On the eve of the November 3rd election, President Trump signed an executive order that aims to restore “patriotic education.”
The order establishes the 1776 Commission, a federally-funded group of up to 20 members that will have 2 years to complete a report detailing the core principles of this nation.
The commission will also be responsible for advising the federal government on how to prioritize founding principles in grants and other services.
“The recent attacks on our founding have highlighted America’s history related to race,” reads the executive order. “These one-sided and divisive accounts too often ignore or fail to properly honor and recollect the great legacy of the American national experience – our country’s valiant and successful effort to shake off the curse of slavery and to use the lessons of that struggle to guide our work toward equal rights for all citizens in the present.”
“Despite the virtues and accomplishments of this Nation, many students are now taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but rather villains…Viewing America as an irredeemably and systemically racist country cannot account for the extraordinary role of the great heroes of the American movement against slavery and civil rights – a great moral endeavor that, from Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King, Jr., was marked by religious fellowship, good will, generosity of heart, and emphasis on our shared principles, and an inclusive vision for the future.”
The executive order gives Education Secretary Betsy DeVos 120 days to establish the 1776 Commission.
Trump’s executive order is radical and potentially dangerous, yet it is a necessary response to Democrats’ ongoing efforts to provide “alternate history” and diversity training and to remove statues of colonial and revolutionary heroes. Foremost among these efforts is the 1619 Project, an alternative narrative of US history that portrays the slave trade as the dominant factor in the founding of America rather than ideals like freedom of speech and freedom of religion (read more here).
Author’s Note: Legislating education at the federal level is a dangerous thing to do, but is, unfortunately, a necessary counter to the evils taking place in our classrooms. We must restore patriotic education.
Let’s also keep in mind that Trump is using what could be his last days in office to help teach our children American values. His predecessor used his last days to free hundreds of criminals.