Republican Bill Would Defund ‘1619 Project’ Curricula in Schools

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Republican lawmakers reintroduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Monday that would prohibit the use of federal funds for public schools to teach the New York Times’s “1619 Project.”

Representatives Ken Buck (R., Colo.) and Rick Allen (R., Ga.), along with Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) reintroduced the Saving American History Act, which “would ban federal funds from being used to teach the 1619 Project in K-12 schools or school districts,” according to a press release from Buck’s office. 

The project, a feature on slavery in the U.S. that aims to shift perceptions of American history and change what students are taught in schools, won the 2020 Pulitizer Prize for Commentary. However, after receiving scrutiny from historians and politicians, the Times issued a clarification on the project.

Historians have called the 1619 edition of the New York Times Magazine “a very unbalanced, one-sided account” and “wrong in so many ways.” Critics have called the project “not only ahistorical,” but “actually anti-historical.”

The legislation follows a proposal by the U.S. Department of Education to prioritize grants for schools that teach critical race theory and the 1619 Project.

Buck blasted critical race theory, saying it does not belong in American schools and that children should not be taught that they will be treated differently on the basis of race.

“Critical race theory is dangerous, anti-American, and has no place in our nation’s schools,” Buck said. “School curriculum plays a critical role in a child’s development and greatly influences the type of adult they will become. Children shouldn’t be taught that they will be treated differently or will be racist because of their skin color.”

Meanwhile, Allen criticized the 1619 Project, saying it is trying to “indoctrinate” students with the idea that the United States is an “evil country” and cautioned against teaching “revisionist history” in the classroom.

“The 1619 Project aims to indoctrinate our students into believing that America is an evil country, and there is no room for that in our classrooms,” Allen said. “We must teach our young folks to learn from our nation’s past in order to form a more perfect union. Teaching revisionist history and promoting divisive ideology will not move our nation forward.”

“This legislation will ensure federal dollars are used to provide our children with historically accurate curriculum,” he added.

Cotton similarly said that teachers nationwide are teaching students to “hate” the U.S. and each other by using “discredited” curricula centered on critical race theory.

“Activists in schools want to teach our kids to hate America and hate each other using discredited, critical race theory curricula like the 1619 Project,” Cotton said. “Federal funds should not pay for activists to masquerade as teachers and indoctrinate our youth.”

The three lawmakers first introduced the bill last year during the 116th Congress.

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