Biden Administration Wants Schools to Teach Prejudice. Here’s What Parents Should Know.

COMMENTARY Education

Biden Administration Wants Schools to Teach Prejudice. Here’s What Parents Should Know.

Apr 19th, 2021 4 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Jonathan Butcher

Will Skillman Fellow in Education

Jonathan Butcher is the Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., pictured here on Oct. 15, 2020, co-sponsored a bill that will spread a bigoted and prejudiced ideology among America’s children.  Samuel Corum / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

The U.S. Department of Education announced that officials are preparing to use taxpayer money for schools to advocate the idea that America is systemically racist.

State education officials across the country have also created content for K-12 children that treats students differently based on skin color.

Washington is bringing critical theory’s prejudice to your child’s classroom, and we should reject the notion that the next generation should be trained in bigotry.

President Joe Biden’s administration wants you to know your children are biased, and Washington has a plan to fix them.

This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that officials are preparing to use taxpayer money for K-12 schools to advocate the idea that America is systemically racist, and anyone who thinks differently, children included, are part of the problem—whether students know it or not.

Since members of Congress reintroduced a legislative proposal this year to create national civics standards, the Education Department’s new rule would help shape the content of those standards around the intolerant ideas of critical theory.

In a proposed rule released April 19, federal education officials outlined new priorities for federal grant awards to K-12 educators for use on history and civics education in schools.

The agency would prioritize grants that use critical theory, a worldview that says racism is everywhere and anyone who disagrees is oppressing other people. The Education Department’s announcement highlights The New York Times’ 1619 Project and civics content that the National Museum of African American History and Culture created as exemplary material for educators to use.

Yet the proposal does not mention that the Times’ editors issued a correction to the 1619 Project after high-profile criticism from scholars who said the project’s claims about colonists fighting the American Revolution to protect slavery were wrong. Nor does the federal register say anything about how project editors refused to correct other factual inaccuracies after criticism from Pulitzer Prize-winning researchers.

The federal proposal is even more problematic for parents and teachers who want children to learn attitudes and behaviors that will help them to be good parents, neighbors, employees, and community members when they grow up.

The announcement highlights educational material from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture without admitting that museum officials had to withdraw some content after widespread complaints over the museum’s message.

Last summer, the museum released an infographic describing “white culture” as oppressive, and said ideas such as “hard work” and efforts to “be polite” are evidence of systemic oppression.

Students should not be taught to “work before play” or “plan for the future” because these ideas represent systems of power, according to the museum. Museum officials issued an apology and removed the document in July.

Meanwhile, state education officials across the country have also created content for K-12 children that treats students differently based on skin color and teaches students to be biased against others based on ethnicity.

Officials from several California school districts designed a new math curriculum that tells educators to “adapt homework policies to fit the needs of students of color” and “challenge the ways that math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, racist views.”

California’s Department of Education created a new ethnic studies curriculum that recommends instructional content from organizations such as Learning for Justice, a diversity training group created by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Learning for Justice’s materials include articles on how “whiteness” has been “weaponized” in schools and “anti-Blackness and white supremacy are baked into our country’s foundation.”

In Illinois, new teacher certification standards say that teachers should “recognize their [ethnic] identity” and “assess how their biases and perceptions affect their teaching practice,” including a teacher’s “unearned privilege.” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Educator Advisory Council” recommends an article that says every act is racist, the question is only “how much racism was in play?”

The Education Department’s proposal will drive ideas such as these into more classrooms and use taxpayer money to fund the effort. As Stanley Kurtz explains for National Review, federal initiatives such as this one are rarely isolated but reflect a presidential administration’s priorities.

Biden issued an executive order during his first week in office that is consistent with this latest proposal from the Education Department. If approved, the federal education agency’s new rule would ingrain critical theory in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the law governing federal actions on K-12 schools.

Washington is bringing critical theory’s prejudice to your child’s classroom, and whether or not you are a parent of a student, we all should reject the notion that the next generation should be trained in bigotry.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal.