The rise of Donald Trump underscores the failure of the American public education system. Dana Milbank writes:
Only a quarter of U.S. students are proficient in civics, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. And apparently, the right wants to keep it that way.
Civics education used to part of the American curriculum. Now, two Republican senators -- John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Cole of Oklahoma -- are sponsoring a bill that would authorize one billion dollars a year to improve civics education in the United States. The Right has erupted:
The Post’s Laura Meckler reported over the weekend, “Conservative media and activists are pelting the Republicans who support the bill to abandon it. They call the grant program a ‘Trojan horse’ that would allow the Biden administration to push a liberal agenda.”
Conservative writer Stanley Kurtz told Breitbart News that the bill would promote a “woke education” and a “Marxist-based philosophy” in which “teachers are forced to indoctrinate students with ideas like ‘systemic racism,’ ‘white privilege,’ and ‘gender fluidity.’ ” Kurtz wrote in National Review that the civics bill will promote a curriculum “built around radical Critical Race Theory.”
In reality, the civics bill does no such thing. The “Civics Secures Democracy Act” specifically states that it doesn’t “authorize the Secretary of Education to prescribe a civics and history curriculum.” That’s up to state and local leaders.
But the plain text of the bill didn’t stop Kurtz and his allies from spinning a conspiracy theory, based on their objections to another, unrelated grant program. (For that program, the Biden administration cited the New York Times’s “1619 Project” in touting the importance of teaching about the consequences of slavery.) So, now, it’s a safe bet that congressional Republicans will in large numbers oppose a bill promoting nothing more nefarious than civil discourse, voting, jury duty and volunteering.
Ignorance is the Right's best ally. And they will do everything they can to support that alliance.
One further note: I have recently readjusted the settings at Blogger and added an extra level of virus protection to this blog. If you continue to receive messages that this site is unsafe, please let me know.
Image: Omia's Personal Blog