WASHINGTON, D.C. – Some critics are claiming that the recently-reintroduced in Congress “Civics Secures Democracy Act” (CSDA) – which would distribute $6 billion in grant money to states over a six year period to support educational programs in civics and history – would, if passed, allow the Biden Administration to strong-arm applicants to incorporate the controversial Critical Race Theory (CRT) teachings into school curriculums.
CRT essentially teaches that institutions in the United States are laced with racism embedded in laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that are designed to keep white people in power at the expense of minorities. Supporters argue that CRT promotes culturally-relevant teaching practices changes how the history of slavery is taught, whereas critics claim the subject breeds unneeded social division and racial tension.
Most likely the Biden Admin will designate certain qualifications into CSDA – if it is passed – that would require applicants to adhere to certain parameters in order to receive grant money; it is that aspect of the bill that some anticipating it being used as a “back door” to allow CRT into schools, although there is no direct language in it saying as such.
Compared to a previous version of CSDA, any language referencing CRT – such as “action civics” – has been scrubbed, but the bill does refer to establishing civics programs directed toward “traditionally underserved students.”
However, while the U.S. Department of Education under the Biden Administration has displayed a need to incorporate CRT teachings into public schools, both federal law and the language within the CSDA bill itself bar the Biden Admin from formally imposing a curriculum on states. But some conservatives are nonetheless claiming that the use of clandestine channels – including “strings” being attached to grants and purported left-leaning staff of state education departments – could lead the way for CRT to be introduced to education on a national level.
The CSDA bill currently enjoys support from both sides of the political aisle, with Republican Senators Bill Cassidy (LA) and James Inhofe (OK) as co-sponsors. With members of the GOP – who have typically opposed CRT curriculum – this deeply involved in the legislation, it seems the ultimate impact of CSDA, provided it passed both Congress and the Senate, remains to be seen.
A vote for CSDA is expected to take place this summer, just before the August recess.