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Whether Frederick County Public Schools should spend taxpayer money on Deep Equity — a professional development program from the California-based Corwin company — was a topic of debate at Wednesday night's Board of Supervisors meeting.

Deep Equity is one of the resources used by the school division as part of staff training for its Equity Program, which was launched in the 2018-19 school year. The initiative aims to grow cultural and social empathy to ensure all students have access to rigorous learning experiences.

Board of Supervisor member Shawn Graber has been particularly outspoken about the Deep Equity material and was again on Wednesday night.

“I will not give one more dime to the school system until this program is removed from the school system,” Graber said, holding up the book "The Deep Equity Process" by Gary R. Howard, founder of the Deep Equity Program.

Graber also accused school officials of not being transparent with how they spend money allocated by the Board of Supervisors, and he reiterated that he would not vote to fund the school division above the bare-minimum required by the state until he receives a detailed, line-item school budget. Only receiving the bare-minimum from the county would represent a loss of about $50 million for the school division. Graber added that he wants the Board of Supervisors and School Board to meet to discuss the school division's operational and capital needs.

At the meeting he read aloud a passage from “The Deep Equity Process” that he finds particularly objectionable. The passage, which he has cited before, states that some white people "view the world through a single lens that is always right and always white. White supremacist hate groups represent one particularly hostile form of fundamentalist white identity, but there is also the Tea Party version that masks its racism with the guise of patriotism.”

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Submitted: Mar 28, 2021