House Panel Clears Bill to Terminate Teaching American History Grants

The House Education and Workforce Committee this week approved, by a strict party line vote of 23-16, H.R. 1891 the “Setting New Priorities in Education Act.” This bill would eliminate 43 programs at the Department of Education including Teaching American History (TAH) grants.

An amendment was offered by Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ), and cosponsored by Representatives Davis (D-CA), Woolsey (D-CA) and Wu (D-OR) that would have potentially preserved TAH. The amendment would have required the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and Director of National Intelligence to determine if the United States was experiencing a shortage of linguists. If it was found that was the case, Department of Education funds could have been used to improve foreign language education, economic and financial education, arts education and the Teaching of Traditional American History. The Holt amendment

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was defeated by the same party line vote of 16-23.

House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MI) has decided to adopt a piecemeal approach to reauthorizing the ESEA, considering a series of targeted bills instead of one large one. H.R. 1891 is the first of those bills to be introduced and passed by the panel.

H.R. 1891 will now be considered by the House where it is expected to pass. While this is disheartening, the bill would still have to pass the Senate and be signed by the President which is unlikely. Traditionally, there has been strong bi-partisan support in the Senate for the TAH program.

In the Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) will soon introduce a single all encompassing ESEA reauthorization bill. It was expected he would introduce the bill right after Easter, but that has not occurred. There is no indication at this time what Chairman Harkin’s position is with regard to TAH in particular or history education in general.

6 thoughts on “House Panel Clears Bill to Terminate Teaching American History Grants

  1. Why does this not surprise me? Obviously, republicans are afraid of educating the public — hence the attacks on public schools, teachers, and bills like this.

    I’d like this information published in the newspapaers and on television; let the people know what they voted for.

  2. I wonder how many of my colleagues who are lamenting this situation have donated money or volunteered on political campaigns? I would be willing to bet that most of us (I donate and volunteer, but I’ll include me because I should do more) mostly sit around and complain about this stuff, or join in sending emails to members of Congress, but do we get off our duffs and work for a candidate who will do as we want her or him to do?

  3. This is a horrible turn of events. What can we do to prevent it from happening? Students must know history if we are to survive as a nation.

    Lets have an organized and systematic strategy to get the grants renewed. It is a “patriotic” endeavor.

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