The Lepanto Institute recently spoke with several Catholic educators from around the country who expressed concern that their diocesan schools were using evaluation tools provided by an organization that promotes LGBTQ ideologies. In the first place, they were unhappy that diocesan funds were being used to support an organization that was acting so clearly in opposition to Catholic moral teaching. But more directly, they were worried about what was included in the evaluations and how curricula could change based upon the recommendations of the evaluation company.
The evaluation company is called NWEA, formerly the Northwest Evaluation Association, and it describes itself as
“a research-based, not-for-profit organization that supports students and educators worldwide by creating assessment solutions that precisely measure growth and proficiency—and provide insights to help tailor instruction.”
According to a fact sheet found on NWEA’s website titled, “How Catholic Schools Partner with NWEA for Student Success,” NWEA is a partner with over 1,900 Catholic Schools in 84 dioceses, reaching 400,000 Catholic students. Furthermore, the fact sheet indicates that NWEA is a corporate sponsor of the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA).
The Lepanto Institute has attempted to identify which 84 dioceses are partnered with NWEA for assessments, and so far has been able to confirm the following 45 dioceses and archdioceses as partners:
- Des Moines
- Fort Wayne South Bend
- Galveston Houston
- Grand Rapids
- Green Bay
- Little Rock
- New York
- San Antonio
- St. Paul/Minneapolis
- Washington, DC
- Wheeling Charleston
The identities of the other 39 dioceses partnered with NWEA has proven more difficult to uncover, but this list serves as proof of concept. Clearly, NWEA is partnered with a great number of dioceses in the United States, which is deeply concerning in itself. If you would like to know if your diocese is partnering with NWEA and do not find it on this list, we encourage you to call your chancery and ask. And if you receive confirmation, please let us know and we will update our list.
On its “Policy and Advocacy” page, NWEA says, “We fight for bold, courageous policy changes that will move the needle for students and educators.” It’s unclear from the statement what sorts of “policy changes” NWEA is working toward, but an examination of their grants, articles, and partnerships indicates that NWEA is fostering the promotion of homosexual and transgender ideologies. So, if these are any indication, it is reasonable to conclude that (at least in part) the “policy changes” sought by NWEA includes sexual perversions.
On July 9, 2021, NWEA published a “product update” under the title, “Inclusion of Diverse Student Populations: A New Gender Option Available.” The opening line to the article explains it all:
“As part of NWEA’s commitment to DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility), we are now enabling our partners to use a new gender value (X) for those students who do not identify as male (M) or female (F).”
In an FAQ on the same page, wherein NWEA provides the question, “Why did NWEA decide to use the letter ‘X’?” NWEA explains that the decision was reached through a partnership with the pro-sodomy organization GLSEN:
“A: NWEA worked with GLSEN, an organization with over 30 years of expertise in creating affirming learning environments for LGBTQ youth, to make this decision. Their experience showed them that the term “non-binary” was limiting and not inclusive. GLSEN advised that “X” was at the top of the list for future considerations at the federal level. After exploring various options with GLSEN and listening to their research-driven guidance, we decided to move forward with their recommendation to use a singular X as the new/inclusive gender designator.” (emphasis added)
In addition to working with GLSEN on the development of LGBTQ-affirming identities, NWEA awards grants for programs developed to “support students who face barriers to academic achievement.” NWEA’s grant program called “Educators for Equity” specifically denies grants to any organization that “discriminate on the basis of … gender identity or expression (or) sexual orientation.”
By definition, this means that students and faculty/staff of the grant recipient have to be free to openly profess their sexual preferences, express those preferences, and even be allowed dress in clothing that is not reflective of their biological sex. One way to “fight for bold, courageous policy changes” is through financial enticements with ideological strings attached. This is especially concerning since NWEA is a “corporate sponsor” of the National Catholic Education Association.
In addition to partnering with GLSEN and awarding ideologically-shackled grants, NWEA has published several articles in favor of homosexual and transgender ideologies.
