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NW Iowa State Representative Introduces Bill To Limit Teaching Using NYT’s 1619 Project

Des Moines, Iowa — The New York Times has published a piece that talks about how they say slavery influenced the entirety of American History.

Northwest Iowa State Representative Skyler Wheeler has written a bill that references the piece. He tells us more.

(As said:) “The 1619 Project was done by the New York Times and it was a series of essays and a big publication that had come out a magazine essentially from The New York Times that sought to — in the words of its founder, Nicole Hanna Jones — it sought to reframe basically America’s history. And so it’s called the 1619 Project because originally Hannah Jones had defended 1619 as the true founding of America because that was the first time she said that African slaves had came to American soil –what is today American soil — not 1776. There’s a series of essays which I have read through since last summer and I’m sure we’ll probably get into a little bit more of this…”

Wheeler says it started with several related essays.

(As said:) “There’s series of essays written basically on different topics okay? There’s one on traffic jams, there’s one on universal healthcare, there’s one on capitalism, there’s all these different things and there’s a recurring theme in these different essays in that basically they bring some history… Some of the history has been attacked as being false or inaccurate… But they bring basically a history that America was founded on slavery and racism and bigotry and they go through some points in history to make a case on why our prison systems for instance aren’t great, why there’s traffic jams in the suburbs or why conservatives oppose universal healthcare.”

He says they all have the same theme.

(As said:) “And that is basically America was founded on racism and slavery and we should tear down all institutions and pass all the things the left has ever dreamed of. It’s been absolutely shredded by historians all over the country… by historians of all different races and genders and ethnicities and political party affiliations. It’s been shredded by conservatives everywhere. It’s an outright attack on truth and it’s an outright attack on the values, the principles, and the truths that our country was founded on.”

Wheeler goes on to say that not only was there a series of essays, now there’s a school curriculum based on the essays. And that’s what his bill, which is modeled on Senator Tom Cotton’s work at the federal level and the work of former President Trump addresses.

(As said:) “We’re going to teach it at history curriculum, right? We’re teaching it as true. That’s what they’re saying. They want to do. If you’re going to teach it as history curriculum, you’re not going to get money from the Iowa State Legislature. So this bill simply says you can teach it but you’re not going to get money from us if you have this in your classroom as history curriculum.”

He says the bill would not change the social studies standards that are already in place.

(As said:) “We’re not changing any social studies standards. It doesn’t bar the use of curriculums that propel black [Americans’] story. So there’s a project out there basically done by black historians and scholars and columnists, etc. that seeks the basically rebut what the 1619 Project is about. And they bring stories of African-Americans to light but they painted in a different way, right? The 1619 Project paints America as racist and we can never get past that unless we just basically restart the country over.  The 1776 Unite Project says here’s some stories of black Americans that have overcome these really tough situations. But also we should be working towards those Universal truths that the founding fathers had set in place.”

Wheeler tells us that he believes that while some founding fathers owned slaves, some did not, and none of that diminishes the other things they stood for.

(As said:) “George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, but we should also be able to unite around the principles and the values and the truth our founding fathers really believed in. And the 1619 Project… all it does is just divide the country. It adds a lot of factual inaccuracies and we shouldn’t be having this in our classroom. There’s other options out there that are much better to address some of these different things that people want to teach.”

Wheeler says the bill has just been introduced and is in the committee process.

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