Trump issued a tweet on Sunday morning where he said his Department of Education would investigate whether California schools, as well as those in other states in the country, were using The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project in their public school curriculum.
The collection — which won a Pulitzer Prize when it was first published — reframes United States history around the date of August 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on America’s shores. Trump appeared to be sending out the message in response to a reportedly unverified account on Twitter that claimed California was using the reporting as part of its curriculum.
The announcement came just two days after Trump directed federal agencies to stop conducting racial sensitivity training related to “white privilege” and “critical race theory.” In that order, the president said he felt the training sessions on those topics was un-American.
Liptak said it’s not known just how pervasive the use of the 1619 Project is around the country. Some school districts have said they are going to be incorporating it into lesson plans, but there isn’t any kind of tracking going on as to who’s using it and where it will be rolled out.
The report at the center of this latest controversy was issued by the New York Times Magazine in 2019. After its launch, the Pulitzer Center was named as an education partner and announced its team would develop resources and curricula for teachers to use in their classrooms. It’s also available for free for anyone who wants to read it.
Liptak said his announcement about this report follows a growing pattern by Trump of disparaging attempts to process or even reckon with the country’s racial history. In his Republican National Convention nomination acceptance speech, the president addressed why he feels the situation is becoming a problem.
“Americans are exhausted, trying to keep up with the latest lists of approved words and phrases, and the ever more restrictive political decrees. Many things have a different name now, and the rules are constantly changing.”
The threat to cut funding from California and other state education departments isn’t the first move by Trump or his allies against the 1619 Project. As The Inquisitr reported in July, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton introduced legislation that would cut federal funding for any K-12 school district that teaches the interactive initiative as part of its curricula. However, it’s not believed that Cotton’s legislation has much traction in a deeply politically divided United States Senate.