Executive Order on the 1776 Commission covers up history


   The education of one’s history is something every human being deserves a right to know: an unbiased and complete telling of the past events of their ancestors that led to where they are now. History will always be important and history is always happening. How ironic is it that one of America’s biggest fans does not want everyone to learn about its tough, complex, but progressive history? On September 17, 2020, President Trump signed what he coined the 1776 Commission. It is an executive order that will, if passed, make schools, colleges, and universities start teaching a more patriotic history starting from 1776 and up until now. 

   “The left has warped, distorted, and defiled the American story with deceptions, falsehoods, and lies,” said President Trump at the White House Conference on American History. “There is no better example than the New York Times’ total discredited 1619 Project. This project rewrites American history to teach our children that we are founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom.” 

  The 1619 Project is a collection of essays on African American history of the past four centuries which explores the Black community’s contribution to the nation, building from slavery until the present time. In my opinion, the commission President Trump has signed is designed to counter this project. Having Trump blatantly disregard the 1619 Project shows that he only cares about the best looking or most patriotic moments of America and not the deeply intertwined roots of African Americans who came over as slaves and had to start over in this nation. By disregarding this project he is discrediting the slaves and many other African Americans who helped build this country.  

   This executive order may indirectly affect the way we are learning and being educated. Although this order cannot be enforced directly because it is a state choice of what students learn, it is nonetheless still a dangerous action. Trump has stated numerous times that the history we are being taught is making children unpatriotic towards our country. He has also stated that our educators are teaching “very sick” ideas, which completely undermines the education of these students and teachers.

   “What we have been taught is not nearly close to the full story,” said a Guilford junior who asked to remain anonymous. “As we were learning, we were being censored to certain things and that is what Trump is trying to do. He is trying to censor our history. And as long as the states allow schools to continue to push these partial history educations on to us, then surely Trump will get his way with this executive order being passed throughout schools.” 

   This GHS student understands that learning an uncensored history of this country is what we need and deserve. We cannot be censored and demonetized for long about the rough past of America. That is our country and we need to be taught our history. 

   “He’s definitely undermining some educators, but he’s also empowering others who do not want to teach this complex history because they do not want to have those conversations,” said Mr. Grant Mason, AP US History teacher. “And he has no control over education. The federal government does not have control over what states teach, so his executive order will not affect the way I teach. He feels like learning about slavery and learning about those kinds of topics somehow makes America look bad, but if you are telling these topics within the context of American history, it would be seen as progress.”

   This order may not have much effect on education and educators unless it is passed by the state of Illinois, but the idea of someone, specifically the President of the United States, trying to pass an executive order that reduces our learning of American history is quite terrifying.

   As Trump continued to explain the reasons behind creating this commission, he falsely stated that America is one of the most equal and fair countries in human history. And that we set a relentless chain of events that would eventually lead to the elimination of slavery. With false claims such as these, are we sure Mr. Trump is the right person to determine something pertaining to education? He is misinforming the general public with such large claims on terribly broad issues and concerns.

   Seeing as President Donald Trump is trying to cover parts of American history, this order will only divide the nation and cause more turmoil between the two parties. What America really needs in this time of hurt and disarray is something that will mend the two halves of our country and start a much-needed healing process. He needs to be proactive, combative, and attentive when listening to the problems of his people. He needs to stay focused on the main goals of the American people and try to follow through on some of the promises he has made. 

   “One of the unfortunate things about where we are at in 2020 is we are such a tribalized country with our politics because if you even hint you lean to one side you are automatically dismissed by the other,” said Mr. Mason. “We are really divided among racial and political views and people do not want to be open and have these conversations. But for me as a teacher, I try to make the students feel they are in charge of continuing that progress of the change in the nation.”