File-Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost speaks

In this Feb. 20, 2020, file photo, Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost speaks in Columbus, Ohio.

(The Center Square) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has joined a 20-state fight against a proposal that has been issued by the U.S. Department of Education that attorneys general say will force critical race theory into American schools.

“We need to learn from the real evils of slavery and racism, but these proposals will only create more misunderstanding,” Yost said. “Critical race theory is nothing more than ideology posing as history and we should not confuse the two.”

Yost and the other attorneys general sent an eight-page letter Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Education, urging the department, now under the leadership Miguel Cardona, to either drop the proposal or at least make clear federal taxpayer money can’t be used “to fund projects that are based on [critical race theory], including any projects that characterize the United States as irredeemably racist or founded on principles of racism (as opposed to principles of equality) or that purport to ascribe character traits, values, privileges, status, or beliefs, or that assign fault, blame, or bias, to a particular race or to an individual because of his or her race.”

The U.S. Department of Education issued two proposed “priorities” last month that would direct federal grant money to projects that “incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives into teaching and learning” and projects that “promote information literacy skills.”

Specifically, the money would go to programs that train new and veteran teachers in how to teach American history, civics and government and involve teaching high school students about American history and/or civics.

Three grants were awarded in 2018, including one for $1.4 million to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside for “Uncovering an Alternative Narrative: Diverse Contributions to American History and Civics.”

A second one, for $3.5 million, was awarded to the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation, and a third, for $2.8 million, to the Center for Civic Education, based in Calabasas, California.

The other state attorneys general who signed the letter were Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.