INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Tony Kinnett is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics teacher with some administrative duties at Indianapolis Public Schools.
He posted a video on Twitter criticizing what he says is a lack of transparency over the teaching of critical race theory in IPS classrooms, and the IPS superintendent is recommending the school board fire Kinnett.
I-Team 8 reached out to IPS, which says it does not comment on personnel matters. The district also says critical race theory is not taught at IPS.
When Kinnett posted the video on his Twitter page he knew that it would ruffle some feathers.
“I did. Yes, I was fully understanding that some of the people in my district wouldn’t like it. I knew that going in. I wasn’t doing this for them. I wasn’t doing this for me so everyone could think I was some sort of special individual. I was doing it specifically so the parents and the community members and other education stakeholders of Indianapolis and the country abroad knew that Indianapolis Public Schools was being dishonest,” Kinnett said.
In the video, he outlines how he believes the teachings and background of critical race theory parallel how he says IPS is teaching race in classrooms. In the video, he says that IPS is, in fact, teaching critical race theory, and the district has given teachers and principals a guideline to avoid answering CRT questions.
“When we tell you critical race theory is not taught in our schools we are lying. Keep looking,” Kinnett said in the video.
Kinnett is also the co-founder and owner of the Chalkboard Review website, which is described as a site of education commentary that features a diverse range of voices on education. He has made several appearances on national cable news programs talking about critical race theory.
Kinnett says the video was not an attempt to inflate his online profile or increase his total of Twitter followers. He says the he has not profited from the video. Kinnett tells I-Team 8 he would be fine with CRT at IPS if they would just admit that is what is being taught.
“I found it interesting that the district was telling parents we weren’t teaching it. I honestly thought that Indianapolis would come out and say, ‘We are teaching it and we stand behind it and here is why,’” Kinnett said.
Critical race theory has been a lightning rod for debate across Indiana and the rest of the country. Indiana lawmakers are expecting to address CRT during the General Assembly, which restarts in January. State Sen. Greg Taylor, an Indianapolis Democrat, says CRT is not a racist theory that pits races against one another.
“As a matter of fact, it is the total opposite … actually recognizes race from the standpoint of where we see ourselves today from an educational attainment standpoint,” Taylor said.
Kinnett is waiting for the IPS School Board to act on his proposed dismissal. He won’t say if he will fight the district or just move on.