Exclusive: Ed Secretary Offers ‘Bogus Window Dressing’ on Critical Race Theory

People hold up signs during a rally against "critical race theory" (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. - "Are you ready to take back our schools?" Republican activist Patti Menders shouted at a rally opposing anti-racism teaching that …
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

The author of model legislation that seeks to ban progressive “action civics” curriculum at the state level told Breitbart News the reports that Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is retreating from requiring federal grants to be tied to the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) or the 1619 Project is “bogus window dressing, nothing more.”

Stanley Kurtz, who penned the Partisanship Out of Civics Act, a model for legislation that seeks to ban action or protest civics at the state level, responded to some reports that stated Cardona had backed away, in a blog post, from requiring applications for American History and Civics grants to be linked to projects involving CRT or the 1619 Project.

Cardona reportedly made the change in response to thousands of negative comments about the race-focused instruction.

Kurtz, however, cautioned those viewing the blog post as a triumph.

“It’s a serious mistake to interpret this move as a substantive victory,” he said. “The change shows that the Biden Education Department is running scared. But the change itself is mere window dressing.”

“The analogy is the bogus revisions the College Board made to the AP U.S. history framework in response to conservative pushback,” he continued. “The College Board removed the most controversial phrasing, but did nothing to change the fundamental bias of the curriculum.”

In a blog post Friday at the U.S. Education Department website, Cardona never specifically mentioned “Critical Race Theory” or the “1619 Project,” but wrote the American History and Civics grant program “has not, does not, and will not dictate or recommend specific curriculum be introduced or taught in classrooms.”

“Those decisions are – and will continue to be – made at the local level,” the secretary added, noting his department is posting notices that invite grant applicants to “address topics that are important to the Department,” and, in particular, two “priority” areas:

The first invitational priority encourages projects that incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives into teaching and learning. This priority is included because the Department recognizes the value of supporting teaching and learning that reflects the rich diversity, identities, histories, contributions, and experiences of all students.

A second invitational priority encourages projects that improve students’ information literacy skills. At a time when our democratic institutions are threatened by misinformation and disinformation, our democracy depends on robust civic engagement and informed public discourse, and civics education can help students become better citizens by developing the skills necessary to distinguish between accurate and inaccurate information.

“Through the teaching of American history and civics, we can continue our efforts toward reaching those founding ideals of our nation,” Cardona said. “And as President Biden has noted, while we still haven’t yet lived up to all of those ideals, we will never stop trying.”

In April, the Biden education department proposed a rule urging the development of “culturally responsive teaching” in American History and Civics. The proposal held up the widely discredited New York Times’ 1619 Project as a model for schools to teach children the United States is fundamentally a racist nation.

The department said at the time the rule would be in keeping with President Joe Biden’s executive order titled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

The education department stated in providing background for the proposed rule:

[T]here is growing acknowledgement of the importance of including, in the teaching and learning of our country’s history, both the consequences of slavery, and the significant contributions of Black Americans to our society. This acknowledgement is reflected, for example, in the New York Times‘ landmark ‘1619 Project’ and in the resources of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History.

Additionally, the department had elaborated on its proposal, citing the work of Critical Race Theory proponent Ibram X. Kendi, author of books such as Antiracist Baby:

Accordingly, schools across the country are working to incorporate anti-racist practices into teaching and learning. As the scholar Ibram X. Kendi has expressed, “[a]n antiracist idea is any idea that suggests the racial groups are equals in all their apparent differences—that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities.” … It is critical that the teaching of American history and civics creates learning experiences that validate and reflect the diversity, identities, histories, contributions, and experiences of all students.

“In this case, Cardona has removed the high-controversy references to 1619 and Kendi, but kept the general invitation to submit proposals that favor ‘diversity,’” Kurtz told Breitbart News. “Nothing has happened other than removing the most controversial material in order to hide the intentions of the department. If the big civics bills pass, you can bet that the Biden Education Department will still use the money to fund Critical Race Theory.”

Recently Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) vetoed a deceptive civics bill at the state level that would  have allowed state sponsorship and funding of “action” or “protest” civics, an education method that permits students to earn class credit for participating in, or helping to organize, political protests or lobbying efforts.

Kurtz has warned approval of such measures will likely only aid leftist causes by providing grants for students to earn credit for joining in events such as Black Lives Matter protests, lobbying state lawmakers with Planned Parenthood for comprehensive sex education, and inciting students to organize protests for gun control, as was the case already with the Obama administration following the Parkland shootings.

DeSantis vetoed SB 146, titled Civic Literacy Education, one that passed the Florida legislature unanimously with the backing of prominent sponsors.

The bill would have required the Florida commissioner of education to “develop criteria for a civic literacy practicum that meets certain goals” and authorize “time spent on specified civic engagement activities to count toward requirements for certain scholarships and academic awards,” the bill’s description states.

While DeSantis had already moved to prohibit teaching the principles of Critical Race Theory in Florida schools, SB 146 could have re-opened the gate to the Marxist ideology, wrote Kurtz at National Review.

Several “action” or “protest” civics bills, however, have already been introduced at the federal level.

Kurtz told Breitbart News the Biden education department’s original rule “was a classic Washington gaffe” in that it “prematurely revealed its true intentions.”

“Now they’ve tried to hide their goals, but it’s too late,” he explained. “Cardona favors CRT, as he always has, and nothing in this revision will prevent him from funding CRT with tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars if the big civics bills pass.”

Kurtz warned those who have been battling CRT: “Don’t be fooled.”

“This is bogus window dressing, nothing more,” he cautioned. “The Biden administration is on the defensive over CRT, and that’s good. But give them the money and they will still push CRT on the country, just like Obama did with Common Core.”

“And remember, the priority criteria written into the civics bills themselves heavily favor leftist action civics,” he noted. “That means the federal civics bills are a prescription for forcing leftist indoctrination on America’s schools. Nothing has happened to remove that threat.”

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