Democrat controlled states across the US have been using billions of taxpayer dollars from President Joe Biden and the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) COVID-19 relief package to enact critical race theory curricula in public schools.
The Democrats claimed that the ARP, which was passed in March 2021 without any Republican support, was a necessity for reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic, despite many private schools already having opened safely.
The legislation also provided over $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), which many blue states used to implement "anti-racism" and "implicit bias" training.
The Biden administration told FOX Business in February 2021, prior to the legislation being passed, that ESSER funding would provide schools "with the resources they need to safely reopen and fully serve their students."
On March 11, 2021, after the bill was signed by President Joe Biden, the US Department of Education claimed that ESSER would be used to "implement the CDC's recommended prevention and mitigation strategies for K-12 schools, meet student and educators' social, emotional, and mental health needs, invest in strategies to address lost instructional time, and boldly address inequities exacerbated by the pandemic."
The US Department of Education released its Equity Action Plan in April and pledged to ensure an "equitable impact" of ARP ESSER funds and to invest in "resources to help advance civil rights."
According to research from One Nation, which was verified by Fox News Digital, in August 2021, the US Department of Education published a report "offering strategies for how states should use ARP funds to support families and reengage students for the return of in-person learning."
According to the report, "Rebuilding from COVID-19 is an opportunity to reexamine and strengthen school policies," and that schools may need for a "culture shift" to ensure schools "reopen equitably for all students."
The report also recommended that states use ARP funds to "build trust with families to support in-person learning" by communicating frequently with families, implementing universal indoor masking, providing access to vaccinations and other measures, including addressing the "reasons families of color have cited for not returning to in-person learning," including "fears of xenophobic and racist harassment."
The report also recommended that schools "implement strategies designed for systemic change at the local and school level."
"Educators should evaluate and reflect on their school culture, climate, and policies and can use well-designed survey tools to learn what practices may be keeping all students from feeling safe, included, and academically challenged and supported. Based on this information, they should commit to making improvements to achieve the goal of safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environments."
At least $46.5 billion from the ARP ESSER fund has been allocated to 13 states, including California, Illinois, New York and Washington, which are planning to, or have already used the funds, to implement CRT.
According to Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center, the State Superintendent Chris Reykdal had proposed a list of projects including, "equity and anti-racist training," "inclusionary practices," "trauma-informed practices," and "social and emotional learning," to be funded by federal COVID funds (ESSER I, II and III) meant for special needs children.
Finne added that, "Parents of special needs children objected and said the money should be used for recovery and compensatory services to help students, as the federal government intended."
According to Finne, "the State Superintendent’s office vigorously objected to this disclosure, saying the funding was going to districts for special needs program."
A document from the State Superintendent, OSPI’s Priorities for ESSER Funds, last modified June 25, 2020, laid out four priorities for districts to follow.
Reykdal expected that "districts will make these priorities in their work," and included phrases such as "engaging in anti-racist capacity building" and "dismantling systemically racist structures."
$15.1 billion in ARP ESSER funding was awarded to The California Department of Education, which included $1.5 billion for training resources for faculty regarding "high-need topics," like "implicit bias training."
The funds were specifically used to "increase educator training and resources" in subjects such as "anti-bias strategies," "environmental literacy," "ethnic studies," and "LGBTQ+ cultural competency."
$9 billion in ARP ESSER funding was used to implement The New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) reopening plan, which included, "putting DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) at the heart of NYSED’s work with" all local education agencies.
Additionally the plan stipulated "providing staff development on topics such as culturally responsive sustaining instruction and student support practices, privilege, implicit bias, and reactions in times of stress," and recommended that schools use social-emotional learning [SEL] to "support the work of anti-racism and anti-bias."
According to the Board's DEI framework, "equity warriors" were working to create "more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive" school communities and they should be "recognized and applauded."
In Illinois, $5.1 billion in ARP ESSER funding was awarded to the state Board of Education for its reopening plan for "an emphasis on equity and diversity." Training on topics like "anti-racism" and equity were also included in the plan, and a percentage of funds was allocated to create a statewide coalition which would offer grants for projects addressing "issues pertaining to interrupted learning and support groups that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic (e.g., homeless, LGBQT [sic], marginalized communities)."
According to Fox News, there are at least ten other states, including Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia, that have used ARP funding to implement CRT in their public schools.
Many are scrutinizing the American Rescue Plan’s effect on the US economy after inflation rose 8.5 percent last month. Some economists have gone so far as to blame the $1.9 COVID-19 relief package for overheating the economy.
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