In October of 2020, NWEA published an article titled, “How to be an anti-racist teacher: Reduce bias in your curriculum.” In the article, the author explores the transformation of attitudes by transforming the curriculum, and illustrates this by giving an example from personal experience. The author then proceeds to explain how she has included queer and transgender authors in her curriculum:
“If any part of your curriculum requires reading text, it’s important to think about who wrote it, what’s happening in the text, and what both those things mean for students. In my class, I work extremely hard to represent a range of types of texts written by different people: We read things written by older people and younger people. We read things written by queer or trans authors as well as straight, cis authors.” (emphasis added)
In December of 2021, an article titled “How identity-affirming texts empower literacy education” provided a loose interview with NWEA scientists about how they are making “literacy assessment more equitable” by reaching “students with identity-affirming texts in the classroom.” Citing NWEA scientists Meg Guerreiro and Lauren Bardwell, the article identifies “gender identity” as part of NWEA’s definition of “identity-affirming.”
“What are identity-affirming passages?
Identity-affirming texts and passages are those that give all students the opportunity to see themselves reflected in what they’re reading. By introducing students to texts that portray characters and real-life people from diverse cultures and languages, varied family structures, a range of abilities and disabilities, and different gender identities, educators deepen the teaching of literacy by connecting it directly to students’ own lives and the lives of their peers.”
The rest of the article focused on the means by which assessment practices could adopt “identity affirming texts” and guiding curricular development to approach education in a similar manner. The article noted:
“At NWEA, Meg Guerreiro studies reading comprehension through an equity lens, working to create literacy assessments that accurately reflect not only the realities of reading instruction in the classroom, but also the realities of students’ lives and experiences.”
The inclusion of “gender identity” in this article with regard to NWEA’s assessments is deeply concerning here. Given its already-stated disposition toward homosexual and transgender ideologies, there is a grave danger for schools to use their assessments. If NWEA is working to “fight for bold, courageous policy changes” and those policy changes include LGBTQ ideologies, then any school using these assessment programs is subject to this ideological agenda.
In June of 2022, NWEA published an article titled, “Pride in our students, pride in ourselves: What you need to know to be an LGBTQ+ ally,” written by Kayla McLaughlin, NWEA’s Spanish solutions specialist. After pontificating in support of same-sex “marriage,” and the importance of furthering homosexual and transgender ideologies, the article concludes, “Our LGBTQ+ students have a right to see themselves reflected in classrooms and curricula.” The entire crux of the article, in fact, is the promotion of sexual perversion in classroom curricula. Beginning with the heading, “What you can do right now,” the article provides “practical” measures teachers can take to alter classrooms and lesson plans to align with the LGBTQ agenda, including working around institutions that are opposed to these gravely immoral ideologies. This paragraph summarizes the article’s intention:
“Maybe you want to make your classroom and lesson plans more inclusive of LGBTQ+ identities but are unsure of how to start. Maybe you work in a district that limits your ability to talk openly about LGBTQ+ topics and identities, but you want to support your LGBTQ+ students and colleagues as best you can. Maybe you’re both an educator and a member of the LGBTQ+ community who’s feeling isolated and overwhelmed. If any of those sound like you, here are some concrete actions you can take:”
Again, this is coming from an actual employee of NWEA.
Also in June of 2022, NEWA published an article by staff writer Erin Ryan, who identifies “as a Black, queer woman, mom, former teacher, children’s author, and kid lit nerd.” The article titled “20 LGBTQ+ books for K–12 readers during Pride Month and throughout the year” promotes books designed to groom toddlers and young adults in sodomy and transgenderism.
The first book on the list, aimed at preschoolers, is titled “Love Makes a Family.” Its description outlines its propagandistic goal to normalize sodomy-based families, saying:
“Whether a child has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each, this simple preschool read-aloud demonstrates that what’s most important in each family’s life is the love the family members share.”
The second book on NWEA’s list is titled, “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish.” The title and cover art provide all you need to know.
