Donald Trump‘s education secretary on Thursday said her successor’s policies are ‘as far left as they come’, and accused the Biden administration of promoting divisive and dangerous ideas.
The Biden administration promoted a handbook urging teachers to ‘disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression’ in their Department of Education guidance on reopening schools, it has been revealed. They said it was an error: Betsy DeVos disagreed
Betsy DeVos spoke after the White House was forced to admit it had made an ‘error’ by promoting a group that pushes teachers to ‘disrupt Whiteness and oppression’.
Department of Education guidance on reopening schools had linked to the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s ‘Guide for Racial Justice & Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning’ in a section describing how schools are a ‘microcosm of society’ and conversations essential to ‘race and emotional learning’ should be ‘anchor tenets’ in schools.
DeVos said she was convinced it was not an error, and was rather a deliberate attempt to politicize the Department of Education.
‘This notion that it was a mistake is an absolute falsehood,’ she said.
‘Having been there at the department for four years and working through the approval processes for anything that is put out from the department, I know full well that there were eyes on and full knowledge of this going on.
‘We saw earlier this year, the grant process the department put out that basically was trying to bribe schools into using the 1619 Project in their materials,’ she added.
‘So this is just another reflection of the true nature of the Biden Department of Education. It’s just preposterous.’
Betsy DeVos appeared on Fox News on Thursday to discuss the new handbook
She added: ‘This Department of Education under the Biden administration is about as far left as you can imagine.’
She said parents should ‘continue to raise their voices’ and not give in to the officials from teaching unions.
‘This ideology is insidious everywhere, and there is a lot of momentum behind it.’
Earlier on Thursday Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, appeared to distance Biden from the group that produced the booklet even further.
‘The specific site does not endorse – does not represent – the administration’s view, and we don’t endorse the recommendations of this group,’ Psaki said, adding that the controversial mention has ‘been removed or in the process of being removed.’
Psaki said the federal government does not ‘dictate or recommend specific curriculum decisions’ in schools, a decision she maintained was up to state and local governments.
‘We believe the American people trust teachers to make those decisions, not the government,’ the press secretary said.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki distanced the White House from the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s controversial ideals on Thursday, but minimized the group’s impact on the overall document as a ‘citation in a report of which there are a thousand citations’
However, she minimized the radical group’s impact on the document, categorizing it as a ‘citation in a report of which there are a thousand citations.’
As the administration attempts to distance itself, a new report uncovered connections that Biden’s deputy education secretary and a senior adviser to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona have to Abolitionist Teaching Network’s co-founder Bettina Love.
Deputy Education chief Cindy Marten was allegedly in charge of the San Diego school system when the district paid Love more than $10,000 for a speaking event, documents obtained by Fox News purport to show.
Marten was nominated to her post in February but was only confirmed in May, a month after the DOE’s handbook was published.
Senior Advisor for Policy and Planning Donna Harris-Aikens served as a senior director at teachers union National Education Association when it hosted Love as a speaker in June 2020.
The government document published this year linked to the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s ‘Guide for Racial Justice & Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning’ in a section describing how schools are a ‘microcosm of society’ and conversations essential to ‘race and emotional learning’ should be ‘anchor tenets’ in schools
Abolitionist Teaching Network says that schools 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
Love is clearly featured on the union’s event advertisements, and Harris-Aikens’ LinkedIn confirms her leadership role at the time.
The Department of Education handbook on how to welcome children back to classrooms following COVID states that schools have a share of $122 billion in funding from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Its introduction includes ways to help students ‘for whom the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing inequities’.
Abolitionist Teaching Network says that schools 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.’
Their website also has various resources that link to ideas often associated with critical race theory – however they don’t mention it by name.
‘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 website states.
According to Fox, co-founder Love said during a webinar earlier this year she would ‘create a national database of antiracist school counselors, therapists and teachers.
She also said the organization is ‘dedicated to not creating new schools or reimagining schools, but destroying schools that do nothing but harm Black and brown children’.
If you don’t recognize that White supremacy is in everything we do, then we got a problem,’ Love said. ‘I want us to be feared.’
In September 2020, according to reports, she also conducted diversity training for managers and principals during which she said schools ‘didn’t see Black people as humans and were anti-Black.
Two officials within Biden’s Education Department are reportedly linked to the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s co-founder through previously held positions. Cindy Marten (left) is deputy education secretary while Donna Harris-Aikens (right) serves as a senior adviser to Secretary Miguel Cardona
Abolitionist Teaching Network co-founder Bettina Love previously said the organization is ‘dedicated to not creating new schools or reimagining schools, but destroying schools that do nothing but harm Black and brown children’
An advertisement for a National Education Association event from June 2020 promoted Bettina Love as speaker when Harris-Aikens was serving as a senior director there