The lead author of The New York Times’ 1619 Project Nikole Hannah-Jones is officially launching her 1619 Freedom School in her home state of Iowa and is asserting that it will teach black history, not Critical Race Theory.
“We’re not teaching Critical Race Theory,” Hannah-Jones claimed, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. “Parents will opt into the program if they believe in what we’re doing. And if they don’t, they won’t. I don’t understand how one can criticize an effort to help children to become more literate and excel academically.”
“It’s not enough to succeed if your community is struggling. You have to try to pull people up with you. I am so proud to announce the launch of the 1619 Freedom School in my hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, labeled in 2018 the worst place in U.S. to be black,” she stated.
“I used many lessons learned from years of reporting on segregated, high-poverty schools to found the 1619 Freedom School, a free, after-school program that infuses intensive literacy instruction with a black history curriculum.”
The school’s motto will be “Liberation Through Literacy,” Hannah-Jones said. “We have partnered with educators from Georgetown University and the University of Missouri to design a literacy curriculum built around black history.”
It’s not enough to succeed if your community is struggling. You have to try to pull people up with you. I am so proud to announce the launch of the 1619 Freedom School in my hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, labeled in 2018 the worst place in U.S. to be Black. https://t.co/e1OJyxdfJs.
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) August 31, 2021
Our curriculum, custom-designed by educators from Georgetown and the University of Missouri will be made available as free and open source for anyone who wants to teach it beginning in 2022.
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) August 31, 2021
It will ostensibly be a free after-school program that will be conducted five days a week and combines reading skills with black history according to Fox News. Hannah-Jones claims it is not affiliated with the 1619 Project.
“The 1619 Freedom School is built on the understanding that for a people for whom it was once illegal to learn to read and write, education is a revolutionary act,” declared Hannah-Jones. “A quality education has been the key to my success and I wanted to give back to the community that raised me and to the children whose opportunities may be limited but who have potential that is limitless. Through this school, we will provide our students the type of education and support they have always deserved.”
The program is allegedly privately funded and will be used by grade-school students in the Waterloo school district. It will accept up to 30 children but claims there is room to grow the Des Moines Register reported.
It will primarily serve fourth-grade students from Walter Cunningham Elementary.
“The research shows that students need literary instruction going all the way up through high school,” Hannah-Jones commented. “Low-income kids, who are the most behind in reading, need the most literacy support, so this program intends to get cohorts of students in fourth grade and follow them and continue to offer support as they go up through their academic career.”
The program’s website touts it as “liberating instruction centered on Black American history.”
“We’re going to do a soft launch starting in October at Cunningham with a small number of students,” Hannah-Jones announced. The full program begins in January at the historic downtown Masonic Temple. Plans are already in place for a second location in the community center at All-In Grocers, which is a black-owned store set to open in 2022.
“We will accept any student who has a need up to our capacity. We don’t discriminate based on students’ race,” she noted. Through test scores, “we know that the overwhelming need is for black students.”
Hannah-Jones’ defensive statement on Critical Race Theory follows Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signing a bill into law in June that is meant to target the “discriminatory indoctrination” in CRT.
A spokesperson for Reynolds contends she stands by the bill. “I am proud to have worked with the Legislature to promote learning, not discriminatory indoctrination,” she said.
Parents and conservatives nationwide are alarmed by the 1619 Project’s stated goal to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States’ national narrative.”
Hannah-Jones’ school takes its name from the “freedom schools” that rose up during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The schools taught black children about black history and how to fight back against discrimination. The school’s colors, which are black, red, and green, also represent those of the black nationalist flag so the students can “evoke a sense of pride in their culture.”
“We’re intentional with everything that we’re doing with this … to teach children to fight for their own liberation and to show them that they have a deep, storied past that they can be proud of,” Hannah-Jones told the Register. “The literature on this is very clear that when black students are exposed to black history, they excel — they do better, academically.”
Many are suspicious of the school’s racially-based teachings:
Oh yeah teaching youth the evils of America. I’m sure that’ll go well.
— Dasan (@Dasan61819579) September 2, 2021
Brain washing academy
— Andrew (@APar1986) September 2, 2021
This school will definitely not qualify for Iowa State Knowledge Bowl.
— tennesseedarlin 🇺🇸 (@tennesseedarlin) September 2, 2021
This is ridiculous teaching misinformation to kids. These are the people that divide our country!
— Ginasd (@Gjina12345) September 2, 2021
The grifter that keeps on grifting.
— oof (@croncrete) September 2, 2021
— IWatchYou (@SpyYou2) September 2, 2021
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