The Biden administration’s guidance for school reopening promoted a radical activist group’s handbook that advocates for educators to “disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression.”
The Department of Education linked to the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s “Guide for Racial Justice & Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning” in its handbook intended to help schools reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic and recommend how they should spend billions of dollars they collectively received through the American Rescue Plan.
The Abolitionist Teaching Network’s website includes links to various materials and media that include language often associated with critical race theory, though the group avoids using the exact phrase.
“Abolitionist Teachers” should “[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,” the group states in its guide.
Critical race theory advocates have argued that the doctrine is not being taught in public schools and that opponents’ complaints are overwrought. But a number of the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s board members and associated activists are current or former educators who push for race-related reform in public schools.
In the materials referenced by the Department of Education, the group outlines how “Abolitionist Teachers” should guide students toward “Abolitionist” social and emotional learning.
In addition to finding educators committed to disrupting Whiteness, the guide states that teachers should remove “all punitive or disciplinary practices that spirit murder Black, Brown, and Indigenous children.”