President Joe Biden has appointed a critical race theory activist to a position at the Department of Education at a time when parents are increasingly showing up at local school board meetings around the country to rail against the controversial and divisive curriculum, which has also drawn the attention of the Justice Department.
The appointment of Precious McKesson as a special assistant to the department’s Office of Communication and Outreach — a posting not subject to Senate consent — is likely to spur even more debate and criticism from Republicans and others who are concerned about the addition of the race-based curriculum in public schools.
McKesson has been a vocal advocate for the theory, which claims that all U.S. institutions were implemented during a time of slavery and therefore are inherently racist against persons of color, regardless of constitutional and legal advances regarding civil rights and equality since the country’s founding. She has also been critical of Republicans and conservatives for being opposed to CRT.
“Republicans … have made CRT a political boogeyman without actually knowing what it is,” she co-wrote with two other Nebraska Democratic Party chairs in an August op-ed. “Simply put, CRT examines social, cultural and legal issues as they relate to race and racism. Students would be taught about the systemic racism that still exists today and permeates our society.
“Denying our factual history as communities of color is like denying we existed,” they added.
Nebraska Democratic Party chairwoman Jane Kleeb said she supported the hiring of McKesson, adding that she is confident McKesson will make an admirable presidential appointee.
“Precious is a transformational leader,” Kleeb told the Omaha World-Herald. “She will bring the same energy, excitement, and commitment to the people to the position at the Department of Education.”
McKesson worked as a staffer in Nebraska for the Biden campaign. She cast the state’s 2nd Congressional District vote in last year’s election, making her the first black woman to cast an electoral ballot for the state as well as the first woman to cast a Democratic electoral ballot. She continues to serve as the chairwoman of the NDP’s Black Caucus, however, she will be stepping down soon to take on her new position in Washington, D.C., according to Kleeb.
Previously, she worked in the roles of finance and constituency director for the state party.
Some states have banned the inclusion of critical race theory in public school curriculum, while Democrat-run states like Illinois and New Jersey have passed initiatives requiring it to be included.
Her appointment comes as the Biden Justice Department announced it is directing U.S. attorneys and the FBI to examine instances of violence and alleged threats made during local school board meetings as more and more parents have shown up to voice vehement opposition to the inclusion of CRT curriculum.
The department is responding to a letter from the National School Board Association which implored President Biden to task appropriate law enforcement agencies to determine if parents’ actions were violations of federal law, even rising to the level of “domestic terrorism.”
The move outraged Republicans who accused the administration of using federal authorities to quash parental speech and rights.
“Practically every day brings new reports about this administration weaponizing the federal bureaucracy to go after political opponents, frankly I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like it in American history,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), told Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco during a Tuesday hearing regarding the DoJ’s announcement.
“I mean for those of us who missed the McCarthy era, I guess this president is intent at bringing it to us but with new force and new power and new urgency unlike anything, we’ve ever seen,” he added.
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