Upper House Republicans Wednesday opened an investigation into whether the Department of Education allowed schools to use federal COVID-19 aid money to try to apply critical race theory (CRT) to children.
The investigation aims to determine whether states — including New York, California and Illinois — are channeling federal funding for the pandemic into “radical curricula designed to indoctrinate American students.”
“Republicans are investigating the use of COVID-19 relief dollars allocated for virus containment and safe reopening of schools,” GOP lawmakers said in a letter to Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
“Based on recent reports, the Department of Education allows the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and associated COVID relief funds to pay for racially biased and other progressive left-wing programs.”
James Comer (R-KY), Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking, and Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Education and Labor Committee, are leading the inquiry.
Lawmakers said the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Assistance Fund (ESSER) was set up to help schools reopen safely amid the pandemic and to address learning losses due to COVID lockdowns.
But they claim the funds are instead “used to indoctrinate children in core tenets of left-wing ideology.”
As part of the Biden government’s American rescue plan, 122 billion US dollars were made available for the ESSER fund last year. It was in addition to the $67.5 billion the Trump administration invested in the fund in 2020 as part of two separate aid packages.
The investigation follows research compiled by the conservative PAC One Nation, which showed that New York and at least 12 other states had planned to use the funds to implement programs such as “anti-racism” training, some of which Critics have argued that they resemble an implementation of CRT in schools.
“Rather than using ESSER funds to address these dramatic learning losses, some states are spending taxpayer dollars to advance progressive left-wing causes,” GOP lawmakers said Wednesday.
“New York used a portion of the $9 billion it received to provide staff development programs in the areas of ‘culturally appealing conservation education’, ‘privilege’ and recognizing ‘fighters for justice’.
“At least 10 other state plans included proposals to use ESSER funds to implement racially biased curricula and programs based on critical race theory.”
New York State’s funding request, approved by the US Department of Education in August, detailed plans to offer staff training to address “critical issues” such as “implicit bias and structural racism” and “facilitate difficult conversations about race.”
State DOE officials at the time denied that any funds were used to implement CRT, saying the notion was “manifestly false.”
The department said the funds were used to safely return children to in-person learning and to address the disproportionate impact COVID has had on economically disadvantaged students, racial and ethnic minorities and others.
California’s DOE received $15.1 billion in federal aid — $1.5 billion of which the state earmarked for employee training in “specified high-need topics” such as “restoration practices and implicit bias training.”
Illinois received $5.1 billion from the Pandemic Relief Fund, part of which would be used to educate school districts on areas like “anti-racism” and “justice.”
New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Rhode Island, Washington, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and Virginia were among other states planning to introduce elements of the CRT into schools, according to the One Nation research.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/14/house-republicans-probing-if-covid-funds-used-for-critical-race-theory-in-schools/ House Republicans are considering whether to use COVID funds for critical race theory in schools