AERA Joins Letter Urging Administration to Rescind Series of Actions Limiting Diversity Training in Federal Agencies
AERA Joins Letter Urging Administration to Rescind Series of Actions Limiting Diversity Training in Federal Agencies

October  2020

On October 7, AERA and 49 other scientific organizations sent a letter to Russell Vought, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to urge the Trump administration to rescind elimination of federal employee training programs related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The letter highlights research and data, including from AERA publications, that demonstrate a need for developing a diverse STEM workforce and addressing the underrepresentation of women and racial and ethnic minorities within it. In addition, the letter notes the benefits that evidence-based diversity and inclusion training provide for promoting positive workplace climates.

“Federal employees, contractors and recipients of federal grants are at the core of the U.S. research and development (R&D) ecosystem, and they play a crucial role in creating a diverse scientific workforce,” said the letter. “While there has been progress, the participation of women and racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. scientific and technical workforce does not reflect the diversity of our population. Their underrepresentation negatively impacts the U.S. R&D enterprise by depriving it of diverse perspectives that are shown to boost innovation and productivity.”

The letter aligns with a statement issued in September by AERA and the National Academy of Education in support of anti-racist education.

The October 7 letter is in response to a September 4 memorandum from OMB that stated the intent to prevent the use of federal funding for diversity training. Subsequently, the Trump administration issued an executive order, “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,” setting forth requirements for federal agencies and contractors that provide diversity and inclusion training. The letter also responds to a second memorandum from OMB on September 28 that provided guidance to agencies on implementing the executive order, including cataloging any federal training by agencies and contractors on diversity and inclusion trainings that they have held.

The September 28 memo states that federal agencies should also review grants and cooperative agreements for the “divisive concepts” labeled in the executive order and calls for updates to guidance, practices, and procedures. The Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued a request for information on October 22 to gather information from federal contractors and subcontractors on diversity and inclusion training.


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