Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday brushed off, and at one point even joked about, a story that revealed the Education Department’s promotion of the Abolitionist Teaching Network — while refusing to say whether the White House will ensure that the group’s critical race theory resources are not used in schools.
Fox News’ Peter Doocy began a question to Psaki saying, “Now that the Education Department admits that they made a mistake in their guide for reopening schools,” at which point Psaki interrupted, asking, “How so?”
“Well,” Doocy went on, “they included advice from the Abolitionist Teaching Network and they came out and said that’s not supposed to be in there,” he explained, referring to a response to the story first reported by Fox on Wednesday.
“Is the administration going to follow up with school districts to make sure that the Abolitionist Teaching Network materials is not in lesson plans?” he asked.
Psaki snarkily answered, “Just to be clear, for the context, because I know you love context, what you’re asking about here, what you’re referring to was a citation in a report of which there were a thousand citations.
She then quipped, “And so I’m quite impressed with your researchers for finding one in a thousand citations.”
In fact, the citation in question was a hyperlink in the DOE’s guidance for school reopening sent to over 10,000 school districts that took users directly to the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s website, which advocates for white teachers to have anti-racist therapy and offers employment opportunities for “activists in residence” whose job it is to “create media and propaganda.”
Pressed by Doocy on the concern that schools may have already implemented the materials from the website Psaki said, “We don’t dictate or recommend specific curriculum decisions from the federal government,” despite the fact that the link was provided in the context of DOE reopening recommendations.
The group’s founder, Bettina Love, can also be seen on video saying, “If you don’t recognize that white supremacy is in everything we do, then we got a problem,” adding, “I want us to be feared.”
In June of 2020, Deputy Education Secretary Cindy Marten was head of the San Diego school system when it paid Love $11,000 for a speaking engagement.
After the story broke on Wednesday the DOE offered a statement which read, “The Department does not endorse the recommendations of this group, nor do they reflect our policy positions. It was an error in a lengthy document to include this citation.” By late Wednesday night the link had been replaced.
In response to the DOE admission of error, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, the head of the Republican Attorneys General Association, tweeted, “This is big win for parents. The Biden Administration is walking back its rule making and calling radical ties an error largely because @RepublicanAGs pressured them to do the right thing.