We didn’t really need to know Thom Tillis’s position on The 1619 Project, but now we have it.
Tillis and several other U.S. Senate Republicans re-introduced a bill Monday that would prohibit federal funds from being used to teach the project in elementary and secondary schools across the country.
“Americans do not want their tax dollars going towards promoting radical ideologies meant to divide us instead of being used to promote the principles that unite our nation,” Tillis said in a press release. “Our students deserve a rigorous understanding of civics and American history to understand both our successes and failures as a nation. I do not support diverting taxpayer resources towards promoting ideological and misleading depictions of our nation’s history.”
The bill was originally introduced in July 2020 by Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton, who you may remember from hits like using The New York Times opinion section to call for military action against Black Lives Matter protesters, or promoting the idea that slavery was a “necessary evil,” or possibly being more disliked in Washington than Ted Cruz.
If the bill was passed right now, schools receiving federal funding would see said funding decreased based on the cost of teaching The 1619 Project; since the curriculum is free online, this would require calculating how much time a teacher spent planning and teaching the lesson.
Aside from Tillis and Cotton, other Republican co-sponsors of the bill include John Boozman (Ark.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (W.Va.), Tommy Tuberville (Ala.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). Republican representatives Ted Budd and Dan Bishop of North Carolina have co-sponsored the companion bill introduced in the U.S. House. Never one to stay off the bandwagon, fellow GOP Representative Madison Cawthorn tweeted about the dangers of the project and critical race theory back in May.
The 1619 Project, an expansive multimedia endeavor led by UNC alumna Nikole Hannah-Jones, has been a Republican talking point in recent weeks as conservatives lead a moral panic against critical race theory. Locally, this resulted in the UNC Board of Trustees declining to vote on Hannah-Jones’s tenure application, even after her legal team threatened to sue for discrimination.
North Carolina has at least five more years with Tillis before his position will be up for grabs in 2026. Hopefully, the N.C. Democratic Party finds a candidate that’s up for the challenge (and who can keep their lukewarm sexts out of the public eye).
If you want to use school curriculum to educate your children using The 1619 Project, there are lesson plans and other resources available for free through the Pulitzer Center.
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