The Trump-inspired group of 1776 is pushing Republicans to sign a pledge

  • 1776 Action increases the fight against “anti-American indoctrination” in schools.
  • More than 300 politicians have already signed their pledge of “patriotic education”.
  • Soon they will launch a portal to show which candidates and officials have signed.

A group with ties to Donald Trump’s allies, Newt Gingrich and Ben Carson, is increasing pressure on politicians to support “patriotic education” in schools, a goal the former president set for education before leaving office last year.

More than 300 mostly state and local politicians have already signed the pledge of “1776 Action,” which calls for a restoration of “honest, patriotic education that cultivates in our children a deep love for our country.” Republican Gov. Christi Noem of South Dakota and Virginia’s newly elected Glenn Youngkin, also Republicans, are among those who have already signed.

As the campaign season 2022 begins – and is sure to be dominated by cultural wars over issues such as race and gender education – the group plans to entice more public politicians to sign the pledge.

Earlier this year, 1776 Action will launch an online portal so users can see where graduates and government officials, including school administrators, stand on the promise and push them to sign it, said Adam Waldeck, the group’s president who worked on the former chairman of the House of Representatives. House Newt. Gingrich’s 2012 presidential campaign and his American Solutions organization.

“The goal is transparency and accountability and to make sure this is an issue, a big issue – you know, top three – in the minds of voters … when they go to the polls,” Waldeck told Insider.

1776 Action, a tax-exempt 501 (c) 4 nonprofit organization, is among several conservative groups now targeting what they consider to be an excessive emphasis on race in education – an issue that has fueled chaotic protests at school board meetings . The group derives its name from the year of the issuance of the Declaration of Independence, which is considered the official founding of the United States.

But its emergence as a political tool in recent years has been in an attempt by conservatives to counter what they describe as “critical race theory” in education and The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 project that “aims to reformulate “the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contribution of black Americans at the heart of our national narrative.” The project and lessons about race have triggered a setback from conservatives and have fueled cultural wars over what is taught in American schools and what books school libraries can store.

1776 Action says it fights “anti-American indoctrination” and credits Trump’s efforts to create the “1776 Commission,” which produced a report just before President Joe Biden took office in 2021 and dissolved it.

Trump announced in 2020 that he was in the process of assembling the commission, which included former housing and urban development minister Ben Carson, to teach children about the “miracle of American history” while protesting against “left-wing indoctrination” and ” lies “about race in American schools.

Ben Carson and Donald Trump

HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson speaks before US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on January 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. Monday, January 16th is a federal holiday to honor Dr. King and his legacy.

Photo by Mark Wilson / Getty Images

‘Not great for critical race theory’

In December, Trump spoke about the importance of the 1776 Action pledge in a video appearance at an Idaho pledge signing event for dozens of candidates, elected officials and citizens who can also sign a pledge. “We’re not big on critical race theory … we’re about making America great again, America first …,” he said, while also promoting energy dependence and complimenting Idaho’s potatoes.

1776 Action was active in the campaign for a law in New Hampshire restricting lessons about race and sexism in schools, the gubernatorial election of 2021 in Virginia, and school board races in Iowa. And it was not without controversy. Students, parents, and community members in Johnston, Iowa marched in protest of the promise, which three new Johnston School Board members backed by 1776 Action signed as candidates. Leaders of the group “Johnston Parents for Equity and Anti-Racism,” said in a statement to Insider that the promise has the “exact opposite effect” of its words, and it has “politicized our education system.”

“It promotes dishonest education that discourages responsibility and atonement for racist acts in American history,” wrote parents Luana Nelson-Brown, Shalome Musignac-Jord├ín and Lya Williams, whose group helped organize the protest. “It promotes children having unequal values. It pits students against each other on the basis of race and gender.”

The goals of the 1776 Action are to make “patriotic education” a central voice issue, run advocacy, focus on “cruel cases of anti-American indoctrination,” build support for the vow, and oppose “left-leaning social justice communities,” according to the website. Its board includes Waldeck, Carson’s son Benjamin Carson Jr., and Ryan Rhodes, who worked on Carson’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Waldeck told Insider that people have a problem with “an extremely racist way of looking at everything under the sun” and the notion that America is inevitably racist. “We believe that history should be taught in a way that is honest but also inspiring,” he said.

At the midterm elections in 2022, he said he expects 1776 Action will back some candidates and jump in with commercials and digital text messages in select locations around the country. But more importantly, he said, “it’s about moving the needle in public opinion and trying to get the right policy implemented.” The portal that the group is planning is a way for them to help influence the debate in several races.

Signatories to pledges will commit to – among other promises – “banning any curriculum that pits students against each other on the basis of race or gender,” and “prevent schools from politicizing education by banning any curriculum that requires students to protesting and lobbying during or after school. “

Some politicians even spread the word about their signing of promises. Noem boasted of being the first candidate to sign at the Conservative political action conference in July and promoted the promise in a Fox News post with former HUD secretary Carson.

Republican congressional candidate Tina Ramirez of Virginia announced her pledge in a September fundraising email asking for a $ 17.76 grant to help her promote the establishment of September as Patriotic Education Month. She told Insider that the email was “far away” her most successful.

“The crux of the problem is that parents want to influence their children’s education and want to know that their children are being taught how to think, not what to think,” she wrote in an email.

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