Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Dr. Matthew Spalding, vice president of Hillsdale College and the executive director of the 1776 commission to the newsmakers line.
During the second hour, Spalding informed listeners that the commission was still meeting to combat the racist curriculum being peddled by the federal government at the state level. Later in the segment, he urged parents to run for their local school boards and for communities to start their own local 1776 commissions.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line now by Matthew Spalding, executive director of the 1776 Commission and vice president of Hillsdale College. Heading up their graduate school of government at the Washington, D.C. campus. Welcome, Matthew.
Spalding: Good to be with you. Thanks for having me.
Leahy: You were just in D.C. with our good friend, vice chairman of the 1776 Commission, Nashville’s own Carol Swain who is a frequent guest on this program.
Spalding: Yes. The commission, which had made its report on January 18, 2021, and abolished two days later decided to continue meeting. And so we met at our Washington, DC, campus on Monday to talk about what’s going on in the country and continue to think about how we can try to influence that debate.
We issued a statement and plan to continue meeting and participating in what we think is probably one of the most important debates going on in our country right now about education, especially as it relates to how we understand our country.
Leahy: I saw three key action steps coming out of your statement. Number one, you encourage parents to run for local school boards. Number two, you oppose this new Department of Education.
A proposed rule that’s basically going to codify Critical Race Theory across the United States in public schools. And number three, you encourage people locally to form their own 1776 commissions. Tell us about that.
Spalding: Well, let’s start with the race theory question first. The essence of the 1776 report and if you haven’t read it, I would encourage you to read it, mainly because what the media reports and the critics turn out they really just hadn’t read it.
It’s a report about the importance of teaching straight, accurate and honest history, including all the things about our past, like slavery and those horrendous institutions that were eventually abolished.
But through that, history warts and all, we can still see the principles, the founding and why this country is worth preserving. We study it and teach its principles to our students.
The report also talks about how there’s been the rise over just in the last decade or so, a number of radical arguments which instead of emphasizing that all men are created equal, with regard with Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln and many, if not most, of the American founders.
The argument is that we should look at it through the eyes of race. We should teach students to consider the race of their fellow students and of history and everything they look at. We think that is itself a form of racism because you’re teaching racism and unjust.
And that’s what a lot of the practical debate is. The federal level in many states trying to impose Critical Race Theory, set aside from what we call, equity out of history, is about teaching race as the essence of our educational system.
That at the federal level in the form of Department of Education regulations and states, it’s got to be stopped. We strongly mind everyone but the states, state government, state legislatures and localities, local school boards are the most important thing for controlling curriculum.
So we strongly encourage Americans, especially parents with children in schools run for the school board. Get control of those school boards. Prevent this from happening. Institute good curriculum. And in order to do this broadly, this is a public debate now, we encourage states and localities to create their own 1776 commissions.
Just because we were abolished, we’re going to continue meeting. This is an important question. We are citizens. We encourage others to do the same. So we’ve got to engage in the national conversation.
Leahy: If people here in Nashville want to form their own 1776 Commission, what should be the first step they should take?
Spalding: I think the first thing you might want to do is contact their governor or someone in the state. If you’ve got a good governor, it’s always good to have the legitimacy of that, because then you can work with your Department of Education and get good appointments.
But having said that, you could have a city create a 1776 Commission. A group of private citizens could. But I think it’s important to have a very clear concept of what’s pulling you together.
Perhaps you want to center around which we would encourage the principles of the 1776 report. There’s a pledge being pushed out there called 1776 Action that citizens can sign up to pledge to uphold these principles and stop Critical Race Theory.
It’s really got to be pulled together around those things. What is it you want to prevent, which is important to prevent, but also what is the alternative? And the alternative I think we all think and this is true forever on the left and the right, conservative, liberal is 1776.
The principles of the Declaration of Independence played out in our history through our constitutional system. And that’s got to be what holds together. Find your fellow citizens who are concerned about that.
Figure out how you can come together. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to focus on? Is it a local school board? Are you’re working with a local school or university? Working with a legislature or someone who has the authority to pass and create curriculum?
Leahy: We’ve been doing a little bit like that here at The Tennessee Star. We set up our own little educational foundation, the Star News Education Foundation. We have for five years now been doing a National Constitution Bee based upon the book that we wrote called the Guide to the Constitution and Bill of Rights for Secondary School Students.
