Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday blasted the Biden administration’s pushing Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools throughout the United States, calling the effort a “wholehearted embrace of the radical left’s all-encompassing assault on American culture and values.”
“They abolished our 1776 Commission and authorized teaching critical race theory in our schools,” said Pence. “Instead of teaching all of our children, regardless of race or creed or color, to be proud of their country, critical race theory teaches children as young as kindergarten to be ashamed of their skin color.”
Pence was the featured speaker at the annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner, hosted by the Hillsborough County Republicans in Manchester, New Hampshire, to give his second public speech since leaving office in January.
Under President Donald Trump, the 1776 Commission was created to counter Marxist teaching models like CRT and the 1619 project by having the commission “take historic and scholarly steps to restore an understanding of the greatness of the American founding.”
“Our founders said that we were to strive for a more perfect union,” Pence continued. “And so we have done throughout the long and storied history of this country. And while we are not perfect yet, we ought to do justice to all the progress that has been made and recognize that the United States of America is the most just, noble, and inclusive nation that has ever existed on the face of the earth.”
In a letter sent to the Department of Education in May 2021, the 1776 Commission’s Executive Director Matthew Spalding advocated for the elimination of any race-based K-12 curricula.
“The Proposed Rule should be withdrawn, just as individual states, which actually have the authority over the nation’s K-12 educational system, should oppose race-based pedagogy as part of their curricula and even if attempted to be imposed by the federal government,” wrote Spalding.
The proposed rule Spalding is referring to was issued in April 2021 by the U.S. Department of Education, which states, “proposed priorities” for competitive grants in American History and Civics Education. Specifically, the Department wants to prioritize grant proposals that support the development of “culturally responsive teaching and learning” in conjunction with the promotion of information literacy skills.
In the background of the proposed rule, it states “The Department recognizes that COVID-19—with its disproportionate impact on communities of color—and the ongoing national reckoning with systemic racism have highlighted the urgency of improving racial equity throughout our society, including in our education system.”
The Department of Education states that schools across the country are working to incorporate “antiracist practices” into the curriculum, citing controversial scholar Ibram X. Kendi’s “antiracist” agenda, which, among other things, claims that “racist policies are the cause of racial inequities.”
According to the Legal Insurrection Foundation’s criticalrace.org website, which was set up to educate the public about the nature of CRT and its implications, CRT is “an outgrowth of the European Marxist school of critical theory.”
“Critical Race Theory is not the traditional civil rights movement, which sought to provide equal opportunity and dignity without regard to race,” it states. “Rather, Critical Race Theory, and the training to implement it, is a radical ideology that focuses on race as the key to understanding society, and objectifies people based on race.”
Kendi, who calls himself an “antiracist activist” and advocate for the CRT model, in a Sept. 2020 interview with The Atlantic, said if CRT and the teaching of what he claims really happened in history causes people to hate the United States, then so be it.
“We need to rid the country of those racist policies, structures, and systems and replace them with more anti-racist policies and structures and systems. In other words, it is not enough to just be aware, we must then take action so that we can transform this country,” Kendi told The Atlantic.
Meanwhile, opponents of the ideology disagree with CRT’s core claim that America is systemically racist and say students need to learn to appreciate the founding principles of the country, rather than on race.
“Well, Let me say as my friend Tim Scott said, with great effect on the national stage not long ago,” Pence said. “America is not a racist country. It’s past time for America to discard the left-wing myth of ‘systemic racism.’ And I commend state legislatures all across the country and governors for banning critical race theory from our schools.”
Parents across the country have begun pushing back against the use of CRT in schools, while an increasing number of local and state governments have responded with legislation banning its use.
Georgia’s State Board of Education’s passed a resolution in May that says students should not be taught CRT in schools.
Governors from Tennessee, Idaho, Arkansas, and Oklahoma have already signed anti-CRT bills, while in Texas and Iowa, similar legislation is awaiting signatures from the governors.