The book “Calvin,” recommended by NWEA in this article, is directed at children from Kindergarten through third grade. It’s about a little girl who believes she is actually a boy, and her parents help her change her entire wardrobe and her name.
Another recommended book is titled “The Pants Project.” Directed at pre-teens, its description reads:
“A touching, humorous story of strong-willed eleven-year-old Liv, who is determined to challenge his school’s terrible dress code and change his life. Inspire empathy and compassion (and a few laughs!) in young readers with this stunning middle-grade novel.
My name is Liv (Not Olivia)… I’m not technically a girl. I’m transgender. Which is a bit like being a Transformer.”
The book “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” is an LGBT romance novel directed at high school students. This is what the description of that book says:
“The queer romance we’ve been waiting for.”–Ms. Magazine
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the feeling took root–that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible.
But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father–despite his hard-won citizenship–Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.”
At the end of this article, Ryan cited an article written by Dr. Miah Daughtery, literacy director of content advocacy and design at NWEA, titled, “5 ways to support students’ access to diverse books.” In this article, Daugherty provides yet another NWEA-produced promotion of sodomy and transgenderism. She complained in the article that:
“many students are more likely to encounter a book with a primary character who is an animal or other nonhuman character (29.2 percent of total books) than a book including a primary character who is Black/African (11.9 percent of total books), Asian/Asian American (8.7 percent of total books), Latinx (5.3 percent of total books), a person with a disability (3.4 percent of total books), or LGBTQIAP (3.1 percent of total books).”
In August of 2022, Nathan Breeden, a project manager with NWEA, wrote an article on NWEA’s website titled “The power of allyship: 3 ways you can advocate for LGBTQ+ students.” The article is exactly what it seems to be, and yet again expresses various means by which teachers can adjust their classrooms and curricula to be more open and friendly to homosexuality and transgenderism. But to show the continuity of thought throughout the organization, it should be pointed out that midway through this article, Breeden encourages readers to consider incorporating the books suggested by Erin Ryan – books like “The Hips on the Drag Queen go Swish, Swish, Swish.” He wrote:
“To help students feel they belong, explicitly—and frequently—tell them that your classroom is a place where everyone is free to be who they truly are. Purposefully build in activities that allow students to express who they are and learn about the similarities and differences they have with others in the learning space. As you make curricular decisions, consider ways to include diverse perspectives in the books and topics you choose. NWEA writer Erin Ryan has curated a wonderful list of books with LGBTQ+ protagonists to get you started.”
In October of 2022, NWEA’s Kayla McLaughlin published another article promoting the grooming of students in LGBTQ indoctrination. The article titled “Supporting LGBTQ+ students today (and every day): Resources for National Coming Out Day” is exactly what the title suggests. It is an article that encourages teachers to affirm students in their sexual and gender confusion and provides resources like the pro-same-sex “marriage” organization, Human Rights Campaign, and GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network). The point is, this is yet another way in which NWEA is promoting, affirming, and advocating for homosexual and transgender ideologies.
Given NWEA’s firm and unwavering advocacy on behalf of sexual perversions, and its active work to groom, indoctrinate, and propagandize children as young as preschool in homosexual and transgender ideologies, there is no way any Catholic institution should have anything to do with this organization. Any dioceses, Catholic School or teacher that pays for NWEA assessments is helping to further the cause of LGBTQ activism and ideologies, regardless of whether any of that enters into those partnerships.
But the more worrisome element to this is whether LGBTQ ideologies have found their way into NWEA assessment tests, curriculum assessments, and recommended classroom adjustments. And given the pervasiveness of LGBTQ ideologies regarding NWEA activities and policies, especially its claim to “fight for bold, courageous policy changes that will move the needle for students and educators,” it is right to be suspicious of the ways in which NWEA may subtly incorporate such things in their partnerships with Catholic schools.
We encourage our readers, especially those with children in diocesan Catholic schools, to contact the dioceses and your local Catholic schools to see if NWEA is being used in your area. And if they are, we ask you to send them this article and demand they withdraw from partnering with NWEA.