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A handbook with guidance for reopening schools prepared by the Biden administration included a hyperlink to a radical group called the Abolitionist Teaching Network that advocates for teachers to “disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression.”
A report from Fox News outlines the controversial positions of the group promoted by the Department of Education, including doing away with “all punitive or disciplinary practices that spirit murder Black, Brown, and Indigenous children” in classrooms.
The Abolitionist Teaching Network has a list of “demands” on its website including “[f]ree, antiracist therapy for White educators and support staff,” and its co-founder Bettina Love has said, “If you don’t recognize that White supremacy is in everything we do, then we got a problem,” adding, “I want us to be feared.”
Love also said her network would “create a national database of antiracist school counselors, therapists and lawyers,” and would make available “activists in residence” for school districts deemed to be in need of them.
The activist in residence position is advertised on the website as a $30,000-a-year job with 20 hours of work a week that includes canvassing as well as “creating media and propaganda.”
The controversial group was linked to by the DOE in its reopening handbook in a section related to students’ academic, social and emotional needs. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan provided $122 billion of aid to schools, 20% of which must go to programs such as those offered by the Abolitionist Teaching Network.
After declining to respond to Fox News prior to the publication of the story, the DOE scrambled to explain its actions Wednesday in a statement that read, “The Department does not endorse the recommendations of this group, nor do they reflect our policy positions. It was an error in a lengthy document to include this citation.”
The bombshell story represents a new turn in the debate over critical race theory in US schools. Though the Abolitionist Teaching Network does not use that precise term, its racial rhetoric is consistent with CRT, which several states are working to remove from school curriculums.
Despite the DOE’s denial that it supports the policies of the group it promoted in its handbook, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this month that there is “systemic racism” in American learning institutions that must be addressed.
It is not clear how many of the over 10,000 school districts that received the DOE handbook have sought services from the Abolitionist Teaching Network, but its website offers links for training such as “Resources for Agitators” and “Radical Self Care.”
In response to the Fox News story, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweeted, “The Biden White House is ruled by the radical left – and they will stop at nothing to brainwash our kids through Critical Race Theory.”
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