The Biden administration called it an “error” to promote a guide by a group espousing critical race theory in an Education Department handbook meant for use in over 13,000 public school districts on recommendations and policies for school reopenings, Fox News reported.
The activist group, Abolitionist Teaching Network, has connections to at least two high-ranking officials in the Biden administration’s Education Department, Fox reported. It is unclear why Abolitionist Teaching Network was mentioned in the April handbook and who added the hyperlink.
The Education Department backtracked on promoting the guide and its link to the group in a written statement to Fox on Wednesday that said: “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.”
One of the known connections, Deputy Education Secretary Cindy Marten, was in charge of the San Diego school system when author, professor, and Abolitionist Teaching Network co-founder Bettina Love spoke at an event in August 2020 for $11,000, according to an agreement and financial records, Fox News reported.
President Joe Biden nominated Marten in February, but the handbook wasn’t published until April, a month after she was confirmed to the Education Department position.
Acting Assistant Secretary Donna Harris-Aikens heads the office responsible for the Education Department handbook and was a senior director at the largest teachers union, the National Education Association, according to her LinkedIn account, when Love spoke at an event in June 2020 that discussed “addressing anti-Blackness and achieving educational freedom,” Fox reported.
The Education Department handbook that details how schools can safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic linked to Abolitionist Teaching Network’s “Guide for Racial Justice & Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning.”
The guide promotes talking points on critical race theory that include instructing educators to “disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression,” “remove all punitive or disciplinary practices that spirit murder Black, Brown, and Indigenous children,” and provide “free, antiracist therapy for White educators and support staff.”
Abolitionist Teaching Network does not specifically use the term “critical race theory,” but touches on many of its common themes, which hold that America is fundamentally racist yet teach people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Adherents of critical race theory pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth, and adoption of race-based policies.
One San Diego elementary school spent $256 on copies of Love’s book “We Want To Do More Than Survive,” a spreadsheet of purchase orders for the school system shows, Fox News reported. A description of her book says it “argues that the U.S. educational system is maintained by and profits from the suffering of children of color.”
The Education Department handbook on reopening schools linked to Abolitionist Teaching Network’s guide in a section about the social and mental well-being of students, Fox reported.
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