Tell School Leaders How You Feel About 'Patriotic' Education


Illustration for article titled Tell School Leaders How You Feel About Patriotic Education

Photo: The Washington Post (Getty Images)

Hey, parents, guess what? Trump created a “1776 Commission” that aims to teach children “about the miracle of American history.” He wants to “defend the legacy of America’s founding, the virtue of America’s heroes, and the nobility of the American character.” In other words, he wants to—quite literally—rewrite our nation’s history to further glorify slave-owning white men.

As Arwa Mahdawi writes for The Guardian in a piece titled “Trump’s 1776 Commission is Proof America is Spiraling Toward Fascism”:

“Leftwing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools,” Trump declared in a speech on Thursday. He went on to condemn critical race theory and the 1619 Project, the New York Time’s Pulitzer-prize winning initiative to reframe American history by placing the consequences of slavery at the center. “[T]he crusade against American history is toxic propaganda [that] will destroy our country,” he announced. Per Trump, the only way to save the United States is to revise its history entirely; to gloss over violent colonialism and slavery and pretend America doesn’t have a bigoted bone in its body. Which is why, Trump said, he is setting up a 1776 Commission to teach students “about the miracle of American history”. Well, “miracle” is certainly one way to describe something completely made-up.

Before you start panicking, let’s be clear: Trump cannot actually dictate what kids are taught in school, and the federal government itself cannot currently mandate curricula. Those are decisions made at the state and local level. As the Washington Post points out:

For schools, the pressure campaign is more about politics and the bully pulpit than federal policy. What issues get taught in classrooms are “always local decisions,” said Arne Duncan, who served as education secretary under Obama.

When it comes to setting curriculums, Trump “has no ability to do that. He’s a fraud.”

Still, if you feel Trump’s attempt to rewrite history for “patriotic” education is abhorrent, it doesn’t hurt to be Very Clear right now with leaders in your district where you stand on this issue and what type of education you want and expect for your children.

Call or email your school’s principal, superintendent, and top district leaders in charge of curriculum. Find out when your (elected) public school board members will have their next meeting and attend to make your stance known during the “public comment” portion. Contact your PTA and other parents in the district and encourage them to do the same. Inundate school leaders with a clear message:

As long as your children attend this school, you expect them to learn factual information about their country’s history, both good and bad, including the racist, sexist, and homophobic parts of it. You want more anti-racism curriculum added, and—better yet—you expect this so-called “patriotic” miseducation to be denounced.



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