New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones echoed failed 2021 gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s comments on a parent’s role in education.
NBC’s "Meet the Press" dove into the topic of "Schools, America, and Race" on Sunday, using Hannah-Jones’ "1619 Project" as a subject. The 1619 Project, as well as critical race theory, have come under controversy for appearing to influence school curriculum.
"Did you intend for The 1619 Project to become public school curriculum, or did you intend it to start a debate to improve the curriculum of how we teach American history?" host Chuck Todd asked.
Though Hannah-Jones said that the project was pitched as a "work of journalism," she admitted that it "could be a great learning tool for students."
"Now The New York Times has an education division, The New York Times regularly turned its journalism into curriculum, as did The Pulitzer Center, who we ultimately partnered with. They are constantly turning works of journalism into curriculum," Hannah-Jones said.
She also argued against critiques of the project, saying, "It's only become controversial because people have decided to make The 1619 Project controversial."
Todd addressed the controversy behind critical race theory that has inspired several lawmakers to pass laws against the teaching of racial ideas in schools. The conflict even became the focus of the Virginia gubernatorial election when parents became concerned about their children’s education.
Hannah-Jones then argued that it shouldn’t be left to lawmakers or parents to decide what can be taught in schools.
"So, I think we should frame that question properly," she continued. "And I don't really understand this idea that parents should decide what's being taught. I'm not a professional educator. I don't have a degree in social studies or science we send our children to school because we want them to be taught by people who have expertise in the subject area. And that is not my job."
Her comments resembled similar statements made by Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, who infamously caused controversy by stating that he believed parents should not have a say in what can be taught in schools.
Hannah-Jones recognized the comparison and ultimately agreed with McAuliffe.
"When the governor or the candidate said that he didn't think parents should be deciding what's being taught in school, he was panned for that, but that's just the fact. This is why we send our children to school and don't home school," Hannah-Jones said. "Because these are the professional educators who have the expertise to teach social studies, to teach history, to teach science, to teach literature, and I think we should leave that to the educators. Yes, we should have some say but school is not about simply confirming our worldview. Schools should teach us to question they should teach us how to think, not what to think."
Hannah-Jones caused some controversy last week as well when she claimed that journalists were too neutral when covering politicians.
"Now, in an attempt to say, ‘Well, we're going to treat both political parties equally’ when we clearly have, in this moment, one political party that is passing anti-democratic policies, that is upholding people with authoritarianism ideas," Hannah-Jones said.