Hillsdale College Launches ‘1776 Curriculum,’ Promoting ‘Honest History’ in K–12 Classrooms

By GQ Pan
GQ Pan
GQ Pan
Reporter
July 22, 2021 Updated: July 22, 2021

Hillsdale College, a classical liberal arts institution whose leaders held key positions in the Trump administration’s 1776 Commission, has released a new K–12 curriculum that aims to teach young Americans “honest history” and an “accurate account of civics.”

The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum, according to the school’s website, provides an entire lesson plan that covers the American founding and the Civil War for students in kindergarten to 12th grade, as well as complete civics and government courses for middle and high school students. It also contains homework assignments, quizzes, tests, study guides, and supplementary primary and secondary resource recommendations for teacher and student use.

The curriculum carries on the mission of the now-dissolved 1776 Commission, which was tasked by President Donald Trump to produce a report on the nation’s founding principles while providing guidance on how the federal government could promote those principles in public education. Larry P. Arnn, Hillsdale’s president, chaired the commission and Matthew Spalding, Hillsdale’s vice president overseeing education programs in Washington, served as its executive director.

“The teaching of honest history and an accurate account of civics is the key to forming good citizens,” Spalding said in a press release. “The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum has been carefully designed to do just that, providing parents, teachers, and schools not with what they should oppose, but with a solid curriculum they can wholeheartedly endorse for all of America’s children.”

The curriculum was developed by Hillsdale’s K–12 Education Department, professors, and teachers in classical schools affiliated with the Michigan-based college. In the coming months, Hillsdale will release additional U.S. history lessons, including units on colonial America, the Early Republic, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the Great Depression and the World Wars, the Cold War, and modern America.

“The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum was made by professors and teachers—not bureaucrats, not activists, not journalists—teachers,” said Kathleen O’Toole, assistant provost for K–12 education at Hillsdale College. “It comes from years of studying America, its history, and its founding principles, not some slap-dash journalistic scheme to achieve a partisan political end through students. It is a truly American education.”

The announcement comes amid pushback against the Biden administration’s attempt to encourage K–12 educators to incorporate into U.S. history and civics lessons The New York Times’ highly controversial 1619 Project, which recasts American history on the claim that the United States was founded on racism and remains a racist nation. A K–12 curriculum based on the 1619 Project, developed by the Pulitzer Center, has made its way into many public school districts across the nation, including Chicago; Buffalo, New York; and Newark, New Jersey.

The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum can be downloaded for free from Hillsdale’s website, which is also home to the 1776 Report that was taken down along with the closure of the commission on Biden’s first day in office.

GQ Pan
GQ Pan
Reporter