Posted on May 5, 2021

Senate Republicans Criticize 1619 Project’s ‘Divisive Nonsense’ in Letter to Education Secretary

Kery Murakami, Washington Times, April 30, 2021

Senate Republicans wrote Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Friday expressing “grave concern” about the Biden administration’s plans to push the controversial ideas of the “1619 Project” in the nation’s classrooms.

The project, a New York Times series, expresses widely disputed views and includes historical inaccuracies, including that the American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery.

In his letter to Mr. Cardona, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, wrote that emphasizing the project’s ideas would further divide the country and give a distorted view that ignores the gains the nation has made.

“This is a time to strengthen the teaching of civics and American history in our schools. Instead, your Proposed Priorities double down on divisive, radical and historically dubious buzzwords and propaganda,” Mr. McConnell wrote Mr. Cardona, in a letter signed by 38 other Senate Republicans.

“Families did not ask for this divisive nonsense. Voters did not vote for it. Americans never decided our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil,” the senators wrote.

The Education Department last week said it plans to offer grants to K-12 history classes that incorporate the Pulitzer Prize-winning project in their teaching.

An Education Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the Department of Education saidin proposing the grants that the project’s viewpoint is important because COVID-19 has had a “disproportionate impact on people of color.” The department also said the U.S. is undergoing a “national reckoning with systemic racism [that] highlighted the urgency of improving racial equity throughout our society, including in our education system.”

The grant program was listed in the Federal Register last week as a proposed rule, which is open to comment until May 19. The rule touts the teachings of Ibram X. Kendi, a Black professor and pioneer in critical race theory. The crux of the theory is that White people are complicit in perpetuating systemic racism, regardless of their thoughts or actions. {snip}