A year following the violent social justice-fueled riots, the Left is unleashing another power grab in the ideological battleground in schools: changing American civics and social studies curriculum to include anti-American ideological indoctrination.
The Educating for American Democracy (EAD) initiative is a blatant attempt by the Left to distort America’s founding and past, similar to the controversial and debunked 1619 Project from the left-wing newspaper The New York Times. The initiative, a joint collaboration between iCivics, Harvard University, Arizona State University, and Tufts University, advocates for more federal government interference in local and state education. The research was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education.
According to the conservative Heritage Foundation, the initiative claims it will not interfere with local and state standards, but then slips in references to doing so throughout the study. The think tank also pointed out several glaring flaws in the EAD’s recommendations, such as the inclusion of Critical Race Theory, calls to increase federal funding in K-12 and higher education, and standardizing civics curriculum under the Department of Education.
Although the initiative makes some valid points, such as lackluster civics education standards at the local and state level and the lack of focus or funding on the subject, it wants to empower bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. to dictate terms to local and state education officials and districts. Unfortunately, the initiative calls for the use of Critical Race Theory, so-called “action civics,” and progressive ideology masquerading as facts.
Heritage also singled out how several of the readings interpreted American civics in the lens of Critical Race Theory. Some lessons, provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center-funded Learning for Justice group, called for discussions on income redistribution, “deconstruction” (i.e. analyzing oppression), “intersectionality,” and “systems of oppression.” There are also readings on climate change and gender identity in the recommended readings. Though the initiative gives lip service to including all interpretations of American civics, the inclusion of Critical Race Theory eliminates any dissent or differences of opinion.
It also advocated for increasing taxpayer spending on public schools, despite the reality that federal funding increases have rarely solved the problems they aimed to fix. Heritage pointed out that the EAD’s price tag would be at least $1 billion in K-12 spending on an annual basis. Predictably, it recommended that higher education institutions get a piece of the federal funding, too, despite the reality that higher education failed to properly educate students on American civics for decades.
EAD called for the Department of Education to invest in research, development, and data collection and analysis. The federal education agency would be in charge of a “robust national data infrastructure” such as a public collection of all learning plans from state education agencies. Heritage noted that it will impose a nationalized history and civics education curriculum, and testing standards, to ensure a uniform curriculum in the country. Though the plan allegedly will not impose a uniform standard, it described how to create a federal “roadmap” and how states could “align” with said roadmap.
Entrusting such heavy responsibility to D.C. bureaucrats is foolish endeavor because the federal government is slow to react, slow to reform, and tends to impose a one-size-fits all approach that does not benefit each American.
Has the Left, or Big Government advocates in general, learned from the disasters of the George W. Bush “No Child Left Behind” education reform or the Obama-era Race To The Top program. The short answer is that they have not learned from Big Government mistakes in the recent past.
Instead, the Left wants to rewrite American civics curriculum to reflect a racist country, when the reality is a lot more complex and nuanced than what the Left wants Americans to believe.