Politics McConnell wants '1619 Project' removed from federal grant programs
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urging him to remove The New York Times's "1619 project" from federal grant programs.
"We write to express grave concern with the Department's effort to reorient the bipartisan American History and Civics Education programs, including the Presidential and Congressional Academies for American History and Civics and the National Activities programs, away from their intended purposes toward a politicized and divisive agenda," .
Mitch McConnell sends letter to Education secretary demanding removal of the 1619 Project from federal grant programs
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is wading into the culture wars Friday morning. © WAVE In a letter obtained by CNN, the Republican leader asks Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to abandon curriculum in American schools that McConnell argues tells a revisionist history of America's founding. McConnell claims these programs such as The New York Times 1619 Project "re-orient" the view of American History "away from their intended purposes toward a politicized and divisive agenda." Politico was the first to report on the letter.
McConnell continued that during a time where schools have been shuttered due to the pandemic students have suffered "substantial learning losses." Thus, the minority leader claimed, this is a time to "strengthen the teaching of civics in American history in our schools."
He further argued that the the Education Department's "proposed priorities" applaud works such as the "1619 Project" he characterized as "ill-informed advocacy" put ahead of "historical accuracy."
The letter is signed by McConnell and 37 other Republican senators.
The letter comes after the Department of Education the 1619 Project in the department's proposed priorities for American History and Civics Education and said they would offer grant programs for schools that used the "1619 Project" in the classroom.
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The "1619 Project" was started by the New York Times in 2019, aimed at highlighting American history since the first slave ship arrived in the American colonies in 1619 and exploring the legacy of slavery and racism in the United States.
McConnell's letter contends that the project has been criticized by historians and serves to "double down on divisive, radical, and historically-dubious buzzwords and propaganda."
"Actual, trained, credentialed historians with diverse political views have debunked the project's many factual and historical errors, such as the bizarre and inaccurate notion that preserving slavery was a primary driver of the American Revolution," the letter states.
Prominent liberal political strategists, academics and authors have their own criticisms of the 1619 Project but have yet to decide if they will go public with them, sources Politico.
"We request that you withdraw these Proposed Priorities and refocus on civic education and American history programs that will empower future generations of citizens to continue making our nation the greatest force for good in human history," the letter concludes.
The Hill has reached out to the Department of Education for comment.
1619 Project creator responds to McConnell's effort to block its teachings in public schools: He's saying 'the truth is too difficult' for America to bear .
"He's saying that we're far too fragile to be able to withstand the scrutiny of the truth," said 1619 creator Nikole Hannah-Jones of McConnell.The project, which was published by The New York Times Magazine in 2019, examines the legacy of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans throughout the nation's history, drawing the ire of conservatives who have sought to ban the body of work from being taught in schools.