Pillar IV: Give Parents More Control Over the Education of Their Children
Advocate for Teaching the Truth About America’s History
Over the past year, parents have been rudely awakened to the deficiencies of many of America’s schools. They have noticed a cavalier disregard for their concerns by education bureaucrats, politicians, and activists who seek to impose an ideological agenda on America’s children. All too often, they espouse the view that parents should take a back seat when it comes to their children’s education, despite evidence of mounting failures by the education establishment.
While teachers deserve tremendous respect for the professionalism they bring to their jobs, education activists have sought to introduce factually inaccurate and damaging teachings into our Nation’s schools. Racially divisive policies and theories and false teachings of the American founding are indoctrinating America’s youth with an anti-American ideology instead of preparing them for engaged citizenship by teaching rigorous subject matter.
We need honest teaching of America’s history in our schools, not a political agenda. Instead of promoting inaccurate and unpatriotic concepts, our schools should teach the true story about our Nation’s incredible yet imperfect history. When our students are taught the truth about our Nation’s founding, they will be proud to be Americans and will have a greater appreciation for their freedoms and the importance of defending them.
One example of activist, inaccurate teaching is The New York Times’s 1619 Project. This project is radical political advocacy masquerading as “journalism” with the goals of reframing American history and challenging national memory. The 1619 Project makes many historically inaccurate claims. While top historians in the country have disputed the accuracy of the 1619 Project, it has still been turned into a curriculum that has been disseminated in more than 4,500 schools across the country.
Contrary to what the majority of parents want, thousands of schools continue to use theories and projects that bring politics directly into the classroom. Some of the most alarming examples include an elementary school in Philadelphia forcing their fifth grade students to simulate a black power rally, the Oregon Department of Education adopting Critical Race Theory in mathematics, and Rockville Center High School in New York giving out a homework assignment that “demonized” the police. And the State of Illinois recently revised its teaching standards to require that educators “explore their own intersecting identities” and “critically think about the institutions in which they find themselves, working to reform [them] wherever necessary.”
Using political activism in our classrooms to tell a dishonest story of America to our children is wrong. Instead, we need to teach the accurate history of America, including our country’s struggles, faults, and missteps. America is not perfect, but we have long strived to live up to the founding ideals that make this country the most free and prosperous in the world. Only by teaching the honest American story can we learn from our past faults and failures and rally behind the noble ideas our Nation was founded on.
- 75% of parents with K-12 students do not believe schools should teach that “the founding ideals of liberty and equality were false when they were written, and America’s history must be reframed.”
- 80% of Americans oppose using classrooms to promote political activism to students.
- 69% of Americans oppose schools teaching that America was founded on racism and is structurally racist.
- Nearly 66% of Americans surveyed believe America’s public schools are headed off on the wrong track.
- Just 24% of Americans believe schools are headed in the right direction in terms of what children are being taught.
THE AMERICA FIRST AGENDA
At the federal level, support policies that:
- Ensure no current or future policies link federal education funding to the teaching of revisionist history, bigotry, or any other dishonest teaching.
- Preserve the right for states to control their education systems.
At the state level, support policies that:
- Ensure that no child in public school be compelled or directed to adopt or express belief in or support for bigotry or a revisionist history of America’s founding.
- Ensure that public schools teach core texts in American political development—including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Emancipation Proclamation, and others—and that students demonstrate basic civic literacy as a condition of graduation.
- Reform educator certification standards to state that courses that direct or compel students to express support for bigotry or a revisionist history of America should not be approved as counting toward educator certifications.
A Brief Look: Curricula: What Parents Need to Know to Get More Involved, America First Policy Institute (July 2021).
AFPI Model Legislation - The Combatting State-Sanctioned Bigotry Act, America First Policy Institute.
AFPI Parent Toolkit, America First Policy Institute.
AFPI/TPPF Grassroots Toolkit, America First Policy Institute.
Bill of Rights Institute Curriculum, Bill of Rights Institute.
CRT Legislation Tracker by Christopher Rufo, christopherrufo.com. Implementation of K–12 State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts and Literacy - Findings from the American Teacher Panel by V. Darleen Opfer, Julia H. Kaufman, and Lindsey Thompson, Rand Corporation (2017).
Indoctrination Map, Parents Defending Education.
The Culture of American K-12 Education: A National Survey of Parents and School Board Members, The Heritage Foundation (Jan. 2021).
The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum, Hillsdale College.