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Iowa bill looks to ban teaching the 1619 Project in schools

An Iowa bill is looking to ban the use of a project that rethinks how slavery and African-American history are taught in schools.
Posted at 6:33 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 19:33:31-05

It's called the 1619 Project and published by the New York Times. The bill won subcommittee approval and could be up for consideration by the House Education Committee.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. (KMTV) - ACLU of Iowa's Executive Director Mark Stringer calls the bill an example of "content-based discrimination."

"Absolutely, a measure like this is an attempt to shut down ideas and prevent students from being exposed to an important discussion on the impact and legacy of slavery in our country," Stringer said.

He said it's detrimental to Iowa education.

"Banning the 1619 Project is an attempt to whitewash history...both Iowa history and national history and it's an attempt to shut down different voices who have been directly impacted by slavery," Stringer said.

The 1619 Project was published on the 400th anniversary of slavery's roots in America. It's an in-depth project that examines how slavery has impacted modern-day life. The Pulitzer Center created free online resources based on the project. In a report, more than 4,500 teachers across the country have used the lesson plans. States like Missouri, South Dakota, Arkansas and Mississippi have also introduced measures like these.

"It's actually wrapped up in a lot of things that you've seen in the United States, the so-called cancel culture and things of that nature," State Rep. Brent Siegrist said.

Siegrist believes school boards should determine what to teach. The former educator said the 1619 Project is reflective of a changing narrative about race and history.

"Some people I think would say the 1619 Project takes a one-sided view of slavery, I'm not saying that's correct but that's what some people would say," Siegrist said. "But yeah you should teach from all angles and let people understand that. History changes."

Rep. Siegrist said the bill is waiting committee action where it may or may not be debated.