Critical Race Theory, the controversial Project 1619 published in The New York Times, “anti-racism” and “information literacy” for students to learn how to spot “misinformation” on the internet are now theories pushed by Biden’s Department of Education. The Department could deny grants for schools that reject Critical Race Theory.
In September 2020, former President Trump issued an Executive Order to ban “diversity” training to “combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating,” USA Today said. That order prohibited the federal government and its contractors from using school curriculums to promote leftist ideologies such as “systemic racism” and “white privilege.”
In his first days in office, Biden reversed Trump’s order and vowed to push the “racial and social justice” agenda in classrooms, prioritizing funds for progressive schools.
“In the weeks ahead, I’ll be reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and accessibility, building on the work we started in the Obama-Biden administration. That’s why I rescinded the previous administration’s harmful ban on diversity and sensitivity training…,” Biden said on January 26.
On April 19, the Department of Education proposed a new rule for school districts seeking to obtain federal grants. The rule consists of two grant priorities. “The Department of Education (Department) proposes two priorities for the American History and Civics Education programs, including the Presidential and Congressional Academies for American History and Civics (Academies) and National Activities programs, Assistance Listing Numbers 84.422A,” reads the proposal.
The Department of Education’s idea is to encourage schools to introduce “anti-racist” theories into their curriculums, such as Critical Race Theory, analysis of the controversial Project 1619. It also mentions controversial author Ibrahim X. Kendi’s book, How To Be An Antiracist.
If districts use this type of content in their school curricula, their institutions will have priority for grants.
Biden’s explanation why some schools could be punished if they reject Critical Race Theory
The Department of Education said that the prioritization of anti-racist issues and also in studies for “information literacy” is supported by two timely junctures: “systemic racism” and “misinformation” on the Internet.
“The Department proposes two priorities to support the development of culturally responsive teaching and learning and the promotion of information literacy skills in grants under the American History and Civics Education programs,” reads the Federal Register.
Priority will go to those “projects that incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse perspectives in teaching and learning.”
The Biden-Harris administration says that the “The Department recognizes that COVID-19—with its disproportionate impact on communities of color—and the ongoing national reckoning with systemic racism have highlighted the urgency of improving racial equity throughout our society, including in our education system.”
“American History and Civics Education programs can play an important role in this critical effort by supporting teaching and learning that reflects the breadth and depth of our Nation’s diverse history and the vital role of diversity in our Nation’s democracy. For example, there is growing acknowledgment of the importance of including, in the teaching and learning of our country’s history, both the consequences of slavery and the significant contributions of Black Americans to our society. This acknowledgment is reflected, for example, in The New York Times‘ controversial “1619 Project” and in the resources of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History.”
The inaccuracies of the 1619 Project
The 1619 Project has been largely criticized by historians because of its historical inaccuracies and for having a notorious ideological bias in its account. The project won a Pulitzer Prize for “re-examining the legacy of slavery in the United States,” but the “prestige” that the piece achieved was quickly eroded by the factual criticisms it received and the controversies over the editing of the content that the New York Times itself made of the article in its online version. There were even allegations that the 1619 Project failed to pass the review of the fact-checkers that the Times itself had hired.
That project is not the only controversial and contentious piece cited by the Department of Education. The book “How to Be Anti-Racist,” by Ibrahim X. Kendi, whom the Biden administration calls a “professor,” is also a work criticized for its polarizing rhetoric and subjective statements such as “Capitalism is essentially racist” and “Racism is essentially capitalist.”
However, despite Kendi being a questioned author, the Department of Education decided to include his statements in the justifications for pushing the study of “anti-racist” issues.
“Schools across the country are working to incorporate anti-racist practices into teaching and learning,” it says. “As the scholar Ibram X. Kendi has expressed, “[a]n antiracist idea is any idea that suggests the racial groups are equals in all their apparent differences—that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities.” It is critical that the teaching of American history and civics creates learning experiences that validate and reflect the diversity, identities, histories, contributions, and experiences of all students.”
Ultimately, in order for school districts to be eligible to receive federal grants, they must note that the priorities to be evaluated relate to “projects that incorporate teaching and learning practices that reflect the diversity, identities, histories, contributions, and experiences of all students create inclusive, supportive, and identity-safe learning environments.”
There is a second, also controversial priority, related to students learning to detect “misinformation” through “information literacy.”
“Effective civics education is vital to protecting the Nation’s democracy—especially at a time when its core institutions and values are threatened by misinformation. As The Power of Active Citizenship notes: “Teaching civics should be more than just understanding the structures and functions of government . . . [It] is crucial that students learn how to gather and evaluate sources of information, and then use evidence from that information to develop and support their ideas and advocacy positions.”
Federal grants for those that adhere to ideology and do not reject Critical Race Theory
Ultimately, the Department of Education’s priority will evaluate three items to define which project it will make grants available to:
Evaluating sources and evidence using evidentiary standards; understanding their own biases when reviewing information, as well as discovering and recognizing biases in primary and secondary sources; synthesizing information into compelling communications; and understanding how inaccurate information can be used to manipulate people, and developing strategies for recognizing accurate and inaccurate information.
With this brand new proposal, the door is opened to the exclusive financing of progressive schools and of certain, ideologically convenient projects under the guise of the threat of “disinformation”.
For example, Legal Insurrection analyzed that “One might reasonably conclude […] that the AFT, and by extension the Biden administration, advocates that students adopt the logical fallacy of attacking the source rather than the information itself while engaging in activism in their elementary school years.”
Legal Insurrection also noted that Biden’s Department of Education, with this proposal, chose not to push “knowledge among students of our form of government, how it works, and the intent of the Founders,” but rather in pushing racial and social justice theories.
The public will be able to comment on the controversial rule that is likely to affect those schools that reject Critical Race Theory until May 19, according to the Federal Register.
Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote an op-ed piece in National Review explaining several of the dangers behind the federally funded “woke revolution in the classroom,” and urging states to “pass laws banning action civics and Critical Race Theory in K-12 curriculum and teacher training.”
“Without these laws, it will be nearly impossible to resist the carrots and sticks soon to be deployed by Biden’s Department of Education aimed at forcing Action Civics and Critical Race Theory into America’s schools,” Kurtz asserted.