President Joe Biden revoked a recent Trump administration report that aimed to promote “patriotic education” in schools but that historians mocked and rejected as political propaganda.
In an executive order signed on Wednesday in his first day in office, Biden disbanded Donald Trump’s presidential 1776 Commission and withdrew a report it released Monday. Trump established the group in September as a response to The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which highlights slavery in America as the most important part of our nation’s history.
Historians have heavily criticized the “1619 Project.”
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In its report, which Trump hoped would be used in classrooms across the nation, the commission glorifies the country’s founders and condemns the rise of progressive politics.
The panel complained of “false and fashionable ideologies” that depict the country’s story as one of “oppression and victimhood.” Instead, it called for renewed efforts to foster “a brave and honest love for our country.”
Liberal historians widely panned the report, saying it offers a false and outdated version of American history that ignores decades of research.
Trump officials heralded the report as “a definitive chronicle of the American founding,” but scholars say it disregards the most basic rules of scholarship. It offers no citations, for example, or a list of its source materials.
Matthew Spalding, the panel’s executive director and a vice president at the conservative Hillsdale College, denied any wrongdoing, saying the panel’s members “contributed our own work and writing, under our own names, to the 1776 Report, which was an advisory report to the president.”
Spalding and other commission leaders did not immediately respond to other criticism leveled against the report.
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In his order dissolving the panel, Biden said it “sought to erase America’s history of racial injustice.”
James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, said the report is intended to discredit contemporary public policies rooted in America’s progressive reform movement.
“Historians need to be paying attention to curriculum conversations in localities and at the state level,” Grossman said. “The nonsense that’s in this report will be used to legitimate similar nonsense.”
In a public meeting of the commission this month, some members held out hope that Biden would keep the commission alive. But others said they needed to push the report to state and local education officials.
“It’s really going to be up to governors and state legislators and school board members and parents and higher education commissioners even students to take this charge and carry this work forward,” said Doug Hoelscher, a White House assistant under Trump.
The report ultimately demands a shift in teaching at schools and at U.S. universities, which the panel describes as “hotbeds of anti-Americanism.” It denounces any teaching that breeds contempt for American ideals, blaming that kind of “destructive scholarship” for the nation’s divisions and for “so much of the violence in our cities.”
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“To restore our society,” the report says, “academics must return to their vocation of relentlessly pursuing the truth and engaging in honest scholarship that seeks to understand the world and America’s place in it.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article