Last July we highlighted the fact that the main organization running Florida’s school choice system, Step Up For Students, was aligned with far left radicals. At the time, they had a prominent page promoting Black Lives Matter and stating that they will use their platform to be “agents of change…on the frontlines of eradicating systemic and institutionalized racism and injustice.” The statement also went on to say “[w]e are committed to finding even more ways to combat racism and move toward equity.”

One of the key people working for Step Up For Students was their now former employee Dr. Tammy Hodo who was their Chief Equity and Belonging Officer, who tried to segregate students by race and believes “systemic racism and white privilege have shaped the American way of life.” After our article was released exposing this, we saw that Step Up For Students had redirected links to their page dedicated to BLM to send viewers to their homepage instead. They also erased all traces of Dr. Tammy Hodo from their website. After multiple attempts to reach out to Step Up For Students, we were unable to find out if Dr. Hodo was in fact still employed by them. Now, we are able to confirm that Step Up For Students has parted ways with Dr. Tammy Hodo since finding that she has updated her LinkedIn page to show that her term at Step Up For Students ended in January of 2022.

While this is good news, the fact remains that Step Up For Students is still run by, and employs, some of the most radical leftist influencers in education, they just don’t want their radicalism highly publicized being primarily in the state of Florida. Some of the most radical leftist educational professionals are essentially running the Florida school choice system. Just two examples of how leftist some of the individuals are who are in charge of Step Up For Students include the president of Step Up For Students, Doug Tuthill, and the Step Up For Students Assistant Director of External Affairs Keith Jacobs. 

“In November of 2019, Tuthill shared an article praising radical Ibram X. Kendi, calling him ‘refreshing and enlightening.’ In the article, Education Choice and ‘How to Be An Antiracist’, Tuthill acknowledges the positive influence of Malcolm X, Huey Newton, and other socialist groups (i.e. International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement a creation of the African People’s Socialist Party) on Kendi’s perspective of ‘the systemic nature of racism and anti-racism,’ but writes in a way that would allow him to cover up his own agenda if this were to ever be revealed and questioned. He is especially thankful for Owusu Sadaukai (also known as Howard Fuller), a cofounder of Malcolm X Liberation University, for his advocacy of education choice. Tuthill writes that because of Fuller, ‘today’s education choice movement is deeply grounded in an anti-racist and anti-poverty agenda,’ and Fuller and other ‘social justice warriors in the early education choice movement’ led Tuthill to join the movement today.”

In his article, Choice is Empowering, Not Racist, Jacobs asserts that, ‘systemic racism is interwoven into the fabric of public education because it was a linchpin in establishing it over 400 years ago,’ and that ‘systemic racism persists today.’ Jacobs discreetly gives a shout out to the 1619 Project, and advocates for his readers to ‘take a historical approach to analyze the long and hard struggle for equity and equality…’”

Although Step Up For Students appears to have parted ways with Dr. Tammy Hodo, they are still a key organization of the radical left. Their leaders have not changed their beliefs, they merely parted ways with one of their most controversial employees who has been exposed. The fact that they hired an individual who promoted racially segregating students says everything about the organization, along with the fact that they are an organization that is led by individuals who praise the 1619 Project and Ibram X. Kendi. Only after we at The Locke Society highlighted their radical agenda did they delete pages dedicated to BLM and separate from one of their most publicly radical employees. School choice advocates, moderates, conservatives, and anyone that does not want radical leftists running education should not be fooled by this organization.