President Donald Trump on Thursday announced he will be establishing a commission to promote “patriotic education” in the United States.
He announced the plan, called The 1776 Commission, during a speech at the White House History Conference.
“It will encourage educators to teach our children about the miracle of American history and make plans to honor the 250th anniversary of our founding,” Trump said during the speech held on Constitution Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption of the United States Constitution.
The president said he will soon sign an executive order to establish the commission.
The announcement comes after Trump has repeatedly criticized the teaching of critical race theory in schools, which he took aim at during the speech, calling it a “Marxist doctrine” and “a form of child abuse in the truest sense of those words.”
“Critical race theory is being forced into our children’s schools, it’s being imposed into workplace trainings and it’s been deployed to rip apart friends, neighbors and families,” the president said.
Encyclopedia Britannica defines critical race theory as “the view that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist” and that race is a “socially constructed concept” used to further economic and political interests of white people at the “expense of people of color.”
On Sept. 4, Trump ordered federal agencies to halt any racial sensitivity trainings that involve critical race theory or discussions of white privilege, calling them “un-American propaganda” McClatchy News reported.
The president has also previously denied the existence of systemic racism in the United States.
Trump also doubled down on his criticisms of The 1619 Project during his Thursday speech, saying it teaches students that America was “founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom.”
The project, created by The New York Times Magazine, seeks to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
“In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the English colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists,” reads a description of the project from the NYT Magazine. “No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the staff writer who was the project’s brainchild, won a Pulitzer Prize for her work. The Pulitzer Center later partnered with the project to develop education materials for teachers and schools, McClatchy News reported.
The president previously threatened the funding of schools that implement the curriculum.