GOP senator introduces bill to stop federal funding for schools teaching ‘1619 Project’

Sen. Tom Cotton named the proposed bill the 'Saving American History Act of 2020'

Arkansas Senate Candidate Tom Cotton Attends Election Night Party With Supporters
U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and republican U.S. Senate elect in Arkansas greets supporters during an election night gathering on November 4, 2014 in Little Rock, Arkansas. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton introduced a piece of legislation on Thursday that will prohibit the use of federal funds to teach the award-winning New York Times piece The 1619 Project in K-12 schools.

Under the proposed Saving American History Act of 2020, schools that teach the curriculum, which covers the early history of slavery in America, would be ineligible for federal professional development grants.

Cotton, a senator from Arkansas, defended the controversial bill in statement to the National Review on Thursday.

Read More: Oprah Winfrey, Lionsgate to adapt NYT’s ‘1619 Project’ for TV, film

“The New York Times’s 1619 Project is a racially divisive, revisionist account of history that denies the noble principles of freedom and equality on which our nation was founded,” Cotton argued. “Not a single cent of federal funding should go to indoctrinate young Americans with this left-wing garbage.”

The bill requires the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Services to “prorate federal funding” to schools or school districts that choose to teach the project to students. Low-income and/or special needs students will not be affected by the proposed bill, according to the statement.

The 1619 Project was released in November 2019 and received universal acclaim for its in-depth look at American history and the impact slavery has had on many aspects of American society. The piece, which was named after the year Europeans first brought African slaves to the U.S. colonies, was created by Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work.

The 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony - Press Room
Ira Glass, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Chana Joffe-Walt pose with award during The 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on May 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Peabody)

The celebrated writer took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to share her thoughts on Cotton’s legislation.

“Couldn’t even think of anything to write about this. So, here you go,” she wrote alongside a retweet of the news. “Addendum: Feel like Ida B. Wells is looking down with pride right now.”

Read More: 1619 Project’s Nikole Hannah-Jones wants Black people to know the role they play in America’s democracy

Several school districts across the country have already incorporated teachings from The 1619 Project into its curriculum, including Chicago and Washington, D.C.

The New York Times has yet to comment on the bill, but previously announced plans for the project to be taught in public schools.

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