SALT LAKE CITY (5/19/21) — Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined 20 other states in a letter to the Department of Education, urging the Biden administration to reconsider educational proposals aimed at imposing the teaching of critical race theory (CRT), the 1619 Project, and other similar curricula into America’s classrooms. The multistate coalition opposing federal efforts to bring such teachings into U.S. classrooms is led by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, and addresses goals that are woven into a proposed new rule by the U.S. Department of Education establishing priorities for grants in American History and Civics Education programs.
Statement from Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes:
“We can’t right the wrongs of racism in our nation’s history by entirely re-writing our history from a racist perspective.
Our society, our schools, and the teaching of our history should allow diverse views on the American experience. They should absolutely recognize the elements of racism that have persisted in our past and continue in the present.
Despite so many great things we have accomplished throughout American history, we have also made harrowing mistakes from slavery and segregation to exclusion, internment, and anti-miscegenation.
I agree we need transparency and must own those mistakes collectively as a country. We should be as unafraid to confront these failures as we are proud of our successes. We must learn from the past and be diligent to not repeat or perpetuate these failings in the future.
But this education and reckoning should be based on facts—good, bad, and ugly—not the promotion of one ideology of discontent over the common experience and success of so many others.
The 1619 project and particularly the Kendi version of Critical Race Theory are not the answer to providing more diversity, inclusion or accountability, particularly for elementary-age students. They are divisive and foment only more resentment along already fractured lines. For example, Kendi would go beyond education to indoctrination and promotion of his ideology as the sole truth. He asks not just for recognition and remorse for injustices but ascribes racist motives to all of America and our institutions for any negative experiences endured by people of color. He promotes equity instead of equality. Outcomes over opportunity. Blame versus accountability.
My fight is not with an honest telling of history from those who have been or felt oppressed. It is with those who would tell my children they are racist because they are capitalist and continue to believe in the reality of the American Dream.“
Read a copy of the letter here.