Republican House members launched an investigation to identify truth behind claims that 13 states including New York and California used COVID relief money to fund critical race theory in schools.
There is a lot of confusion and skepticism over COVID relief funds and CRT. CRT, or critical race theory, is controversial in and of itself because critics fear it indoctrinates young minds and villainizes white people. On top of that, COVID relief funds distributed to public schools have been reportedly spent on pushing CRT agendas.
Because of the controversy this raises, top House Republican members have launched an extensive probe to investigate the plethora of allegations reporting that schools used these federal funds to bolster critical race theory lessons. For months, states like New York, California, and Illinois have made headlines as reports claim they used these funds to indoctrinate students. On top of all the reasons this is frowned upon by many conservative families, it also may go against the government’s requirement for how that cash was to be spent.
James Comer, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform ranking member, and Education and Labor Committee member Virginia Foxx are helming the investigation. The probe looks to extensive research recently released by One Nation, a conservative activist group that documents critical race theory in schools. The report found that at least 12 states may have used the money to fund anti-racism training, which opponents argue is parallel to critical race theory.
COVID relief funds sent billions of dollars to public schools during the pandemic. While the feds were ridiculed for giving little insight on how it was to be spent, they did announce it was to be used to update school ventilation systems, and fund programs to help students make up for pandemic-era learning loss. While terms were quite ambiguous, many would argue critical race theory was not on the list of acceptable items.
In detail, the report discussed how the various states used relief funds to implement critical race theory in schools. New York, which received $9 billion, allegedly used part of that funding to train school staff on divisive concepts. They were taught to recognize privilege, become “equity warriors”, and allegedly skewed social and emotional learning with lessons of anti-racism.
California was believed to have pushed critical race theory in the form of $1.5 billion of those COVID relief funds. Money was put towards staff training for implicit bias training and restorative practices. LGBTQ+ “cultural competency” was also part of the report, although it was never made clear how they fear this ties into CRT.
Illinois was another state said to push critical race theory with hefty COVID relief funds. Part of the state’s reopening plan which was heavily funded with this money placed an “emphasis” on equity and diversity. Districts were provided training material offering anti-racism and equity initiatives.
New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Rhode Island, Washington, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Virginia were also listed on the critical race theory report and investigation. So far, the federal Department of Education asserts that COVID relief funds were not intended to be used to bolster critical race theory teachings. How the investigation plays out, and any possible repercussions remain unknown for now.