On January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America. Shortly after his inauguration, he began issuing executive orders. One of those orders dissolved the 1776 Commission. This commission was a counter to The New York Times’ 1619 Project. The 1619 Project aimed to provide a more accurate picture of American slavery and the portrayal of Black Americans.
Trump’s 1776 Commission released their findings in a report that was shared on Dr. King’s holiday. The commission’s members concluded that schools needed to promote and implement a “patriotic education.” Furthermore the commission stated, “States and school districts should reject any curriculum that promotes one-sided partisan opinions, activist propaganda, or factional ideologies that demean America’s heritage, dishonor our heroes, or deny our principles.” This conclusion seems like a direct shot at the 1619 Project and its purpose. With the executive order to dissolve the 1776 Commission, the report has also been removed from the White House’s website.
The people who believe the 1776 commission was necessary and supported its findings do not go away just because the commission has been dissolved. These people are even in the classroom in front of children. Teachers need support on how to teach history correctly with a focus on including the full story, not only the side of the victor or those in power.
Even if a teacher wants to use the 1619 Project, children can be harmed if the teacher doesn’t understand the history included or understand how to bring in an additional resource.
This executive order is a first step to ensure children are receiving an equitable and inclusive education. However, educational equity and inclusion is more than one executive order. The future policies and executive orders will determine if the needle can be moved to improve educational outcomes for all.