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Aurora school district: No program allowed that doesn’t prioritize DEI

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(The Center Square) – Aurora Public Schools published a document that stated the district will not implement any program that doesn’t prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion.

The board presented the document at its March 5 work session. The document states: “The Superintendent may not allow implementation or adoption of any program that does not prioritize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”

The response from Superintendent Michael Giles states: “I interpret this limitation as an expectation of the BOE that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are centered in all major decisions of the district. There must be a clear understanding of what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are at the leadership level and throughout the system. There must be a framework for understanding the concepts and using that understanding to guide all major decisions to adopt and/or implement programs.”

“There must be systems and structures of accountability to ensure that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are centered in making those decisions,” he added. “The ultimate desire is that DEI are embedded in the culture of APS and guide decisions at all levels and across all departments.”

The district didn’t respond to The Center Square’s email seeking comment.

The district hired Jaelyn Coates as its executive director of DEI in September. The district advertised the salary as a range between $82 and $117 an hour, which equates to an annual salary of $170,500 to $243,300, according to job postings. Coates is listed among the district’s top 11 administrators. The starting salary for a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $59,000, according to the district.

Aurora Public Schools teacher Bryan Lindstrom previously made national news for comments on teaching critical race theory.

In June 2021, Lindstrom posted on X: “I’m going on record now: At the end of the day it’s just my students and me in our classroom and we will be discussing race, class and gender in my history classes, regardless of what laws and policies people want to pass. Critical race theory is a component of everything I do.”

In May 2023, Fox News reported that Lindstrom, also a union organizer, introduced a resolution to “dismantle capitalism and replace it with a new, equitable economic system.”

Lindstrom is running for House District 36.

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