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.
While the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s mission statement is vague, its rhetoric elsewhere indicates that it aims to overhaul schools to prioritize racial awareness.
Abolitionist Teaching Network’s mission is to develop and support those in the struggle for educational freedom utilizing the intellectual work and direct action of Abolitionists in many forms,” the group’s website states.
But in the materials referenced by the Department of Education, the group outlines how “Abolitionist Teachers” should guide students toward “Abolitionist” social and emotional learning.