GOP-Proposed Bills Seek To Limit How Racism And Slavery Are Taught

Republican lawmakers in several states are looking to limit the way American schools teach racism, oppression, and slavery to students. 

The proposed legislation is looking to reinvigorate the doctrine of the now-disbanded 1776 Commission established under the administration of former president Donald Trump

According to a report by The Associated Press, proposals in Iowa, Mississippi, and Arkansas, would prohibit public schools from using the “1619 Project” by New York Times’ award-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones

The report says Republican governors are favoring education reforms that mirror Trump’s debunked initiatives. 

The reason? To prevent left-wing ideals from indoctrinating students in grade school, as reported by the outlet.  

Civil rights advocates, educators, and policymakers are taking a stand, however, citing children’s education will be negatively impacted if states vote to skip over certain parts of American history.

“The idea of simply saying you’re not going to use certain materials because you don’t like what they’re going to say without input from professionals makes no sense,” James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association told the AP. 

Arkansas’ state legislature says material like the “1619 Project” is “racially divisive and revisionist account of history that threatens the integrity of the Union by denying the true principles on which it was founded.” 

“It should not be taught as history,” he said. 

Hannah-Jones told the AP the intent of the project wasn’t to replace educational materials taught in school, and said it’s being used to fuel political fears. 

“It’s one thing to not like a particular piece of journalism, it’s another thing to seek to prohibit its teaching,” she said. Hannah-Jones, a native of Iowa where the project might be banned, won a Pulitzer Prize for the project. 

Lowery is working on another bill that would ban content beyond the 1619 Project, effectively banning any course that promotes social justice for one racial group. 

An Oklahoma bill was proposed to terminate teachers who teach that the US is racist or other topics determined to be divisive. 

Some states under Republican control are proposing large amounts of money to back the legislation. South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem proposed using $900,000 to include a civics curriculum that teaches students the US is “the most unique nation in the history of the world.” 

Mississippi proposed using $3 million for a “Patriotic Education Fund” towards limiting the teaching of slavery and other topics Gov. Tate Reeves called “revisionist history.” 

Last week, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott told state lawmakers students have to learn “what it means to be an American and what it means to be a Texan,” but didn’t give specific changes he wants to see. 

It’s not clear yet how the proposed bills will do in state legislation chambers, but the calls for these bans are echoes of Trump’s impact and are similar to tactics to control information taught in schools during the era of Jim Crow. 

Photo: Getty Images

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