The Oregon Department of Education paid $50,000 for the two webinars it hosted this past week featuring Nikole Hannah-Jones.
On Friday May 7, Hannah-Jones spoke to Oregon’s teachers on “1619: Centering Black History and Black Futures in Oregon.” On Thursday May 13, she spoke first to students on “the importance of black history, as well as how this history has helped to build our society today” and then to teachers on “how the historical events detailed in the 1619 Project can and should inform how we create the conditions of belonging for Black students, families, and educators in Oregon.”
Oregonians for Liberty in Education filed a public records request to learn that ODE paid “a total of $50,000…using resources from Every Day Matters,” a program focused on chronic absenteeism, for the two events held this past week. ODE further explained that “the event was seven months in the making.”
Some obvious questions: Seven months? $50,000? “Every Day Matters” funds? Importing divisive “1619 Project”-based political activism from the New York Timesto “create the conditions of belonging?”
Spending seven months and $50,000 on these two webinars seems like a clear-cut case of counterproductive priorities.