By Jack Harris | Writer
October 4, 2020
In a White House Press Conference held at the National Archives Museum on Constitution Day, President Donald Trump announced his plans on signing an Executive Order called the “1776 Commission,” a plan to implement patriotic education.
Amidst the growing movement to promote equality in our country, many are beginning to advocate for a renewal of the material taught about America’s past. Historians and educational reformers are calling for American school systems go more in depth when teaching about slavery and systemic racism.
Currently, a program known as the “1619 Project” is being further incorporated into our curriculums at school. The 1619 Project, an initiative created by New York Times Magazine, aims to put the “consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans” as an important part of America’s history.
Donald Trump was quick to address this issue, making it very clear that the opposite had to be done. “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 on Constitution day.
“I agree with Trump’s idea about pushing for more patriotic education,” SCHS senior Garrett Carter said.
Critical race theory examines society and culture as they correlate with race, including how certain races may be represented weaker in the distribution of power and law in our society. This theoretical framework argues that many social problems are caused by the societal structures that lead to incorrect cultural assumptions that many people believe. Courses on critical race theory are already being offered on various college campuses around the country.
“I don’t think Trump is doing the right thing about wanting more patriotic education as opposed to the history we learn in class today,” SCHS senior Cameron Culkin said.
Like every other issue in our country today, this plan has become very political. Democrats are appalled by Trump’s proposal that, in simple terms, would talk less about America’s dark past and more about how Americans should be proud of their heritage. Many citizens cannot believe that Trump put forth this plan in a time when the nation is undergoing substantial change revolving around the Black Lives Matter movement. Republicans are in support of Trump’s plan and believe that the 1619 Project, along with critical race theory, leave a negative impact on America’s youth.
“Critical race theory,” Republican political ideologist Ben Shapiro said, “is a neo-marxist, garbage ideology that should not be taught on any college campus, any high school, any government agency, or any contracting agency with the federal government.”
The bottom line is that a presidential election is around the corner, and Trump’s push for the 1776 Commission has been the subject of both widespread controversy and support. This issue is yet another example of the partisan division within America. History, however, should always be an important part of our nation’s identity, and how it is portrayed will continue to inspire debate as Americans struggle with the lessons of our past. The way that we choose to remember our past will affect how we act as a country in the future.