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McConnell, Republicans demand the 1619 Project not taught

37 Republicans led by Mitch McConnell demand Biden ditch the 1619 Project from classrooms because it puts a ‘divisive agenda’ over accuracy

  • Thirty-seven Republicans led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell demanded that the U.S. Department of Education not teach the 1619 Project 
  • McConnell penned a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona asking him not to include The New York Times’ controversial project in curriculum 
  • The 1619 Project takes slavery and puts it in the center of the American narrative, which historians have criticized for leaning too hard into ideology 
  • The Education Department isn’t mandating the 1619 Project be taught in public school classrooms, but it has proposed offering grants to schools that teach it 

Thirty-seven Republicans led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell demanded that the U.S. Department of Education not teach the 1619 Project because it puts a ‘divisive agenda’ over accuracy. 

Politico Playbook first reported that McConnell penned a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on behalf of himself and 37 Senate Republican colleagues asking the nation’s education chief not to include The New York Times’ controversial project in a curriculum update.  

‘This is a time to strengthen the teaching of civics and American history in our schools,’ McConnell argued. ‘Instead, your Proposed Priorities double down on divisive, radical, and historically-dubious buzzwords and propaganda.’  

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona asking that the 1619 Project not be included in American curriculum 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell directed the letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell directed the letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona 

The 1619 Project – first published in August 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans came to American shores – takes slavery and puts it in the center of the American narrative.  

A number of historians have knocked the project for putting ideology ahead of historical understanding. 

McConnell wrote that the project has come ‘infamous for putting ill-informed advocacy ahead of historical accuracy.’ 

‘Actual, trained, credentialed historians with diverse political views have debunked the project’s many factual and historical errors, such as the bizarre and inaccurate notion that preserving slavery was a primary driver of the American Revolution,’ the Kentucky Republican wrote.   

The Education Department isn’t mandating the 1619 Project be taught in public school classrooms, but it has proposed offering grants to schools that teach it and other educational materials that ‘take into account systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history.’ 

McConnell is stepping into the culture war on this issue – as former President Donald Trump did before him – as Trump continues to complain that McConnell should be cut from the head of the party. 

‘McConnell has not done a great job, I think they should change Mitch McConnell’ Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo Thursday morning.  

Trump and McConnell’s relationship ended once Trump refused to concede the election and only got worse thanks to the January 6 insurrection.  

In response to Trump’s most recent criticism, McConnell said, ‘we’re looking to the future, not the past.’ 

He pointed to Sen. Tim Scott, who delivered the Republicans’ response to President Joe Biden’s first Congressional address Wednesday night. 

‘He’s the future. That’s where we’re headed. We’re not preoccupied with the past but looking forward,’ McConnell said. 

Scott, the only black Republican member of the Senate, spent a large chunk of his speech talking about race making a similar point as McConnell. 

‘Americans never decided our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil,’ McConnell wrote. 

Scott argued it’s just as racist to teach white kids that they’re ‘an oppressor.’ 

Scott said that kids are still being taught that the color of their skin defines them. 

‘And if they look a certain way, they’re an oppressor,’ he noted. ‘From colleges to corporations to our culture, people are making money and gaining power by pretending we haven’t made any progress,’ he claimed. 

‘Hear me clearly: America is not a racist county,’ Scott said. 

‘It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different discrimination. And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present,’ he said.    

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