More than 60 House Republicans have joined forces to support a legislative effort to promote teaching high schoolers about the danger of communism and why this ideology is contrary to what America stands for.
Introduced Thursday by Rep. María Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.), the Crucial Communism Teaching (CCT) Act (pdf) has a goal to ensure high school students in the United States “learn that communism has led to the deaths of over 100,000,000 victims worldwide; understand the dangers of communism and similar political ideologies; and understand that 1,500,000,000 people still suffer under communism.”
If passed as is, the CCT Act would task the non-profit Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation to develop a curriculum featuring “a comparative discussion” about how ideologies such as communism and totalitarianism are in conflict with “the principles of freedom and democracy that are essential to the founding of the United States.” This curriculum would be designed in a way that it could fit into a variety of high school-level courses, including social studies, government, history, and economics.
Once it finished developing the curriculum, the Foundation would be authorized to work with state and local leaders to help high schools in using the curriculum and other accompanying resources, including personal stories of Americans who were victims of communism.
Andrew Bremberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO, said at Thursday’s Capitol Hill event announcing the CCT Act that the “majority of young Americans simply do not know the history of communist regimes.”
“They don’t know the simple fact that 100 million people have been victims of communism or know about the destruction and deaths it has wrought,” he said.
Salazar, whose congressional district covers Little Havana, a Miami-area neighborhood famously known as home to many families that have fled the Castro regime, told NTD News it would take a toll on future generations if American youth today are not educated well enough about the reality of communism.
“My parents are Cuban refugees, and when I have spoken with other people that have fled Cuba 50, 60 years after my parents fled, they have said, ‘Well, your parents’ generation put Fidel Castro in power,’ and it’s true,” the first-time congresswoman said Thursday after the event. “So I’m very concerned that future generations—my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren—will say the same thing to us: ‘You didn’t teach us how bad this was.'”
Communism may look beautiful in theory but only leads to misery when it is put into practice, said Salazar, citing her parents’ experience before and after the communist takeover of the once-prosperous Caribbean nation.
“I am the child of the first generation of people who lost everything,” she said. “They came from a paradise. Cuba had the per capita income of Italy. Cuba fed itself. Cuba was the number one partner of the United States in the [Western] Hemisphere. In 60 years of communism, it has fallen to the darkest, darkest pit, so we don’t want that.”
The Thursday event was also joined by a number of the legislation’s co-sponsors, including Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), and Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas).
According to Crenshaw, many Americans students are ignorant to what kind of people the communist revolutionary leaders they “romanticize” and “glamorize” actually were. Many of them also have favorable views on socialism, despite failed socialist experiments in countries like Venezuela.
“Socialism is very appealing to young people,” the Navy-Seal-turned-congressman told NTD News. “Presenting to students the facts of history, which they probably never heard of, is an important first step to get them off socialism.”
Crenshaw also emphasized that the CCT Act would not force American high schools to implement an anti-communist curriculum, but instead at a federal level offers tools that high school educators can use to give their students a fuller understanding of communism.
“It’s providing the tools, a curriculum, and it doesn’t force it upon anybody, but it does give all schools that wanted the access to it,” he said. “We are passing this from the federal level, so we’re reluctant to impose curriculum down to every state, every locality. But you do need to give them the tools that they need to get to get this information for your time.”
The CCT Act framework is inspired by the Never Again Education Act. Proposed by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) in 2019 and signed into law by then-President Donald Trump in 2020, the bill created an analogous program to educate American students about the Holocaust through the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The proposed legislation also continues a similar effort by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to expand civics education in his state to include instructions about the evil nature of communist and totalitarian governments.
“Why would somebody flee across shark-infested waters to come to southern Florida? Why would somebody leave a place like Vietnam? Why would people leave these countries and risk their life to be able to come here?” DeSantis said in June when he signed the education bills into law. “It’s important that students understand that.”