On April 19, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) proposed two priorities for the American History and Civics Education programs to “support the development of culturally responsive teaching and learning and the promotion of information literacy skills.”1 The Department’s Proposed Priority 1 seeks to fund “Projects That Incorporate Racially, Ethnically, Culturally, and Linguistically Diverse Perspectives into Teaching and Learning” to “create learning experiences that validate and reflect the diversity, identities, histories, contributions, and experiences of all students.”2
Proposed Priority 2 seeks to “Promot[e] Information Literacy Skills” by encouraging active citizenship and using civics education programs as “an opportunity to help students develop the skills necessary to meaningfully participate in our democracy and distinguish fact from misinformation.”3 The Department will prioritize grant applications that are designed to support students in “[u]nderstanding their own biases when reviewing information, as well as uncovering and recognizing bias in primary and secondary sources,” and “[u]nderstanding how inaccurate information may be used to manipulate individuals.”4
These proposed funding priorities will encourage America’s schools to inculcate their students with partisan and ideological anti-American propaganda. The Department’s proposed priorities promote indoctrinating America’s school children with radically divisive, extremist, and inherently flawed theories. The adoption of the Proposed Priority 1 would perpetuate the use of substandard civics education programs in public schools, further augmenting disengagement and misinformation among our citizenry. To see this, consider the following example provided in a recent report on Critical Race Theory (CRT) by the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York (CACAGNY): “In June 2020, the City of Seattle ran an anti-racism training session for the City’s White staff. The session began with instruction that all White people have a natural sense of racial superiority. The session then required participants to confess their complicity in a system of White supremacy, undo their Whiteness, be less White, and become accountable to Blacks in their every thought”5 (emphasis in original quote).
Also concerning is the fact that Priority 1 incentivizes and establishes government-sanctioned and publicly funded discrimination in states and schools across the nation, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Proposed Priority 2 infuses progressive activism into civics education programs by incentivizing the use of media literacy programs that revere the mainstream media and rely on biased and politically motivated “fact-checkers” to discredit and shut down conservative viewpoints.
These funding priorities, if adopted and taught in public schools, will lead to civil rights violations and the spread of racism, partisan rhetoric, and progressive advocacy in our schools. The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) and the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) vigorously oppose the Department’s proposed priorities for the reasons that follow.