JEFFERSON CITY — Eric Schmitt, the Missouri attorney general, joined a letter with 20 other states calling on the Biden administration to reconsider education proposals aimed at teaching critical race theory.

The letter, which is spearheaded by the Indiana attorney general, also urges against teaching the 1619 Project and other similar curricula in classrooms across the country.

In April, the U.S. Department of Education issued two proposed priorities for the American history and civics education programs: one for “projects that incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives into teaching and learning” and the second for projects that promote “information literacy.”

The purpose is “to support the development of culturally responsive teaching and learning and the promotion of information literacy skills in grants under the programs.”

According to the letter, although the department does not overtly refer to critical race theory in its priorities, “it is prioritizing teaching this highly controversial ideology through the vehicle of this grant program.

“This is hardly what Congress intended when it authorized this program. CRT focuses how our current government mechanisms are irretrievably flawed. Its theorists posit that our Nation’s values, ideals, foundations and institutions — the things Congress intended to promote — instead produce inequity demanding actions to modify this result.”

Later, the letter states that “Congress made clear that the purpose of the programs is to advance a traditional understanding of American history, civics, and government.

“The proposed priorities would do little to advance that goal and, based on the proposal’s support for the 1619 Project, would endorse teaching factually deficient history.”

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office also wrote its own comment on the matter. In a news release, Schmitt said calling critical race theory and the 1619 Project history through a “flawed and harmful lens,” specifically taking concern with the teachings from Ibram X. Kendi, a professor and antiracist activist.

Attorney generals from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia also are behind the Indiana letter.

  • Feature reporter for The Columbia Missourian, Spring 2021. Reporter, Anchor and Producer at KOMU 8 News. Studying broadcast journalism and political science. Contact me at aemf82@mail.missouri.edu.

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