State Watch

Mississippi governor calls for spending $3 million on 'Patriotic Education Fund'

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) called for spending $3 million on a "Patriotic Education Fund" in his budget proposal released Monday.

The money under the program would go toward schools that combat what Reeves called "revisionist history" that he said is "poisoning a generation."

"Capitalism, democracy, and other uniquely American values have been the victims of a targeted campaign from foreign and domestic influence-aiming to destroy the pillars of our society. The United States is the greatest country in the history of the world. No other nation has done more for its citizens or to advance freedom and prosperity across the globe. We need to combat the dramatic shift in education," Reeves wrote in his proposal.

The move is the latest by a member of the GOP to press for education that would instruct students on history in a more "patriotic" manner, an effort some Republicans say is necessary to confront what they see as a rise of liberal influence in public schools. 

President Trump earlier this month signed an executive order to establish the "Advisory 1776 Commission," an educational panel with the goal to "better enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776." 

The commission will specifically craft curriculum that Trump says would underscore the pillars of American government and focus on the "experience of overcoming great national challenges." 

The calls from Republicans for shifts in public education have been fueled by a national reckoning over systemic racism and police brutality, which led demonstrators across the nation to call for the removal of monuments commemorating Confederate and other racist figures of history. The GOP has bristled at that effort, which some suggest is an attempt to rewrite history.

"In recent years, a series of polemics grounded in poor scholarship has vilified our Founders and our founding. Despite the virtues and accomplishments of this Nation, many students are now taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but rather villains," Trump's executive order reads. "This radicalized view of American history lacks perspective, obscures virtues, twists motives, ignores or distorts facts, and magnifies flaws, resulting in the truth being concealed and history disfigured." 

The same budget proposal that would establish the Mississippi fund would also eliminate the state's income tax, which generates about 32 percent of Mississippi's general fund revenue.

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