Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik sent a letter to New York Education Commissioner Betty Rosa demanding a complete accounting of how her department is using federal COVID-19 dollars to implement Critical Race Theory in New York schools.
In the oversight letter, Stefanik points out how the New York State Education Department (NYSED) is using federal taxpayer dollars provided through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund to promote Critical Race Theory under the guise of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education (CRSE).
“Instead of focusing solely on reopening schools and addressing students’ academic achievement challenges… NYSED encourages school districts to ‘leverage transformative SEL to support the work of anti-racism and anti-bias’ and provide staff development on topics of ‘privilege’ and ‘implicit bias,’” Stefanik wrote.
“This formulation of anti-racism is not about upholding the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, but instead advocates for the discriminatory treatment of Americans on the basis of race. Shrouding the racist and divisive ideology of Critical Race Theory with vague and seemingly innocuous terminology does not diminish the harm it poses to students,” Stefanik continued.
To provide oversight over these federal funds, Stefanik also requested, among other materials, a complete accounting of all ESSER state reserve funding that has been obligated or expended on SEL or related activities, any documents provided to schools or school districts promoting the use of ESSER funding on SEL or related activities, a copy of related curriculum, and any memos or other materials discussing the decision to use the federal pandemic funds to support Critical Race Theory through the guise of SEL and CRSE.
Stefanik, the most senior New York member on the House Committee on Education and Labor, which has oversight into NYSED’s use of federal taxpayer dollars, released a statement on this misuse of federal funds.
Read the full letter here.