1619 Project founder says she's not a professional educator despite being college faculty member

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The 1619 Project founder said that she’s not a “professional educator” despite being a tenured faculty member at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Nikole Hannah-Jones made the comment during her Sunday interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, where she discussed the 1619 Project, the role that critical race theory played in the Virginia governor’s race, and how much influence parents should have over what is taught to their children in schools.  

After saying that the Virginia governor’s race was  “decided based on the success of a right-wing propaganda campaign,” Hannah-Jones went on to say that she’s not a “professional educator.”

Nikole Hannah-Jones attends the 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony held at Cipriani Wall Street on May 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic) 

“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 an expertise in the subject area. And that is not my job,” Hannah-Jones said. 

“When the, 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 homeschool, 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,” Hannah-Jones continued. 

In July, Howard University announced Hannah-Jones would be joining the Cathy Hughes School of Communications as a tenured member of the faculty.

Nikole Hannah-Jones 
((Photo by: Jeff Scheart/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images))

In addition to being a tenured member of the faculty at the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, Hannah-Jones “will also found the Center for Journalism and Democracy, which will focus on training and supporting aspiring journalists in acquiring the investigative skills and historical and analytical expertise needed to cover the crisis our democracy is facing,” according to the Howard University announcement.

Hannah-Jones responded to Fox News by stating that she said “professional K-12 educators, not parents, are the experts in what to teach including those educating my own child.”

Hannah-Jones was offered tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June, and declined the offer. In an interview with CBS This Morning on July 6, Jones explained her decision and said that she did not want to accept the position at UNC after her tenure vote became a “national scandal.”

“Because look what it took to get tenure,” she said. “This was a position that since the 1980s came with tenure. The Knight chairs are designed for professional journalists when working in the field, to come into academia. Every other chair before me, who also happened to be White, received that position with tenure.”

FILE – In this May 21, 2016, file photo, Nikole Hannah-Jones attends the 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.
((Photo by: Jeff Scheart/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images))

“To only have that vote occur on the last possible day, at the last possible moment after threat of legal action, after weeks of protests, after it became a national scandal, it’s just not something I want anymore,” she added.

Fox News’ Courtney O’Brien contributed to this report

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