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President Trump speaks at the National Archives on Sept. 17. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump said he would sign an executive order on Thursday to "promote patriotic education" through an effort called the 1776 Commission, while denouncing a New York Times' project that investigated the impacts of racial injustice for Black Americans.

The big picture: The 1619 project dug into the personal histories of Black Americans in the U.S. who have faced present-day systematic inequality in housing and farming, as well as how the legacy of slavery altered health care access for Black Americans and fueled the country's early economy.

Driving the news: Trump threatened to cut federal funding for California schools earlier this month if they taught the 1619 Project. Earlier this month, Trump directed his OMB director to issue a memo ordering government agencies to halt critical race theory trainings, referring to them as “un-American propaganda training sessions," Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

What he's saying: "The left has warped, distorted and defiled the American story with deceptions, falsehoods, and lies. There is no better example than the New York Times' totally discredited 1619 Project," Trump said on Thursday.

  • "This project rewrites American history to teach our children that we were founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth. America's founding set in motion the unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery, secured civil rights, defeated Communism and fascism and built the most fair, equal, and prosperous nation in human history."

One level deeper: “The federal government, the Department of Education, does not have a role in a national curriculum," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said on Thursday while praising the 1776 Unites curriculum, conservatives' direct response to the 1619 Project, per Politico.

  • "Curriculum is best left to the states and local districts at local education agencies, but we can talk about curriculum that actually honors and respects our history and embraces all of the parts of our history and continues to build on that," she said.

Go deeper

A reckoning with teaching race and history in America

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Library of Congress, Warren K Leffler/Getty

American history classes have failed to represent the experiences that children of color live, leaving some students struggling to see themselves or their cultures as part of America.

Why it matters: Accurate historical teachings on slavery, indigenous peoples and immigration help all students understand how people of color have shaped American society. Ethnic studies courses can narrow the learning gap and boost the academic performance of some students of color at risk of dropping out, experts say.

The public school funding divide

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Bettmann, Barbara Alper/Getty Images

Property taxes are the oxygen that makes public schools thrive, allowing districts with large, wealthy tax bases to offer better educational opportunities to their students while leaving districts with smaller tax bases starved for cash.

Why it matters: The gap plays an outsized role in perpetuating inequality in U.S. schools. Black and Latino students are likely to live in poorer neighborhoods and therefore attend poorer schools — shortchanging their education and producing consequences that snowball throughout K-12 and beyond.

Updated Nov 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The failed promise of education

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Spencer Grant, George Rose, Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images

In America, it's better to be born wealthy — which often means white — than to be born smart.

Why it matters: For decades, the U.S. has held up schooling as the key to unlocking the American dream, but the facts tell us that education's promise is a false one.