Diversity, equity and inclusion: A newly popular way to make a good living

Are DEI programs useful, or are they filled with grifters?

One of the major tenets of the diversity, equity, and inclusion movement in public schools is that racism and white privilege are systemic in America. In other words, our economic system and government are rife with racist policies and ideologies.

The education system has made an industry out of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It makes one wonder: What is the ultimate goal of this tidal wave of DEI training? I am reminded of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they restrain the heartless.”

We cannot educate away the evil in mankind’s hearts. 

There’s no doubt we should devote time in the classroom to educating students on the evils of racism, and the historical ways people of color were oppressed. But American schools spent $21.8 million on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs from spring 2020 to January 2022 according to Newsweek. Why? What good will it do? Will it cast evil out of hearts and minds? And if it cannot, why bother? 

In the 2020s, an industry of DEI consultants and services has sprung up, with schools spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on audits and consulting projects which often report similar findings. Audits often report that more black students than white students get suspended or face other disciplinary action in the district. They report an underrepresentation of black students in advanced classes, and and say that teachers don’t teach enough on DEI initiatives. Teachers need to understand and realize their own racial bias and white privilege.

Michigan Capitol Confidential reported in May that Birmingham Public Schools paid Hanover Research, a DEI consultant, $176,000 for its services. The University of Michigan is partially funded with taxpayer dollars, and it spent $11 million on DEI programs in 2018-19. Farmington Public Schools hired the firm US2 and paid it $75,000 to produce a DEI report. 

On its website, US2 has absurd memes addressing terms such as “saneism,” “intellectual privilege,” “systemic familialism” and “lookism privilege.”

Grand Ledge Public Schools hired Dorinda Carter Andrews, a critical race theory professor at Michigan State University, and paid her $200 per hour to assist with DEI curriculum. Rochester Community Schools gave its DEI instruction officer a 40% raise in 2020, from $90,249 in 2019 to $126,672.

Yet all one has to do is to look at the recently released nation’s report card to see that while schools are focusing time and energy on teaching the alleged evils of capitalism, academic performance has plummeted. There are only so many hours in the school day.

Time spent on DEI is taken away from core skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. What good is it doing?

Jamie A. Hope is assistant managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email her at


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.