Trump Calls for Curriculum Revision

During a speech at the National Archives Museum, President Trump announced his plan to create a commission dedicated to promoting “patriotic education” in American schools. Decrying modern curriculum as a “twisted web of lies” seeking to “overthrow the American revolution” through indoctrination, Trump announced that his commission would tell “the magnificent truth about our country.” Backed by an executive order, the proposed “1776 commission” would receive an endowment from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create the new curriculum.

Throughout his speech, Trump focused on labeling aspects of curriculum and individuals as part of “the left-wing cultural revolution” that seeks to “overthrow the American revolution.” Praising his recent decision to ban critical race theory from government training, Trump further attacked the framework by calling it a “Marxist doctrine” and a “form of child abuse.” Trump was also quick to decry the 1619 Project – a New York Times initiative that focuses American history on the arrival of the first slave ships – as an “ideological poison.” Further targets of labeling also included “far left” protestors, “liberal politicians,” “established media” and unnamed corporations.

The proposed plan has sparked major public criticism. Following the speech, numerous critics claimed the rhetoric employed was reminiscent of speeches given by the Nazi party. This led to the hashtags #TrumpYouth and #HitlerYouth trending on twitter. Further criticism has come from scholars regarding the curriculum’s main text. Written by historian Wilfred M. McClay, the book Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story is set to be the main inspiration. The book has received praise from a panel of education experts who attended Trump’s speech, but many historians note the book’s narrow focus. Georgetown University professor Michael Kazin noted that the book “ignores most social movements” in favor of the American elite.

           As of now, it is unclear how or if the proposed curriculum will be implemented. As the federal government does not have jurisdiction over the implementation of curriculum, this case could see attention from The Supreme Court.