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President Trump calls for 'patriotic education' in US schools

Education curriculums are set at the state and local levels, not federal.
Credit: APAP Photo/Andrew Harnik
President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in Washington.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump proposed the nation's schools restore "patriotic education" in an effort to unite the country amid unrest in several cities.

This curriculum, Trump charged, would counter "left-wing indoctrination" in schools and universities that he says has led to violent protests in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere. 

"Many young Americans have been fed lies about America being a wicked nation plagued by racism," Trump said during a Monday news conference. "Indeed, Joe Biden and his party spent their entire convention spreading this hateful and destructive message while refusing to say one word about the violence."

Politico notes Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Biden responded to Trump's comments, saying that while peaceful protesting is a right, violence is wrong.

"I urge the President to join me in saying that while peaceful protest is a right — a necessity — violence is wrong, period," Biden said. "No matter who does it, no matter what political affiliation they have. Period. If Donald Trump can't say that, then he is unfit to be President, and his preference for more violence — not less — is clear."

As Politico first found, "Teach American Exceptionalism" is one of two education goals listed on the Trump campaign's "Fighting for You!" agenda released during the Republican National Convention. But it remains unclear how the president can set an educational standard as school curriculums are set at the state and local levels in the U.S.

America, in fact, has and continues to have conflicts over race-related issues, with many of the recent protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot several times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

Given the country's patchwork of curriculum standards, the study of slavery and the civil rights movement also varies from state-to-state, CBS News found.

In North Carolina's standards, according to CBS News, "immigration of Africans to the American South" is mentioned as part of a lesson on why people move from place to place. They were brought to the United States by force, said Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, the author of "How to Be An Antiracist."  

CBS News also found while many states accurately state slavery was a "principal cause" of the Civil War, 16 states say "states' rights" was the issue, mixed with other causes.

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