Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) on Monday introduced the Love America Act, a measure to promote patriotism in public schools and ban federal funding from going to schools teaching that the nation’s foundational texts are rooted in racism.
The legislation would require students to be able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance by first grade, the preamble of the Constitution by fourth grade, and the preamble of the Declaration of Independence by eighth grade. Tenth-grade students would be expected to identify the Bill of Rights.
The bill would also prohibit federal funds from going to schools that teach that the aforementioned texts are the result of white supremacy or racism.
Hawley told Fox News on Monday that the proposal is a response to the recent push to teach critical race theory in schools.
Hawley called CRT “poisonous” and said it is “a lie” to teach students that America is “systematically racist.”
“The only way to replace those lies is to teach kids the truth, and that’s what the Love America Act is about,” Hawley said.
“Over the past year, Americans have watched stunned as a radical ideology spread through our country’s elite institutions — one that teaches America is an irredeemably racist nation founded by White supremacists,” Hawley said in a statement announcing the Love America Act. “Now it has found its way into our children’s schools. We cannot afford for our children to lose faith in the noble ideals this country was founded on.
“We have to make sure that our children understand what makes this country great, the ideals of hope and promise our Founding Fathers fought for, and the love of country that unites us all,” he added.
The move comes after the president of the second-largest teachers’ union in America denied that critical race theory is taught in K–12 schools during remarks earlier this month in which she vowed to fight “culture warriors” who attempt to censor what she described as a realistic telling of the country’s history.
Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), said during a conference that the union is preparing litigation and is “ready to go.”
“Let’s be clear: Critical race theory is not taught in elementary schools or high schools. It’s a method of examination taught in law school and college that helps analyze whether systemic racism exists,” Weingarten said, according to a copy of the remarks posted on the union’s website.
Meanwhile, the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers’ union, voted last week to conduct opposition research on groups that oppose the use of critical race theory in school curricula. The theory’s implementation in classrooms nationwide has drawn outcry from parents, some of whom have received emails from their children’s schools about “Decentering Whiteness at Home.” Other parents have been alarmed to learn that their children in elementary school have been read “a book about whiteness” suggesting that “color matters.” Parents have also expressed outrage that teachers have been encouraging children to dissect “the painful truth” about their “own family,” regarding potential racist behavior.
Nearly 20 states have floated proposals to ban CRT. At least six states have already passed laws that limit how teachers can discuss race in the classroom, while nearly a dozen more are considering similar measures, according to the Daily Caller.