FGI Files Suit Against ED for Records on Critical Race Theory

To what extent has the Department of Education been pushing CRT onto American children in schools?

June 21, 2023

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Functional Government Initiative (FGI) announced a transparency lawsuit against the Department of Education (ED) for withholding records regarding communication amongst senior ED personnel about critical race theory (CRT).

In June 2022, FGI filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Education Department for records from top department political appointees regarding CRT. After nearly a year, the department has failed to turn over any records, prompting FGI to file suit to obtain them.

CRT is a highly controversial academic theory developed on college campuses in the 1970s that asserts racism has been embedded in legal systems and policies, economic markets, and education. It has migrated from higher education into public policy and even primary education, causing divides in classrooms and among policymakers. As of January 2021, 42 states have introduced bills or taken steps to ban CRT from the classroom, with 18 states actually imposing those bans.

In April 2021, the Biden Administration proposed a new rule from the department that would have changed how grants were awarded to schools. The proposal stated that preference in grant decisions would go to schools that included in their curricula information from the “1619 Project,” a divisive interpretation of American history by the New York Times that propagates CRT. After significant pushback, the department walked back the proposed rule.

But when Florida recently adopted education initiatives that included curtailing CRT in curricula, Secretary Cardona said they were the “opposite of what we need for our children,” apparently an endorsement of CRT by ED. The records it has refused to produce would allow the public to know the extent of the Education Department’s efforts to promote CRT. Its refusal to comply with FOIA only heightens suspicions.

Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:

“CRT has become one of the most divisive topics in America. It claims to foster a better understanding of a volatile issue yet has only served to polarize Americans. The Education Department under the Biden Administration continues to promote CRT yet refuses to turn over the documents that reveal their intentions. With Secretary Cardona pushing back against efforts to stop CRT, it is now more important than ever that the pertinent records are released. If the Education Department is promoting divisive messages, FGI will continue its pursuit of the truth so that the American public can be informed.”