Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called on President Joe Biden to officially repudiate critical race theory on Wednesday, after the administration blamed a mistake for pushing a radical activist group's handbook that encourages schools to disrupt Whiteness.

Cotton's remarks came after the Department of Education (DOE) included a link to the Abolitionist Teaching Network's "Guide for Racial Justice and Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning" in a guidebook aimed at helping schools reopen safely amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The senator proposed the Stop CRT Act this Tuesday, which would prohibit public funds from going to K-12 institutions that teach critical race theory, Fox News reported.

Tom Cotton introduces bill against the racial theory

The bill also reinstates a Trump-era executive order prohibiting the federal government and its contractors from providing training that teaches the history of systematic racism and white privilege. During his first week in office in January 2021, President Biden revoked Trump's executive order, calling it a "harmful ban on diversity and sensitivity training."

The concept behind critical race theory is that racism is systematic in American institutions and that they serve to sustain the supremacy of white people in society. Many conservatives see the notions as an attempt to rewrite American history, although there is little evidence of it being taught in K-12 public institutions. Cotton equated critical race theory to little more than state-sanctioned racism in the United States. 

The Stop CRT Act of 2021 also prohibits schools and institutions from receiving funds if they compel faculty members, students, or any other individual to support critical racial theory concepts. Individuals' rights to access critical race theory materials for research or independent study are not affected by the Act, according to Cotton, nor is anybody barred from engaging in lawful, protected expression, as per TVH11.

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What is critical race theory?

According to the guide, social and emotional learning (SEL) can be a hidden form of policing used to outlaw, prosecute, and control Black, Brown, and Indigenous children and communities to conform to White norms. Most SEL standards are rooted in Eurocentric norms, rather than empowering, loving, affirming, or freeing Black, Brown, and Indigenous children.

On the website, the activist in residence role is described as a $30,000-per-year job that requires 20 hours of effort each week and includes canvassing as well as media and propaganda creation. The DOE mentioned the contentious group in a section about kids' academic, social, and emotional needs in its reopening guide.

President Biden's American Rescue Plan promised $122 billion in education funding, with 20% of that going to organizations like the Abolitionist Teaching Network. Per NY Post, the DOE raced to explain its actions Wednesday in a statement, saying the suggestions of this committee are not endorsed by the Department and they do not reflect their official stances. The inclusion of this reference in a lengthy paper was an error.

The horrific incident marks a new chapter in the fight over critical race theory in American classrooms. Though the Abolitionist Teaching Network does not use that name, its racial language is similar to CRT, which is being phased out of curriculums in some states.

Despite the Department of Education's denial that it endorses the objectives of the group whose handbook is sponsored, White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed earlier this month that "systemic racism" exists in American educational institutions and that it must be addressed.

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