Campus Reform | Biden administration signals intent to push critical race theory as American history and civics education

Biden administration signals intent to push critical race theory as American history and civics education

The Department of Education has proposed prioritizing projects that use Critical Race Theory in a grant competition intended for civics education and American history.

The Notice of Proposed Priority cites Ibram X. Kendi and The 1619 Project as leading anti-racist learning sources.

The U.S. Department of Education has proposed prioritizing grant projects that use Critical Race Theory in a competition for federal funding that is supposed to center on American history and civics. 

The Department issued a Notice of Proposed Priority Monday that would create a new allowable use for grant funding in the American History and Civics Education programs that exist to teach high school students and educators about the United States. 

Both programs within the American History and Civics Education grant are funded with taxpayer dollars through the the National Endowment for the Humanities. The initiative funds centers, typically created in partnership with colleges and universities, that provide professional development for teachers and educational enrichment for high schoolers.

[RELATED: Iowa bill targets colleges that teach New York Times' 'racist' and 'historically inaccurate' 1619 Project]

Should the priority move forward, applicants would be required to explain how they would "take into account systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history." Other stipulations would require applicants to "incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives" and to "support the creation of learning environments that validate and reflect the diversity, identities, and experiences of all students," among others.

The notice published by the Department quotes professor and "antiracist" activist Ibram X. Kendi, who said, "Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities." 

The Department continues, "It is critical that the teaching of American history and civics creates learning experiences  that validate and reflect the diversity, identities, histories, contributions, and experiences of all students." The proposal also references the debunked New York Times 1619 Project as a signal of the growing  impetus to address slavery and its consequences in the classroom. 

[RELATED: Ibram Kendi launches ANOTHER anti-racism center at BU]

A second proposed priority would support projects designed to foster news literacy skills. These projects would need to include "evaluating sources and evidence" and "understanding how inaccurate information may be used to manipulate individuals."

The program has been allocated $2,000,000 for new awards for this fiscal year. The Department has solicited feedback from the public on these proposed priorities. Those who wish to submit a comment may do so through Regulations.gov

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito