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Chicago Public Schools CEO Says NYT 1619 Project to Be Taught in All City High Schools

The New York Times office in New York City (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

The CEO of Chicago Public Schools announced this week that the New York Times‘s 1619 Project is being provided as a supplemental resource to every one of the system’s high schools.

“Thanks to our partners at the Pulitzer Center, every CPS high school will receive 200–400 copies of the New York Times’ The 1619 Project this week as a resource to help reframe the institution of slavery, and how we’re still influenced by it today—from the workforce management system created to harness enslaved labor and the incredible wealth that came from its unsparing efficiency to the music that you may very well be listening to now,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson wrote in an essay published Tuesday.

The 1619 Project, a collection of writings and photography marking the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery, has been challenged by critics as containing several misrepresentations and inaccuracies. The Times has said the project is designed “to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

“As educators, we are always looking for new tools and strategies to help students contextualize the world around them so they may one day become informed and effective citizens,” Jackson said. “In order for our students to engage with the issues of today, it is essential that they have an honest accounting of our country’s past.”

“It is my sincere hope that parents and families explore the project with their children; teachers examine these curricular materials and share it with their students; and principals support staff and students as they tackle this subject,” she added.

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