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Hillsdale College to open 50 charter schools to combat Tennessee's 'woke' public school curriculums

The move is meant to teach students that the United States is “an exceptionally good country”

Hillsale College President Larry Arnn
Hillsale College President Larry Arnn | Wikimedia Commons

April 12, 2022 11:00am

Updated: April 13, 2022 8:56am

Republican Gov. Bill Lee recently announced that his administration has invited a private conservative college to open 50 charter schools across Tennessee in a move meant to teach students that the United States is “an exceptionally good country.”

According to a recent New York Times report, the governor offered the 1,500-student Michigan-based school $32 million in public funds to fund the new charter school initiative.

The 2,400-page curriculum was created in response to the NYT’s controversial 1619 Project and reportedly focuses on “the centrality of the Western tradition.” It is currently being used by educators in two dozen member schools across at least 13 states, Hillsdale College noted on their website.

“For decades, Hillsdale College has been the standard-bearer in quality curriculum and in the responsibility of preserving American liberty,” Lee recently told lawmakers. “I believe their efforts are a good fit for Tennessee.”

Although the Hillsdale curriculum has been criticized for challenging Democratic positions on the New Deal and global warming, many conservatives view the college as 'shining city on a hill' for its devotion to 'liberty as an antecedent of government, not a benefit from government,' as Justice Clarence Thomas said in his 2016 commencement address. 

Lee’s announcement came as parents across the country continue to fight for control over what is being taught in public classrooms. Although Democrats insist that Republicans are exaggerating their concerns, many parents have voiced anger by leftist lawmakers’ push to include divisive “equity” lessons based on critical race theory in elementary school lesson plans, claiming that white children are taught that they are “oppressors.”

Similarly, Republican states like Florida and Tennessee have recently enacted legislation to block public schools from discussing gender identity, homosexuality and sex in the classroom.

Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced House Bill 1557 – a measure leftist critics have since dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay bill.”

According to the bill’s text, the legislation would serve to “reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children” by prohibiting schools from enacting policies that prevent the disclosure to parents of “critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.”

Furthermore, the bill prohibits “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.

Instead, DeSantis said, schools should focus on improving core-education for students, including reading, math and civics.

“We need to be focusing on teaching kids to read and to write and math and science and understanding American history, and having civics so that they understand the Constitution and they understand that our rights come from God, not from government,” the governor said.

According to a recent poll from the Daily Wire, 64% of Americans support DeSantis’ ban on classroom instructions on sexual orientation and gender identity in grade K-3. Similarly, a majority of those polled said no student should be exposed to such materials unless it is presented in an age or developmentally appropriate manner.