New York, California and Illinois are among several states that have used federal COVID-19 relief funds to try and push critical race theory in schools — including promoting “equity” and “implicit bias” training, according to a report Thursday.
The Empire State was awarded $9 billion last year from an emergency relief fund that was billed to help schools reopen amid the pandemic as part of the Biden administration’s $350 billion American Rescue Plan.
But research compiled by One Nation — a conservative PAC — on Thursday showed that New York and at least 12 other states planned to use the funds to implement programs — such as “anti-racism” training — that critics have argued is akin to implementing CRT in schools.
New York State’s funding application, which was approved by the US DOE in August and is publicly available, detailed plans to offer staff training to address “critical topics” including “implicit bias and structural racism” and “facilitating difficult conversations about race.”
The plan also said the state’s Board of Regents was “committed to creating an ecosystem of success built upon a foundation of diversity, equity, inclusion, access, opportunity, innovation, trust, respect, caring, relationship-building, and much more.”
“It is the policy of the board to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in all NYS districts and schools through the budgeting process, allocation of resources, and development of Board policies,” it continued.
Elsewhere in the plan, the New York DOE said “equity warriors” were working to “create school communities that are more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive than ever before.”
State DOE officials on Thursday denied that any funding went toward implementing CRT, saying the notion was “patently false.”
The department said its funds were put toward, in part, bringing back kids safely for in-person classes and addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID on economically disadvantaged students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care.
When the US DOE opened up the application process last year, it put out a list of strategies for how schools could implement the emergency relief funding — including guidance on how to assure families that schools could “reopen equitably for all students.”
“Rebuilding from COVID-19 is an opportunity to reexamine and strengthen school policies and practices to assure families that school will reopen equitably for all students,” the federal guidance said.
“Developing trust will not happen overnight – it requires a culture shift over time. With intentional training and professional development for educators and staff and the establishment of equitable practices to include more voices – including the voices of students and families — school leaders can lead their school communities to becoming healthier and more welcoming schools.”
Across the country, California’s DOE was awarded $15.1 billion in federal relief funding — $1.5 billion of which the state planned to put towards staff training in “specified high-need topics,” such “restorative practices and implicit bias training.”
The state also planned to use funding to increase educator training and resources in areas including “anti-bias strategies” and “LGBTQ+ cultural competency.”
Meanwhile, Illinois was awarded $5.1 billion of the pandemic relief fund that would, in part, be used to provide training for school districts is areas such as “anti-racism” and “equity.”
New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Rhode Island, Washington, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and Virginia were among the other states that planned to implement elements of CRT in schools, according to One Nation.
“It turns out President Biden’s so-called American Rescue Plan was a multitrillion-dollar progressive shopping list, a massive bait-and-switch for life-saving COVID aid,” One Nation President Steven Law said in a statement.
“Indoctrinating children to judge themselves and one another based on the color of their skin is wrong and has nothing to do with fighting COVID or getting our economy back on track.”