“By studying America’s true heritage, students learn to embrace and preserve the triumphs of their forefathers while identifying and avoiding their mistakes.”
President Donald Trump released the 1776 Commission on Monday, which he put forth in 2020 to counter education programs that misrepresent America’s founding.
In September, Trump denounced these other programs, which included The New York Times‘ 1619 Project:
“Critical race theory, the 1619 Project, and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda, ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together. It will destroy our country,” the president said Thursday.
Trump said schools need to focus instead on “the legacy of 1776,” when American Colonies declared independence from Great Britain. The newly formed committee, Trump said, will be called the “1776 Commission” — a further dig at The Times’ project.
“American parents are not going to accept indoctrination in our schools, cancel culture at work or the repression of traditional faith, culture and values in the public square,” Trump said.
The 45-page document begins with an introduction that admits our founders were far from perfect:
Comprising actions by imperfect human beings, the American story has its share of missteps, errors, contradictions, and wrongs. These wrongs have always met resistance from the clear principles of the nation, and therefore our history is far more one of self-sacrifice [sic], courage, and nobility. America’s principles are named at the outset to be both universal applying to everyone—and eternal: existing for all time. The remarkable American story unfolds under and because of these great principles.
The report also says that “[T]he facts of our founding are not partisan,” but “are a matter of history.”
In a jab at the 1619 Project, the report states “[T]here was no United States of America before July 4th, 1776.” It also encourages people to turn away from such projects:
In order to build up a healthy, united citizenry, scholars, students, and all Americans must reject false and fashionable ideologies that obscure facts, ignore historical context, and tell America’s story solely as one of oppression and victimhood rather than one of imperfection but also unprecedented achievement toward freedom, happiness, and fairness for all. Historical revisionism that tramples honest scholarship and historical truth, shames Americans by highlighting only the sins of their ancestors, and teaches claims of systemic racism that can only be eliminated by more discrimination, is an ideology intended to manipulate opinions more than educate minds.
Educators must teach the facts about our founders. The 1776 Commission reminds people that education comes from state and local governments:
State and local governments—not the federal government—are responsible for adopting curricula that teach children the principles that unite, inspire, and ennoble all Americans. This includes lessons on the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitutional Convention. Educators should teach an accurate history of how the permanent principles of America’s founding have been challenged and preserved since 1776. By studying America’s true heritage, students learn to embrace and preserve the triumphs of their forefathers while identifying and avoiding their mistakes.
States and school districts should reject any curriculum that promotes one-sided partisan opinions, activist propaganda, or factional ideologies that demean America’s heritage, dishonor our heroes, or deny our principles. Any time teachers or administrators promote political agendas in the classroom, they abuse their platform and dishonor every family who trusts them with their children’s education and moral development.
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