Quantcast
Home / Recent news / Republican legislator wants to defund school district that uses 1619 Project

Republican legislator wants to defund school district that uses 1619 Project

The “1619 Project” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning series from the New York Times Magazine that puts slavery and contributions of black Americans at the center of American history. It has come under heavy criticism from conservatives who accuse it of encouraging anti-American views.

The “1619 Project” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning series from the New York Times Magazine that puts slavery and contributions of black Americans at the center of American history. It has come under heavy criticism from conservatives who accuse it of encouraging anti-American views.

A Republican legislator wants state education officials to defund a Phoenix school district unless it stops using the “1619 Project” in classrooms, arguing the latter encourages a  “dangerous ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality.” 

In a letter, Rep. John Fillmore, an Apache Junction Republican, told Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman that the district’s use of the “1619 Project” violates a law banning ethnic studies programs.

“The curriculum is grounded in a collection of politically charged essays and various other dubious works that aim to revise the history of America by highlighting the influence slavery has had on pivotal historical events predating our nation’s founding,” Fillmore wrote.

John Fillmore

John Fillmore

The state can punish districts that violate the ethnic studies ban by withholding up to 10% of their monthly state aid. Fillmore urged Hoffman, who is a Democrat, to do just that.

“While these types of works may be appropriate in a college-level course, where theories and competing viewpoints can be explored and debated, they do a disservice to our younger students who are not prepared to think critically,” Fillmore wrote.

Hoffman spokeswoman Morgan Dick said curriculum is set locally and there hasn’t been any discussions of cutting Balsz’ or any other districts’ funding.

The “1619 Project,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning series from the New York Times Magazine that puts slavery and contributions of black Americans at the center of American history, has come under heavy criticism from conservatives who accuse it of encouraging anti-American views, even leading former President Donald Trump to establish a “1776 Commission” to issue a response. Many conservatives view it as a flawed reading of history, arguing it paints America as a fundamentally racist nation. 

Fillmore and Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, criticized Balsz’ decision in December to start using the project in classrooms.

“This is the reality of what America is,” Balsz Superintendent Arleen Kennedy told the Arizona Republic at the time, saying it would present a more honest view of American history. “And whenever you say that, people automatically go to the negative, and say, ‘Well, you’re calling America bad.’ What we’re doing is we’re trying to put context to what it means to be American, make no bones about it.”

Fillmore cited the 1619 Project, among several other factors, in his explanation during a House Government and Elections Committee meeting last week of why he was voting against HB2590, a resolution declaring the third Tuesday in January “National Day of Racial Healing” in Arizona. House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen, sponsored the legislation. Fillmore said America had been making progress on race relations since the 1960s until Barack Obama’s presidency when, he said, the country became more divided. He also said he had at times felt reverse discrimination as a white person due to affirmative action programs.

“When I hear things like ‘Black Lives Matter’ but I can’t say ‘All Lives Matter,’ and I see this kind of stuff, it just tears at my head,” Fillmore said at the Feb. 18 hearing on Bolding’s bill. “And I hate to quote Rodney, but, ‘why can’t we all just get along?’ Because this kind of stuff aggravates at us.”

John Kavanagh

John Kavanagh

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, voted for Bolding’s bill, which was enough to get it out of committee, but it remains to be seen whether it will make it to the House floor. At Thursday’s House GOP caucus, several members argued against bringing the bill forward and accused the Democrats of using the debate to paint Republicans as racist. Kavanagh, who heads the Government and Elections Committee and who decided to hold a hearing on it in the first place, said he believes Bolding’s intent is innocuous and he would support it if the Democrats don’t use it in an inflammatory way. 

“But if they’re going to use this as a vehicle to make divisive racial statements then it’s going to cause more harm than good,” he said. 

Rep. Walt Blackman, R-Snowflake, predicted the debate would “turn out to be a circus” and that he, as the only black Republican in the Legislature, would be thrust into the center of it.

“I really don’t feel like having to stand up as the only member of this body with a darker tan than most of you defending something that is ridiculous and a waste of time, and as long as we placate to this narrative that we are going to be wasting time (on) doing the things we really need to do,” he said. “I can say with personal experience that there’s nothing wrong with our society when we are talking about racial injustice and they’re just going to play on it and then the camera’s going to be on me.” 

4 comments

  1. I’m just tired of Arizona distiguishing itself as one of the most backward states in the country. Why do we teach history? Is it to hide from our past, creating heroes and villians to suit political agendas? Or is it to know; to understand and to learn? History’s biggest value is to help us make decisions about the future.

  2. Well, the 1619 Project is not simply disputed by conservatives. It’s disputed by reputable historians.

    From Wikipedia: :In a letter published in The New York Times in December 2019, historians Gordon S. Wood, James M. McPherson, Sean Wilentz, Victoria Bynum and James Oakes expressed “strong reservations” about the project and requested factual corrections, accusing the project of putting ideology before historical understanding.”

    It’s important to report more than just the side of the news you like, Nathan.

  3. There are two ways to address bias and inaccurate teaching of history. The first it to correct as best as we can the bias and inaccuracies currently present in our teaching of history. The second is to replace the current curriculum with a curriculum that is likewise biased and incorrect in the opposite direction. Sadly, the 1619 project has doubled down on the second method, offering the most biased and inaccurate curriculum imaginable.

  4. While it’s easy to be bewildered by how obvious are the lies the left tells, it makes prefect sense once you realize the purpose of leftwing propaganda isn’t to convince. This quote is the best sums it up:
    “In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”
    ― Theodore Dalrymple

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

 

x

Check Also

tax-cuts-web

Republicans have votes in House for flat income tax (access required)

While House Republican leaders are optimistic that a major tax overhaul that would shift Arizona to a flat income tax will get 31 votes in that chamber, it may need changes before it becomes something that can pass the Senate.

/* code for tag simpli.fi */