EducationFederalCornyn Responds to Criticism that Bipartisan Civics Bill Promotes Critical Race Theory, Action Civics

Conservatives have criticized Cornyn for supporting the bill, worried it would promote progressive policies.
July 4, 2022
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In June, Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Chris Coons (D-DE) reintroduced the bipartisan education bill Civics Secures Democracy Act (CSDA) to the Senate floor.

The bill was first introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate in March 2021. Its summary reads, “This bill provides resources to expand educational programs in American civics and history, including by establishing grant and fellowship programs and reauthorizing various programs.”

According to its synopsis, the bill “establishes a fellowship program to diversify the civics and history education workforce,” “requires the National Assessment of Educational Progress in civics and history to be administered every two years to certain grade levels,” and reauthorizes and reforms grant programs and trust funds for students, instructors, and educational institutions.

In May 2021, conservative education group the National Association of Scholars (NAS) released an open letter to Cornyn and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), calling on them to withdraw their support from the CSDA.

The NAS claimed to sympathize with Cornyn and Cole’s desire for civic education reform, but warned that the Biden administration would exploit the bill to promote progressive ideas in education.

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Instead of promoting impartial civics, the NAS argued, the CSDA will allow the federal government to promote “Action Civics, which provides vocational training for ideologically partisan protest and lobbying, and for Critical Race Theory, which teaches students that America is a ‘systemically racist’ country.”

In a statement to Breitbart shortly after the letter’s release, Cornyn’s team responded, “Senator Cornyn’s legislation actually prohibits the Biden Administration from establishing federal curriculum, like CRT. Additionally, under his bill the K-12 grants are formula grants based on Title I allocations. Therefore, CRT could not be federally implemented by the Biden Administration because these awards are not made at the discretion of the secretary.”

“The bill was first introduced under the Trump Administration, and Sen. Cornyn signed the letter led by Leader McConnell last week on this issue.”

After Cornyn and Coons reintroduced the CSDA, National Review published an op-ed condemning the bill, claiming “this $6 billion pot of competitive grant money will create a de facto national curriculum” that would allow the federal government to control state education and promote action civics and critical race theory.

In response to the article, Cornyn tweeted, “We should return the teaching of history and civics to our classrooms so every child can grow up knowing what it means to be an American.”

“The false, hysterical claims are untrue and worthy of a Russian active measures campaign, not a serious discussion of our bill.”

Cornyn recently came under fire from conservatives for supporting a bipartisan gun reform law that strengthened background checks and set aside funding for states to create their own “red flag law” programs.

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Rob Laucius

Rob Laucius is the Assistant Editor of The Texan. A Texas native, he graduated summa cum laude from Hillsdale College in 2022 with a degree in History and has interned for the U.S. House of Representatives and Veterans Administration. In his free time, Rob enjoys reading and writing, watching movies, and long walks around his neighborhood.