaps or on diversity, equity, and inclusion in K-12 settings. As such, Professor Fierros concludes that it has little use as a guide for policy and practice.

Find the review, by Edward García Fierros, at:

Find Equity Elementary: “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” Staff in Public Schools, written by Jay P. Greene and James D. Paul and published by the Heritage Foundation, at:

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