- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 23, 2020

Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, moved Thursday to defund schools that teach students about U.S. history using curricula derived from The New York Times’ “The 1619 Project.”

Mr. Cotton offered a bill, the Saving American History Act, that would prohibit the use of federal funds to educate students using the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning project.

Launched last year, the project aims to reframe American history by making the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia — 1619 — the year of the nation’s founding.

Schools and school districts in several major U.S. cities have subsequently announced plans to incorporate the project into their curricula, Mr. Cotton complained.

“The New York Times’s 1619 Project is a racially divisive, revisionist account of history that denies the noble principles of freedom and equality on which our nation was founded,” Mr. Cotton said in a statement. “Not a single cent of federal funding should go to indoctrinate young Americans with this left-wing garbage.”

Mr. Cotton’s bill, as written its current form, contains similarly dismissive language strongly opposing what he calls a “distortion” of U.S history.

“An activist movement is now gaining momentum to deny or obfuscate this history by claiming that America was not founded on the ideals of the Declaration but rather on slavery and oppression,” Mr. Cotton’s bill reads in part.

“The Federal Government has a strong interest in promoting an accurate account of the Nation’s history through public schools and forming young people into knowledgeable and patriotic citizens,” it continues.

If passed, the bill would prohibit the use of federal funds for any elementary or secondary school “to teach The 1619 Project initiative,” according to its language. It would also ban any schools that teach those curriculums from receiving federal funding for professional development.

Mr. Cotton, a U.S. Army veteran and member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, cited news reports that mention the use of the 1619 Project to develop educate students in cities including Chicago, Newark, Buffalo and Washington, D.C.

“One of the things that we are looking at in implementing The 1619 Project is to let everyone know that the issues around the legacy of enslavement that exist today, it’s an American issue, it’s not a Black issue,” Dr. Fatima Morrell, associate superintendent for culturally and linguistically responsive initiatives for Buffalo Public Schools, previously told the city’s NPR station.

Conservatives besides Mr. Cotton have criticized the project, meanwhile. Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House, previously called the project “propaganda” mean to “brainwash” New York Times readers.

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