Congress Moves to Tackle Woke Policies in Military Schools


Among the various national security liabilities created by the Biden administration, one often overlooked issue is the ideological shift in the schools serving children of America’s military servicemembers.

The former director of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) schools hired a woman with a known anti-white stance as its first chief of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI). DODEA oversees 160 schools on military bases globally, educating over 69,000 children of military personnel, and has arguably pioneered covert so-called gender transitions. In Bahrain, the school’s official Facebook account openly celebrated a pro-Hamas political activist.

Telling America’s servicemembers that “in exchange for your service, we will teach your children to reject your values” is an unacceptable proposition. Fortunately, Republicans in Congress are taking notice and working to change the governance of DODEA schools.

Following revelations from the Claremont Institute and Open the Books about the ideological “equity training” provided to teachers — including materials aimed to make children cry — congressional Republicans, led by Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., included a Servicemember Parents Bill of Rights in the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Amid controversies over training content and the corrupt practices of DODEA’s anti-white diversity officer, DODEA eliminated the position of chief diversity officer and seemed to dismantle its DEI department.

However, this elimination was superficial. As noted by Open the Books, DODEA chief Tom Brady discreetly established a secretive “DEI Steering Committee.” DODEA has resisted public records requests from Open the Books concerning the committee’s members and activities and also obstructed a congressional inquiry led by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.

Congressional Action

Banks proposed an amendment to the latest NDAA for fiscal 2025, which passed out of committee last Wednesday, to dismantle the DODEA DEI Steering Committee. More crucially, he proposed an amendment to launch a small school choice pilot program for 30 students at the DODEA school in Bahrain, which faces significant facilities issues and has allegedly supported an antisemitic activist endorsing Hamas.

Congressional Democrats strongly opposed Banks’ amendments. The latest NDAA expanded rights for service members with children in DODEA schools. Banks’ amendments could significantly alter congressional oversight of DODEA, dictating its management and potentially setting a precedent for extending school choice to all military service members’ children. The NDAA now awaits a full House vote and reconciliation with the Senate’s version before reaching the president.

About 20 years ago, congressional Republicans, notably Rep. John Boehner, recognized the failures of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and initiated a voucher program for D.C. students. Congress, wielding more authority over DODEA than DCPS, hasn’t traditionally exercised this power — likely to avoid admitting DODEA schools’ shortcomings. Given the generally high standardized test scores, past Congresses likely deemed it beneficial for national security not to interfere significantly.

However, with the Biden administration and DODEA Director Brady injecting DEI into its operations, it’s strategically sound for Congress to reassess. Banks’ proposal, although starting as a small pilot for 30 students, could pave the way for broader educational savings accounts for all military families if Republicans gain comprehensive legislative control.

Just as school choice for D.C. students has been a key Republican priority, so too should it be for children of America’s military service members.

Amy Haywood
Amy Haywood
Amy Haywood is a former senior legislative assistant for a U.S. House representative. She writes The Primary Educator newsletter, which can be found at

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