On Thursday, President Trump not only recognized Constitution Day in words, he took action to preserve its wisdom for future generations by highlighting the crisis in our public education system.
In his speech, the President sounded the alarm on the poisonous and false vision of our past that is being taught in history classrooms across America in recent years.
“As many of you testified today, the left wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left wing indoctrination in our schools. It’s gone on far too long. Our children are instructed from propaganda tracts like those of Howard Zinn that try to make students ashamed of their own history. The Left has warped, distorted, and defiled the American story with deceptions, falsehoods, and lies.
There’s no better example than the New York Times totally discredited 1619 Project. This project rewrites American history to teach our children that we were founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth. America’s founding set in motion the unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery, secured civil rights, defeated communism and fascism, and built the most fair, equal, and prosperous nation in human history.”
As odious as the historically-discredited 1619 Project is, it’s important to remember that it’s really a capstone on what has been at least a decade of increasing anti-American indoctrination in the public school system, than something truly new. Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States has long been a high school staple, and even more mainstream textbooks often exaggerate America’s very real past sins, and downplay her great successes.
Schools are teaching very little civic knowledge about the United States and its traditions and political system. Only one in five Americans under 40 can pass the citizenship test given to naturalizing immigrants, which centers around grade-school basics like knowing the three branches of the federal government.
But while public schools have produced two generations utterly ignorant about rudimentary civics, the narrative that America is a fundamentally unjust nation is coming through loud and clear. Two thirds of millennials believe that America is a racist and sexist country, and nearly two in five believe that this country is “among the most unequal societies in the world.”
President Trump’s 1776 Commission will not produce, as some worry, a national curriculum imposed on schools from Washington D.C., nor is it a whitewashing of slavery or injustices committed against black Americans in the past, as reported misleadingly in NPR. Instead, it will provide a spotlight for American parents, highlighting that a truly “patriotic education” can and should include thoughtful discussion about America’s failings.
But it should do so without alienating future citizens from their country, and without taking aim at the heart of what has made the United States great: the creed enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, that stands always as a rebuke to injustice, racial or otherwise, and has lit the way as we continue our grand experiment in becoming a more perfect union.