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.
— Dan Weisberg (@DanWeisbergTNTP) June 16, 2021
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.
— Dan Weisberg (@DanWeisbergTNTP) February 10, 2021
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.
" . . . advanced by neoliberals and conservatives, not to mention the centuries of white supremacy on which the nation was founded." (OK, I'd include us plain old liberals as sharing responsibility for structural inequity.)
— Dan Weisberg (@DanWeisbergTNTP) December 10, 2018
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.
– – –