Education Secretary backtracks on critical race theory preference for federal grants | national

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(The Center Square) – Republicans have declared victory after the US Department of Education released new seemingly reverting information that encouraged schools to teach critical race theory and gave preferential treatment during awarding grants if they did.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona posted on the official Ministry of Education blog to announce the change after a major setback.

“The goal of this program is to improve the quality of American history, civics and government education in order to provide more students with the opportunity to learn about our nation’s rich history and to ‘acquire the skills needed to fully participate in civic life,’ says Cardone. “This curriculum, however, does not, does not dictate, and will not recommend the introduction or teaching of any specific curriculum in classrooms. These decisions are – and will continue to be – made at the local level.

The controversy erupted after the Biden administration proposed a new Department of Education rule in April that changed the way grants are awarded. The change meant that schools received preference in grant consideration if they included in their curriculum information from the ‘1619 Project’, a controversial long-running New York Times journalism project that was widely seen as the popular vehicle. critical ideas about race theory.

Proponents of critical race theory argue that “law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they operate to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and non-whites. , especially African Americans,” according to Britannica.

The Department of Education specifically cited the “1619 Project” in the proposed rule. The New York Times published the 1619 Project in 2019, so named because it says the United States was not founded in 1776 with the declaration of independence, but in 1619 with the introduction of enslaved Africans in the colonies. Historians and many on the right have been highly critical of the project.

“The goal of the 1619 Project is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as the birth year of our nation,” the New York Times said.

The 1619 Project promoted a central teaching to critical race theory, the idea that protecting slavery and racism was a driving motivation for the American Revolution. The New York Times later returned to this claim.

The DOE’s proposed rule received more than 35,000 public comments, well above average, with the majority criticizing the promotion of the controversial school of thought. This popular mobilization and Republican pushback led Cardona to return to racial language.

In her message, Cardona set out two “invited priorities,” namely that candidates promote literacy and “integrate diverse racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic perspectives into teaching and learning.

“Like invitational priorities in any grants competition, applicants are not required to meet these priorities, and do not earn any additional points or gain any competitive advantage in the grants competition for meeting these priorities,” said Cardona said.

In response to the DOE’s proposed rule, 20 governors across the country sent a letter to Cardona in May.

“As a result, the Department should not adopt the proposed rule or, at a minimum, should clarify that grants cannot fund CRT-based projects, including any project that characterizes the United States as irredeemably racist or based on principles of racism (as opposed to principles of equality) or which claim to attribute character traits, values, privileges, status or beliefs, or which attribute fault, blame or bias to a particular race or to an individual because of his race,” the letter said.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who helped lead the effort against the rule, celebrated the change but went on to warn that proponents of critical race theory could still promote the school of thought under a different name.

“Even as we celebrate this win, however, we have to remain vigilant,” Rokita said. “Washington bureaucrats could very well stop using the term ‘critical race theory’ while continuing to fund programs that veer into bigotry, division and indoctrination aimed at discrediting American institutions and beauty. of our Constitution. We will continue to work to preserve the qualities that make our republic a shining city on a hill.

The critical race theory debate swept through state and local governments and galvanized conservative opposition.

State Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Ala., has introduced legislation to have teachers fired if they teach “certain concepts regarding race or gender, such as critical race theory.”

“This bill would also require public K-12 schools and public institutions of higher learning to terminate the employment of any employee who violates its provisions,” says a summary of Crawford’s bill. .

Similar anti-critical race theory laws have been popping up across the country. At the federal level, however, Cardona appears to have backed down on the requirement, although no official DOE rules have been released to reflect this change.

“The only thing more troubling than critical race theory in public schools is Miguel Cardona demanding it be there,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. “These decisions should be made by states and communities, not the federal government. I’m glad to see Sec. U-turn from Cardona.

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