Tennessee Education Commissioner $8 Million Contract with Company Where Husband Works Has CEO That Supports Critical Race Theory, ‘Anti-Racist’ Teaching



Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn awarded an $8.06 million contract to a company whose CEO supports Critical Race Theory and anti-racism in classrooms. As The Tennessee Star reported previously, Schwinn’s husband works at The New Teacher Project (TNTP) as well.

TNTP CEO Dan Weisberg has posted frequently about his support for Critical Race Theory and anti-racist teaching. Weisberg tweeted articles showing his support for the two ideologies five times in the last month, as of this publication.

As recently as Tuesday, Weisberg shared an article from The Hill claiming that Critical Race Theory was a hard history of racism and slavery in America, and that it was necessary for students to be uncomfortable with that presentation of history. He shared another article expressing a similar message last week.

Last month, Weisberg retweeted an article that accused those against Critical Race Theory of misconstruing the ideology, repeatedly calling the legislators who ban the theory “racists” and “White supremacists” and those who support the bans “cronies.” Weisberg commended the author for putting forth “powerful arguments.”

The article claimed that Critical Race Theory teaches the “whole truth of history” and doesn’t depict America as evil. The article also claimed that anti-racism actually teaches empathy – not the complicit guilt or hatred of White people.

Further, the article claimed that White people claiming to be victims in response to this ideology are part of “an evil legacy” of White supremacy that terrorizes Black people.

In February, Weisberg shared a resource from Innovate Public Schools titled “Seen and Affirmed: What Black Educators and Students Need to Thrive.” The report said that in order to solve systemic racism, schools should incorporate concepts like anti-racism, cultural responsiveness, inclusivity, and implicit bias recognition.

In the wake of George Floyd’s death last year, Weisberg shared TNTP’s post decrying systemic racism and announcing allegiance with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Several months later, Weisberg reaffirmed his support for the BLM movement by stating that it should be part of education.

“Important perspective from @selmekki for those of us aspiring to be [White] allies: ‘As a Black educator, the answer is clear to me: in order to ensure that Black Lives Matter, we must ensure that Black Minds Matter. We must start with our schools,'” wrote Weisberg.

Weisberg’s views on systemic inequality and racism appear to be consistent over the years. One of his biggest studies and public engagement strategies since his appointment in 2015, The Opportunity Myth, touched on concepts of systemic inequity and racism.

“‘[T]his is The Opportunity Myth. ‘We tell kids that if they don’t succeed, it’s their fault – not the inevitable outcome of a decades-old program of structural cruelty advanced by neoliberals and conservatives, not to mention centuries of White supremacy on which the nation was founded.’ (OK, I’d include us plain old liberals as sharing responsibility for structural inequity),” wrote Weisberg.


As part of their contract with Tennessee, TNTP – formerly called “The New Teacher Project” – is providing educator training for Pre-kindergarten through fourth grade reading skills.

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) didn’t respond to The Star with comment by press time.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Dan Weisberg” by The New Teacher Project.






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17 Thoughts to “Tennessee Education Commissioner $8 Million Contract with Company Where Husband Works Has CEO That Supports Critical Race Theory, ‘Anti-Racist’ Teaching”

  1. Jay

    Agree the gov needs to take out the trash.

  2. Mike

    This governor must go!!

  3. Mark Knofler

    Penny Schwinn, yet another Bill Lee weak link. People have been raising the red flag with her since day one, yet she’s still there. What is Gov Lee scared of? #VotetheBumsOut!

    1. Wholey Mozees

      Looks like Bill Lee has been bought and paid for. You shouldn’t be able to buy someone with his money, but looks like it happens ?

  4. Karen

    Looks like Schwinn is up to her old tricks again. She obviously didn’t learn much from her past scandals in Texas. Lee failed to do his homework when he hired Schwinn. Many of us in Tennessee DID do our homework and Schwinn came to TN with a ton of baggage that Lee decided to ignore. She needs to go and we need a new Governor as well.

  5. LM

    Keep on trying to shove lies down children’s throats. Parents are going to keep on pulling their children out of public schools.

  6. Nancy

    The governor should terminate the commissioner immediately! This has the appearance of a conflict of interests. Governor Lee are you paying attention to your commissioner and the bad optics?

  7. Truthy McTruthFace

    schwinn must go

  8. M Peterson

    You realize that theories on the impact of socialized racism are not illegal, right?

    1. Chris

      Where’s the allegation of illegality to which you refer?

    2. Horatio Bunce

      Awarding $8M no-bid contracts in taxpayer funds is illegal.
      Awarding contracts in taxpayer funds to your husband’s company is quite possibly illegal. At best it is the appearance of impropriety.

      That people want to defend these all-white grifters and can’t see they are the actual cronies of today, stealing from us all right now…well, no public school class is going to fix that.

      1. Chris

        The article doesn’t say the contract was awarded on a no-bid basis.

        There are no allegations as to the impropriety of the award of the contract or any short-cutting of the legal requirements for it.

    3. Karen Bracken

      What they are teaching is cultural marxism and in America that could be considered treason.

    4. Kendra Tilley

      Many things we do are legal but that doesn’t make them the right thing to do.

    5. Wolf Woman

      M Peterson, socialists don’t care about legal or illegal. It’s all about their “cultural revolution” and the money they can make off it.

    6. WholeyMozees

      Neither is taking a crap in the woods !!