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Several States Accused of Allocating COVID-19 Relief Funds to Implement Critical Race Theory Into School Curriculums

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Several states face accusations of using federal COVID-19 relief funds to try and push critical race theory in schools — including promoting “equity” and “implicit bias” training, according to a report Thursday.

Research compiled by One Nation, a conservative PAC, on Thursday showed that at least 13 states planned to use funds from the Biden administration’s $350 billion American Rescue Plan to implement programs such as “anti-racism” training.

The report compiled by One Nation shows that over $46 billion of American Rescue Plan funds have been allocated to implement critical race theory into the school curriculum of 13 states.

Per One Nation:

According to the research compiled by One Nation, 13 states are currently using ARP fundsunder theElementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) – billed as a fund to help schools safely reopen after the pandemic – to instead introduce CRT into local schools. The states are as follows:

  • California: $15.1 billion
  • New York: $9 billion
  • Illinois: $5.1 billion
  • Michigan: $3.7 billion
  • New Jersey: $2.8 billion
  • Virginia: $2.1 billion
  • Washington: $1.9 billion
  • Massachusetts: $1.8 billion
  • Minnesota: $1.3 billion
  • Connecticut: $1.1 billion
  • Nevada: $1.1 billion
  • Oregon: $1.1 billion
  • Rhode Island: $415.1 million

In an August 2021 report, President Biden’s Department of Education encouraged state and local school authorities to address the “reasons families of color have cited for not returning to in-person learning,” such as “fears of xenophobic and racist harassment” and to “implement strategies designed for systemic change at the local and school level.”

The California Department of Education’s ESSER application included the use of funds to “increase educator training and resources” in subjects such as “anti-bias strategies,” “environmental literacy,” “ethnic studies,” and “LGBTQ+ cultural competency.”

The New York application allowed its Civic Readiness Taskforce to provide “staff development on topics such as culturally responsive sustaining instruction and student support practices, privilege, implicit bias, and reactions in times of stress.” The approved plan also recommended that schools use social-emotional learning [SEL] to “support the work of anti-racism and anti-bias.”

The Illinois plan stressed “an emphasis on equity and diversity.” “The plan provided school districts with training on topics like ‘anti-racism’ and equity, and allocated a percentage of funds to create a statewide coalition to help school districts offer grants for projects addressing ‘issues pertaining to interrupted learning and support groups that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic (e.g., homeless, LGBQT [sic], marginalized communities).’”

The New York Post shed further details about the Empire State:

New York State’s funding application, which was approved by the US DOE in August and is publicly available, detailed plans to offer staff training to address “critical topics” including “implicit bias and structural racism” and “facilitating difficult conversations about race.”

The plan also said the state’s Board of Regents was “committed to creating an ecosystem of success built upon a foundation of diversity, equity, inclusion, access, opportunity, innovation, trust, respect, caring, relationship-building, and much more.”

“It is the policy of the board to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in all NYS districts and schools through the budgeting process, allocation of resources, and development of Board policies,” it continued.

Elsewhere in the plan, the New York DOE said “equity warriors” were working to “create school communities that are more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive than ever before.”

State DOE officials on Thursday denied that any funding went toward implementing CRT, saying the notion was “patently false.”

The department said its funds were put toward, in part, bringing back kids safely for in-person classes and addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID on economically disadvantaged students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care.

When the US DOE opened up the application process last year, it put out a list of strategies for how schools could implement the emergency relief funding — including guidance on how to assure families that schools could “reopen equitably for all students.”

“Rebuilding from COVID-19 is an opportunity to reexamine and strengthen school policies and practices to assure families that school will reopen equitably for all students,” the federal guidance said.

“Developing trust will not happen overnight – it requires a culture shift over time. With intentional training and professional development for educators and staff and the establishment of equitable practices to include more voices – including the voices of students and families — school leaders can lead their school communities to becoming healthier and more welcoming schools.”

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