By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy
Until recently, the California Department of Education paid Daniel Lee over $160,000 to serve as the state’s “Superintendent of Equity.” He was responsible for promoting social justice and racial equity within the California public school system.
However, public outrage led to his resignation on December 14, 2021.
First, one may think that a high-ranking California public official would reside in, or at least have a connection to, California. However, Daniel Lee had no residence in California, and instead lived in Philadelphia, Pa. for his entire tenure as Superintendent of Equity, according to Politico.
The California Dept. of Education says that staff can “live elsewhere only under rare circumstances where out-of-state residency is required for the job,” but never explained why an exception was made for Mr. Lee. Politico also reviewed a resume from Lee but was unable to find any prior work experience in California or ties to any California school districts.
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Lee also had little experience in the fields of diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is a psychologist, life coach, and self-help author, but never held any official positions related to equity.
Finally, the California Dept. of Education never publicly posted the job, as is their standard procedure for most openings.
So, California appointed a psychologist from Philadelphia to lead their equity efforts. While there are many questions regarding his hiring, one thing we do know: Lee is good friends with Tony Thurmond, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
They used to work together as social workers in Philadelphia. Lee even attended Thurmond’s wedding.
While Thurmond denies nepotism played any role in Lee’s hiring, the people of California deserve qualified leadership, and they certainly deserve more transparency.
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