The Department of Education said it was an "error" to reference a radical activist group's guidelines that used language commonly associated with critical race theory in the COVID-19 reopening handbook.
The department's handbook, which is intended to help schools across the country safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, previously linked to the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s "Guide for Racial Justice & Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning," which includes guidelines such as "a commitment to learning from students, families, and educators who disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression," according to the group's virtual manual. After receiving backlash over the citation from Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, anti-CRT activists, and others, the department spoke out.
"The Department does not endorse the recommendations of this group, nor do they reflect our policy positions," a DOE spokesperson said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. "It was an error in a lengthy document to include this citation."
As of Thursday, it appeared the handbook no longer linked to the ATN guidelines. The link was visible in the department's manual Wednesday morning.
Founded in July last year by author and professor Bettina Love, ATN said it released a guide one month later for "racial justice and abolitionist social and emotional learning," noting it has been downloaded "thousands of times and used in hundreds of schools already," according to its webpage.
The ATN guidelines also list "demands" in its manual, including "free, antiracist therapy for White educators and support staff." While the group's guide uses rhetoric often associated with critical race theory, it does not specifically mention the doctrine in its information or webpage.
Love said her group is "dedicated to not creating new schools or reimagining schools, but destroying schools that do nothing but harm Black and brown children" during a webinar in October.
"If you don’t recognize that White supremacy is in everything we do, then we got a problem," Love said.
Critical race theory and other closely related ideologies hold that the United States is inherently racist and that skin color is used to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites. Critics claim it relegates all white people to the role of oppressors and all people of color to that of victims.
At least eight states in the union have passed some form of legislation against teaching the concepts embedded in critical race theory doctrine, including Idaho, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, and New Hampshire.
Arizona and Idaho are the only states that explicitly mention "critical race theory" in bills limiting its teaching, as other states have focused more specifically on barring educators from teaching that the country, certain people, or institutions are inherently racist.
The Washington Examiner contacted ATN for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese