The American History and Civics Education programs, through which the Department of Education distributes a handful of grants per year for teachers and high school students to learn more about their country and its history, are a tiny backwater of the sprawling $74 billion department. But thanks to a new proposed rule, the longstanding program stands to become a culture-war flashpoint as the Biden administration’s first foray into the world of “anti-racist” education.
The rule, a draft of which was entered into the Federal Register last week, would prioritize “projects that incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives into teaching and learning.”
To qualify for a grant under this priority, an applicant “must describe how its proposed project incorporates teaching and learning practices that take into account systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history.”
In explaining the purpose behind the change, the rule elaborates: