Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states.


What a Trump Directive on ‘Anti-American Propaganda’ Means for the Ed. Dept.

By Evie Blad — September 10, 2020 2 min read

The U.S. Department of Education will review employee activities and trainings to comply with a government-wide directive against programs that include “anti-American propaganda,” Politico reported Wednesday.

That directive, sent by the White House Office of Management and Budget last week, instructs heads of all federal agencies to “identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on ‘critical race theory/white privilege,’ or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.”

The directive comes as President Donald Trump makes his positions on race and the teaching of “American exceptionalism” in schools part of his re-election push. He has pushed back on affordable housing initiatives, saying they would harm “suburban housewives.” And, over the weekend, Trump tweeted that the Education Department would strip schools of their funding if they teach a curriculum based on the 1619 Project, published by the New York Times Magazine, which examined the impact of slavery in America. (Trump does not have authority to pull federal funding over the issue.)

Representatives for the Education Department did not respond to questions about how the agency will carry out the White House memo or about Trump’s tweets.

Citing an internal email, Politico reported the agency will examine internal employee activities, including book clubs, to look for discussions of issues like white privilege. It will also explore external contracts for trainings on such issues, which have been popular in the private sector amid ongoing protests over racial injustice around the country.

The White House memo details the president’s concerns with such trainings:

“For example, according to press reports, employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that ‘virtually all White people contribute to racism’ or where they are required to say that they ‘benefit from racism,’” the memo says.

Advocates for equity training in schools point to racial disparities in things like school discipline rates and educational outcomes. Helping teachers explore their own internal biases and experiences can help improve the school environment for all students, they say.

The memo apparently applies to internal agency activities conducted by federal employees and not to schools that recieve grants from the agency.

Follow us on Twitter @PoliticsK12. And follow the Politics K-12 reporters @EvieBlad @Daarel and @AndrewUjifusa.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read