American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten accused opponents of the New York Times‘s 1619 Project of trying to ban a “factual version of oppression in America,” in Thursday comments on Prime with Charles Blow on BNC.
“All of a sudden you’re hearing people talk about critical race theory, people who have no idea what that term means, who are trying to ban the 1619 Project, because it is trying to…actually teach a factual version of oppression in America,” Weingarten said.
The comments come amid controversy surrounding the U.S. Department of Education push to adopt curriculum based on certain parts of the 1619 Project, unveiled by the Times in 2019. The project initially claimed that the importation of the first slaves to American shores in 1619 constituted the nation’s “true founding,” although the phrase disappeared from later iterations of the project.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) wrote a letter to Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona last week, calling not to adopt nationwide curricula based on the project.
“Families did not ask for this divisive nonsense. Voters did not vote for it. Americans never decided our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil,” McConnell wrote. “If your Administration had proposed actual legislation instead of trying to do this quietly through the Federal Register, that legislation would not pass Congress.”
A number of states have advanced legislation to ban 1619 Project curricula from being taught at public schools. Idaho governor Brad Little signed a bill last week banning schools from teaching “critical race theory.”