The Biden administration blamed an “error” Wednesday after promoting a radical activist group’s handbook that pushes critical race theory in schools and calls on educators to “disrupt Whiteness.”
“The Department does not endorse the recommendations of this group, nor do they reflect our policy positions,” the Department of Education (DOE) said in a statement. “It was an error in a lengthy document to include this citation.”
DOE linked to the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s “Guide for Racial Justice & Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning” in its handbook intended as a “roadmap” for schools to reopen safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Abolitionist Teaching promotes justice, healing, joy, and liberation for all Black, Brown, and Indigenous folx, inclusive of all intersecting identities,” the group’s guide states. It calls on educators to “[r]emove all punitive or disciplinary practices that spirit murder Black, Brown, and Indigenous children” and to “[b]uild a school culture that engages in healing and advocacy.”
“This requires a commitment to learning from students, families, and educators who disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression,” it states.
The guide also claims that social and emotional learning (SEL) “can be a covert form of policing used to punish, criminalize, and control Black, Brown, and Indigenous children and communities to adhere to White norms,” and that “[m]ost SEL standards are rooted in Eurocentric norms, not to empower, love, affirm, or free Black, Brown, or Indigenous children.”
DOE’s handbook currently links to the group’s guide in a section about meeting the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students.
“It is important for educators to recognize that social and emotional competencies can be expressed differently across cultures, especially considering that young students of color are living through, witnessing, and making sense of historic moments in American history and their place in it,” the department’s handbook states.
“Schools are microcosms of society; therefore, culturally responsive practices, intentional conversations related to race and social emotional learning, and helping students understand the skills they are building in school are the foundation for participating in a democracy and should be anchor tenets in building a schoolwide system of educational opportunity.”
While the Abolitionist Teaching Network, co-founded last year by author and professor Bettina Love, does not explicitly mention critical race theory in its guide promoted by the Biden administration, the idea that racism is not aberrational and that America’s institutions are inherently racist are commonly held tenets of the theory.
The network “is dedicated to not creating new schools or reimagining schools, but destroying schools that do nothing but harm Black and brown children,” Love said during a welcome webinar in October. “If you don’t recognize that White supremacy is in everything we do, then we got a problem.”
Fox News’ Ethan Barton contributed to this report.