Wait, the Columbia Public School District Said What about Teaching the 1619 Project?
The 1619 Project will be taught in the Columbia Public School District (CPS) and the instruction is supported by a grant issued by the Pulitzer Center. I know this because I have the memorandum of understanding between the district and Pulitzer, which in relevant part includes a commitment from CPS to:
develop standards-aligned units that engage their students in The 1619 Project, and other journalism and historical sources, to strengthen connections to existing curricula, practice media literacy skills, and build empathy. At least two educators from each team will then implement units with at least two classes, evaluate student outcomes, and share their projects publicly through Pulitzer Center’s lesson library and virtual professional development programs. [Emphasis mine]
I talked about this on Gary Nolan’s program last Thursday. I wrote about it two weeks ago. There’s no ambiguity about what CPS is being paid to do and has agreed to do. So I don’t know what exactly to make of this story from the Columbia Daily Tribune published this past Sunday, which suggests the district has represented to parents that The 1619 Project won’t be in classrooms.
Because it will be.
Elements of The 1619 Project will be used by teachers in two elective courses for high school seniors in Columbia as part of the Pulitzer Center’s The 1619 Project Education Network, an official with the center said Friday.
The Columbia Board of Education recently approved an agreement with the Pulitzer Center for two teachers to participate in the network, but in statements since the approval, Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark distanced the district from the agreement, asserting it won’t result in aspects of The 1619 Project being taught.
“We do not have CRT (Critical Race Theory) or 1619 curriculum or lessons in Columbia Public Schools,” Baumstark said Tuesday, while acknowledging that a small group of teachers were looking at the primary source materials for The 1619 Project. [Emphasis mine]
Since I don’t live in Columbia, I wasn’t initially aware of the district’s representations. The only reason I became aware of the story is because a supporter called and recommended the article to me. Suffice it to say, I’m perplexed by the district’s assertion, which may be most charitably described as a word and tense game. Columbia taxpayers and parents deserve transparency and good-faith disclosure about existing or future curriculum plans from the public officials whose salaries they fund.