NC Rep Foxx among those questioning use of COVID relief funds for Critical Race Theory programs 

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. addresses the Road to Majority Conference in Washington, Friday, June 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

RALEIGH — Republican U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC-05) is one of 30 Republicans that sent letters to five federal departments questioning expenditures of COVID relief funds. 

On Sept. 14, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) and Foxx, the ranking member on the Committee on Education, sent letters to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Education Inspector General Bruce, the Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent, the New York State Department of Education Commissioner, and the California Department of Education Superintendent. 

In a press release, House Oversight Republicans indicated they intend to investigate the Biden Department of Education for allowing COVID funds to be used to “indoctrinate America’s children in leftist ideology.” 

“Committees on Oversight and Reform and Education and Labor Republicans are investigating the use of COVID-19 relief dollars appropriated for virus mitigation and the safe reopening of schools. Based on recent reports, the Department of Education is allowing Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and related COVID relief funds to pay for racially biased and other progressive leftist programs,” wrote the Republican lawmakers. 

Specifically, Congress created the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund to enable schools to safely reopen and address learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those taxpayer dollars, however, are being used to indoctrinate children in core tenets of leftist ideology.” 

The release cites the billions of dollars in relief funding that flowed into the states, including more than $120 billion in new ESSER funding under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, $13.2 billion in CARES Act funding and $54.3 billion in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act for the ESSER Fund.  

Examples cited in the letters include California using ESSER funds for training in “environmental literacy,” “ethnic studies,” and “LGBTQ+ cultural competency.”   

Also cited was New York, which allegedly used part of the $9 billion it received for staff training on “culturally responsive sustaining instruction” and “privilege” and to recognize “equity warriors.”  

The letter claims that “At least ten other state plans included proposals to use the ESSER funds to implement racially biased curriculum and programs based on Critical Race Theory.”     

“The learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been a global disaster. During the 2020-2021 school year, passing math rates declined by 14.2 percent on average overall,” the Republican lawmakers said. “Overwhelmingly, school shutdowns occurred in states and localities led by Democrats who chose to keep schools closed much longer than was necessary, often at the behest of teachers unions.” 

The lawmakers requested that the questions posed in their letter including requests for documents and communications be provided to them by Sept. 28, 2022. 

The letters from the lawmakers cite news stories on a report by One Nation claiming, “$46 billion of American Rescue Plan funds have been allocated to implement Critical Race Theory into the school curriculum of 13 states.” 

In addition to California, Illinois, and New York, One Nation’s report includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington. North Carolina was not on the list.  

One Nation describes itself as “a public policy organization dedicated to promoting commonsense legislative solution.” The organization is headed up by Steven Law, who is also president and CEO of American Crossroads, and president CrossroadsGPS. 

In a related effort, Foxx and Republicans on the Committee on Education and Labor are asking Cardona to release data it has recently collected on how COVID funds have been used to combat learning loss. 

According to the committee, Cardona’s agency finished collecting data on how relief funds have been spent on July 1,” but has yet to give Congress any indication of when it will make this information available to the public.”

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_