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DEI At Your School

DEI Questions To Consider

Your school's website will be a helpful indicator of how much your school prioritizes Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Demand transparency and learn what is embedded in the curriculum by reviewing lesson plans and syllabi. Note the number of staff dedicated to the DEI office and read the site carefully to assess the content/emphasis and consider the following questions.

  • What are your school’s guiding principles? Are they consistent with the DEI work?

  • Has the school’s mission changed? Does this plan align with the school's mission?

  • Does the school have a DEI plan? If so, please read it and look for the following buzz words:

Affinity groups, culturally competent, culturally relevant, equity, inclusion, justice, belonging, grading for equity, belonging, decolonizing, "anti-racism,” courageous conversations, teaching for justice, etc.

  • Has the school taken the NAIS AIM survey? Ask to see the survey and the results. What happened at school that prompted you to devote so much time and resources to this DEI work?

  • Who wrote the DEI plan?

  • How big is the school’s DEI department?

  • What are the goals of this work?

  • Given the priority this work is taking, what is it replacing? There are only so many hours in the school day.

  • What evidence, research, or scholarship is there that this approach works? Shouldn’t it be held to the same high standards and scholarship as core subjects? Are there as robust academic/curricular plans for STEM, for example?

  • Have you considered that imposing one worldview as the only worldview, which is what this plan does, divides and prevents students from developing a sense of personal agency? How does the school plan to provide balance? How does this create independent thinkers? Tolerance for different points of view? Objective truth? Intellectual humility?

  • What professional development do teachers attend?

  • What books are the students assigned?

  • Is the school eliminating the time-tested classics, which teach about the human condition, in favor of more “recent” titles? 

  • How will you measure success? Schools have been at this for a long time and seemingly have made no progress except enriching and growing a consulting class.

  • "School A" is a highly selective school, so it excludes most people who wish to attend. Please explain how the incessant focus on identity, “inclusion,” and equity is consistent with the reality of the school.


Schools like to have information about their students and families. Under the guise of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) or assessing the “school climate,” these surveys often resemble intake forms that one would fill in at the doctor’s office. Because they are biased and leading, surveys are potentially a cause for concern; this is particularly true when administered to younger children who don’t know how to respond and adolescents who may be similarly confused because that is the nature of “growing up.” Why do schools need to do this? Often the surveys want to understand race, sexual orientation, habits, gender, and feelings of “belonging" and inclusion. 

NAIS promotes the AIM survey, which then serves as the foundation and justification for the school DEI plans.

What surveys do you ask students to complete?

Can I have a copy of any survey my child will be given?

What is the objective of the survey?

What will the school do with the information/data that you collect?

Ask the school to opt out if you are not comfortable. 

Helpful links

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