Biden’s Dept. of Education reverses course on Critical Race Theory grants

Thanks to your feedback and thousands of others across the country, the U.S. Department of Education has reversed course on including references to the “1619 Project,” “anti-racism” works of activist Ibram X. Kendi and Critical Race Theory-inspired language in a proposed rule released in April on federal education grants.

On Monday (July 20), the department published a notice in the Federal Register regarding grant applications in American History and Civics Education programs that no longer ties the grants to the incorporation of inaccurate, intolerant and toxic ideas.

The U.S. Department of Education — under the leadership of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona — decided to back off from the proposal after the department received more than 35,000 comments on the proposed rule, according to the Washington Times. The majority of the comments received opposed the proposed rule and voiced concern over it.

On the department’s blog Homeroom, Secretary Cardona wrote that the grants program “has not, does not, and will not dictate or recommend specific curriculum to be introduced or taught in classrooms. Those decisions are — and will continue to be — made at the local level.”

While the proposed rule did not state the controversial material would be required for use, the references to the material throughout the document framed their use in K-12 public schools as an incentive to receive federal grants.

In Minnesota, curriculum and textbook selection is localized, as it is up to school boards to determine what instructional materials are used to teach state academic standards.

Currently, Gov. Tim Walz’s Department of Education is revising the state’s K-12 social studies standards. The next social studies committee meeting will be this Thursday, July 22 from 8:30am-3:00pm. A second draft is expected later this summer, and it’s imperative Minnesotans submit feedback on this draft to hold Gov. Walz, his education department and the social studies committee accountable for the standards that will frame what students learn — or don’t learn — over the next 10 years of their academic career. You can stay up to date on what is included and not included in the second draft once it’s released and how to submit feedback through American Experiment’s Raise Our Standards MN campaign.