Biden administration backtracks on Critical Race Theory elements in K-12 history grants

President Joe Biden speaks while meeting with an instructor and an apprentice in a classroom at the IBEW / NECA Electrical Training Center in Cincinnati, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

RALEIGH — A blog post by U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona outlines the Biden administration is backing off from including elements from the controversial Critical Race Theory in grants related to teaching history in K-12 schools.

The shift in position on the grants comes after more than 35,000 comments were submitted to the Federal Register, with the majority of comments opposing such action.

“The goal of this program is to improve the quality of American history, civics, and government education in order to provide more students the opportunity to learn about the rich history of our nation and build the skills needed to fully participate in civic life,” Cardona wrote.

He went on to say that the program “enables higher education institutions, non-profit organizations, and other interested applicants the opportunity to explore innovative and creative ways to support educators and the teaching of history to students, aiming to build a more active, engaged society.”

Cardona also then claimed that the program never dictated specific materials be included.

“This program, however, has not, does not, and will not dictate or recommend specific curriculum be introduced or taught in classrooms. Those decisions are — and will continue to be — made at the local level,” wrote Cardona.

Cardona’s remarks on curriculum are contrary to that of the rule published by the Biden administration’s Department of Education in the Federal Register on April 19 of this year. The rule proposal had used the “1619 Project” as an example curriculum. This work has been widely criticized for historical inaccuracies, including the theory that the Revolutionary War’s purpose was to keep Britain from ending slavery.

The proposed rule also cited “antiracist activist” Ibram X. Kendi who has suggested incorporating “anti-racist practices into teaching and learning” on a national scale.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC-05), a leader on the Education and Labor Committee, said in a statement that “The voices of parents and students were finally heard at the Department of Education.” 

“While I am doubtful that Secretary Cardona plans to abandon the administration’s crusade to push Critical Race Theory in our public schools, I applaud the move not to give overt preferential treatment to federal grant applicants seeking to advance anti-American agendas,” Foxx said. “But let me be clear: the Department of Education changed its approach to grant funding because parents, students, and Republican leaders stood up in defense of our nation’s history and legacy.”

Foxx said she will “continue to keep a close eye on this process to hold the administration accountable and reject any proposals that divide us as a nation.”

In mid-May, U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-09) announced he was backing a bill to stop federal funds from being used for promotion of Critical Race Theory.

“Critical Race Theory is a poison to the psyche of our nation. This destructive ideology has no place in America’s institutions, and the bills I’m introducing will help ensure that our government isn’t spending resources on promoting it,” said Bishop in a statement. “But President Biden and the radical Left are committed to pushing this neo-Marxist propaganda into our classrooms, places of work, and even the military. Legislators on every level must fight back against this insidious effort to undermine the truths about our nation’s founding with everything we’ve got.”

About A.P. Dillon 1320 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_