The United States Department of Education is walking back plans to encourage the use of critical race theory in civics education curricula.
The move comes after several months of conservative-led activism against the left-wing ideology, which alleges that white people and racial minorities in the United States respectively belong to the oppressor and oppressed classes.
The department published a notice Monday in the Federal Register requesting applications for grants that dropped references to published anti-racism works that had been mentioned in proposed rules released in April for the American History and Civics Education grant program, and that had drawn the ire of conservatives.
The proposed rules did not actually suggest the contested material would be required for grantees to use, but Education Secretary Miguel Cardona addressed concerns of critics by making clear in a blog post that curriculum decisions will not be dictated by the federal government.
The April proposal lauded The New York Times’ “landmark” 1619 Project — which emphasizes the role of slavery as a core reality in the founding of the United States — and quoted from How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. The new notice dropped both references and appeared to avoid any other nods toward critical race theory.
Opponents of critical race theory approved Education Secretary Miguel Cardona’s amendment of the grant proposal.
“Thousands of Americans across the country responded to the federal government’s request for comment on this issue, and sent a clear message that this was not an appropriate use of tax dollars,” said Parents Defending Education President Nicole Neily. “We are gratified that the Biden Administration has responded to this feedback.”
“Today’s decision is a win for the parents and students,” added Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “Future generations of Americans deserve to receive a rich, rigorous education in civics and our nation’s history. But this will hardly be the last word in the fight to preserve real history and real civics in the face of the revisionism that is increasingly sought by the far left.”
As parents continue to push back against the spread of Critical Race Theory in schools, the framework remains in the American public consciousness.
Earlier this month, an African-American father named Ian Rice explained to his children’s school board that Critical Race Theory seeks to teach children that “white people are bad.”
“That’s not true,” he said. “That would teach my daughter that her mother is evil.”
“This board and this school district has failed,” Rice told the administrators. “[Critical race theory] was never meant to be brought into grade schools, high schools — at all. It’s actually taught in the collegiate atmosphere, more importantly, the legal portion of the collegiate atmosphere to see different laws through the lens of race, from an ethical standpoint, not for grade schoolers and high schoolers.”
Rice observed that racial tensions and issues are “nowhere near what they used to be decades ago,” though America still has “a long way to go.”
“But I believe the people here don’t look at me as a black man, they look at me as a man standing in front of you addressing the issue we are all very passionate about,” Rice closed to raucous applause from fellow parents.
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