Donald Trump Threatens to Defund California Schools

President Donald Trump has threatened to defund California schools if they choose to incorporate the New York Times' controversial 1619 Project into their curriculum, per Deadline. Trump took to Twitter to voice his disapproval with the California school system's supposed move, writing that the Department of Education is looking into the matter. The 1619 Project, a New York Times Magazine series that won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary, claims that the American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery. It also claims that 1619 is the accurate date for America's founding, as that is when slaves were brought to the colonies.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the Department of Education is looking into claims that the 1619 Project will be incorporated into the curriculum for California schools. He wrote that if this is the case, the California school system will no longer be funded by the government. His message came in response to a post that said that California had implemented the 1619 Project in its school system. Many have been critical of the 1619 Project due to its claims about the country. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a Republican, has claimed that the 1619 Project is a "revisionist account of history that denies the noble principles of freedom and equality on which our nation was founded." The senator currently has a bill pending that would prohibit schools from teaching the 1619 Project.

While Trump has voiced his disapproval of this project, many schools across the United States have already implemented it. According to Newsweek, Chicago's public school district, which is one of the largest in the United States, has been openly implementing the project into its curriculum for some time now. Dr. Janice Jackson, the CEO of the Chicago Public School System, announced that this project would be incorporated into its curriculum back in September of 2019. At the time, she wrote that "every CPS high school will receive 200–400 copies of The New York Times' The 1619 Project" and that it would be used as a "resource to help reframe the institution of slavery, and how we're still influenced by it today."

"The stories we tell about our nation's history matter deeply, and the 1619 Project offers us a new set of stories by 'placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are' through a collection of essays, stories, poems, and photography that marks the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery," Jackson continued to write. "As educators, we are always looking for new tools and strategies to help students contextualize the world around them so they may one day become informed and effective citizens." She went on to write that students must be aware of this "honest accounting of our country's past."