Buffalo Public Schools has a page online promoting how the school district is implementing the 1619 Project into the curriculum for students. The district promotes a curriculum guide, lessons, and articles for teachers to use in their classrooms. The 1619 Project is a project by The New York Times which asserts that America was founded in 1619 to represent “when enslaved Africans first arrived in what would become the United States.” Historians have publicly expressed concerns with the accuracy of the project and there is no evidence that Buffalo Public Schools are presenting the 1619 Project alongside the work of scholars with a different point of view.
Parents Defending Education previously reported that Buffalo Public Schools used COVID relief funds to openly implement Critical Race Theory into the curriculum.
The curriculum guide is titled “1619 Project – BPS Curriculum Infusion 2020-2021.” The guide directly implements material from The New York Times into the lessons taught to students. The guide includes controversial lessons for students to learn. For a senior economics class, the guide appears to encourage teaching students to negatively question America’s “capitalist system.” The guide states: “The United States operates within a mixed, free market economy that is characterized by competition and a limited role of government in economic affairs. Economic policy makers face considerable challenges within a capitalist system, including unemployment, inflation, poverty, and environmental consequences.”
For an English class, the guide encourages teaching students to defend the material they are reading from the 1619 Project. The guide states: “Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.” Topics for English classes include perceived “medical inequality” and “a broken health care system.” One English lesson focuses on the “Black Panther Party” and Malcom X.
The school district’s 1619 Project page has numerous lessons for students on the topic from the seventh grade up to the twelfth grade. A goal appears to be to “challenge” the “story of American History” already taught to students. One lesson for ninth grade students states: “Slavery gave America a fear of black people and a taste for violent punishment. Both still define our criminal-justice system.”
A lesson for tenth grade students states: “Why doesn’t the United States have universal health care? The answer begins with policies enacted after the Civil War.” Another lesson for eleventh grade students quotes the 1619 Project’s creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones from The New York Times in saying: “Our founding ideal of liberty and equality were false when they were written. Black Americans fought to make them true. Without this struggle, America would have no democracy at all.” In another lesson for eleventh grade, students are taught “sugar that saturates the American diet has a barbaric history as the ‘white gold’ that fueled slavery.”
A lesson for twelfth grade students titled “The Impact of Race Upon Our Democracy” has a story that outright attacks modern elected officials from the Republican Party. The story claims that in 2012: “North Carolina Republicans won legislative and executive power for the first time in more than a century. They used it to gerrymander the electoral map and impose new restrictions on voting, specifically aimed at the state’s African-American voters.” The story then used requiring an ID to vote as an example.
The story also states that Republicans in Wisconsin “robbed the governor and attorney general of the power to continue, or end, legal action against the Affordable Care Act.” The story then attacks former President Donald Trump’s administration:
The larger implication is clear enough: A majority made up of liberals and people of color isn’t a real majority. And the solution is clear, too: to write those people out of the polity, to use every available tool to weaken their influence on American politics. The recent attempt to place a citizenship question on the census was an important part of this effort. By asking for this information, the administration would suppress the number of immigrant respondents, worsening their representation in the House and the Electoral College, reweighing power to the white, rural areas that back the president and the Republican Party.