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Public School Teacher Who Praised China’s Coronavirus Response Receives ‘History Teacher Of The Year’ Award
SLUG: DC-RENOVATE DATE: July 9, 2008 CREDIT: Susan Biddle / TWP. Washington, DC Hardy Middle School will reopen this fall after extensive renovations. Gym in new building has been redone, library has been enlarged and science and art labs have been added. Here the front of Hardy with parking lot where old Flea Market used to be.
Susan Biddle/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

A District of Columbia public school teacher who praised China’s coronavirus response received the district’s 2021 “History Teacher of the Year” award. 

The D.C. Public Schools’ Twitter account announced Wednesday that middle school teacher Caneisha Mills received the award for excellence in history. Mills works with an outside educators organization called the Zinn Education Project, named after well-known socialist Howard Zinn. 

“Congratulations to Caneisha Mills of [Hardy Middle School] for being named the 2021 DC History Teacher of the Year! Ms. Mills has done excellent work supporting her students and the teachers of the district more broadly, and we’re thrilled to see her recognized for her efforts,” D.C. public schools tweeted. 

Mills penned a tribunal, which asked students who they would blame for the coronavirus pandemic if there were a trial. Defendants included racism, capitalism, and the U.S. government, among others. The tribunal, which was written in the pages of the Zinn Education Project, also offered praise of the Chinese government for its handling of the virus.

Part of the tribunal asked students to answer questions about America’s coronavirus response including, “How does capitalism in the United States cause crises like the coronavirus and the flu pandemic of 1918?” Another asked, “If the government and capitalist system are guilty, what should be the ‘sentence’?” 

Mills’ lesson plan also presented an argument that applauded China for its handling of the coronavirus. She claims that China took “exactly the measures that a government should take in times of crisis.” She also claims that China “donated tons of medical supplies … to the United States.”

“I wanted to … point out that the capitalist system was behind the pain, trauma, isolation, and destitution [my students] were facing,” Mills said. “Capitalism, racism, and the U.S. government left us to die.” 

Mills said that the tribunal exercise was inspired by the Black Panthers, an anti-capitalist, Black Nationalist group founded in the 1960s. The Black Panthers’ stated objectives include the release of all black people from prisons and the creation of a black-only colony. 

According to Mills, her students concluded that they “wanted to put Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and all members of the federal government in jail” for their handling of the pandemic. Mills said that she felt assured by her students’ desire to “fight against a racist capitalist system that harms us all.” 

Mills’ work with the Zinn Education Project raises questions about whether she promotes Critical Race Theory (CRT) in her classroom. According to a report from The Daily Wire, thousands of teachers signed a petition by the Zinn Education Project promising to violate state laws to keep teaching (CRT). 

The Zinn Education Project boasts a following of more than 110,000 teachers and claims to be a “leading resource” in education. Noam Chomsky is among the top supporters of the group. 

This article has been revised for clarity. 

Related: Here Are The Thousands Of Teachers Who Say They’re Willing To Violate Law To Keep Pushing CRT 

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