And we give away the winners, actually get educational scholarships. We do it every October. In fact, Carol Swain was present at our last National Constitution Bee. And I would like to invite you to come down and take a look at it.
Spalding: I think you find it very interesting that’s a wonderful example of what folks should be doing. For the longest time, there are lots of people who are concerned about these questions.
This is not something new that we’ve invented at the 1776 Commission. But I think now that all of that work takes on a new meaning and new importance and a new intensity and we need more of it.
And we need to understand that this has implications for our politics because the education of our students now forms the citizens of tomorrow. And we’ve got to focus on these questions.
Leahy: Tell us a little bit about this U.S. Department of Education proposed rule. I think it’s in the final stages. What is it? Where is it going and will it be implemented?
Spalding: Well, here are the two big things to keep in mind. There’s a massive piece of legislation in the United States Congress that plans to spend about a billion dollars a year for five years. $5 billion on civics education.
That’s a massive amount of money. What the regulators at the Department of Education have signaled to us very clearly is that the administration, through a regulatory process, wants to direct that money to things like Critical Race Theory that has passed the comment stage and the regulation will now go forward.
If that legislation passes Congress, you’ve now got the Biden administration pointing as much of that billion dollars a year towards these forms of education which actually are teaching our students racism.
Leahy: That proposed rule has gone through the next step and it’s been approved?
Spalding: It’s gone through what is called the comment period that is now closed. We issued our comment last week. That means that they can now implement that regulation if they choose to proceed.
Leahy: Well, of course, they’re going to choose to proceed because that’s their view.
Spalding: We presumed they would proceed. Exactly.
Leahy: Why have a comment period if you’re going to just do it?
Spalding: In theory, you’re required by law of a comment period in case you want to adjust it. But I assume they are going to make no adjustments. This is going to go forward. If they then have that money which Congress is on the verge of wanting to pass, they’re going to be able to direct a lot of money towards really bad things.
Leahy: Will Congress pass that bill?
Spalding: I sure hope not. There’s been a lot of uprising against it. But having said that, it’s got sponsorship by Republicans and Democrats.
Leahy: Which Republicans are sponsoring that bill?
Spalding: Unfortunately, Senator Cornyn from Texas. He’s the chief sponsor.
Leahy: Oh, my goodness. What’s the name of the bill?
Spalding: It is called the Civics Secures Democracy Act. It’s a very generic name. But look it up and you should tell people to call and try to prevent that from passing.
Leahy: Last question for you. Do you think that the federal government should have a role in funding K12 public schools?
Spalding: That’s a great question. Another big theme in our statement and in the report itself. The federal government has no role in shaping curriculum. That was not only not and was intentionally given to the states.
States control curriculum. Do you remember the debate? I think we all remember this huge debate we had on Common Core a number of years ago when the federal government tried to influence the curriculum.
That’s what’s going on again with civics right now with that bill I mentioned and what the administration is
Leahy: The parents are going to have to really move on this aren’t they Matthew Spalding, Executive Director of 1776 Commission. Thanks so much for joining us.
Spalding: And that’s exactly why. Thank you so much.
Leahy: And come down to the Constitution Bee.
Spalding: I would love to.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Matthew Spalding” by Hillsdale.
Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Laurie Cardoza-Moore from Proclaiming Justice to the Nations to the newsmakers line to discuss and celebrate that PJTN has been relieved of their hate status from the Southern Poverty Law Center after five years turmoil.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line now by our good friend Laurie Cardoza-Moore. She’s the founder and president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations. This is a group that educates, advocates, and moves to activate Christians, Jews, and all people of conscience in building a global community of action and prayer. In support of Jews and Israel Laurie, welcome back. You have some news for us. Good morning.
Moore: Good morning Michael. Great to be back.
Leahy: Well, apparently the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center in my view, a very vile nasty negative group that goes around smearing groups, has taken back some things that they’ve said about Proclaiming Justice to the Nations.
Moore: Yes, Michael, finally. And this has been an issue that we really have been trying to address for several years. But it’s been over the last year that we finally got some traction and we finally got an audience with them through our legal team to discuss the accusations formed against PJTN that are not based in fact at all. In fact, it’s really appalling that they would even say what they did say about the organization because we have been involved for almost 20 years in fighting the oldest hatred, and that’s anti-Semitism.
I had served as you know on the United Nations World Council of Independent Christian Churches. I have participated in two conferences with Muslim women who came to the UN to ask Western women to assist them in obtaining their freedoms in their countries. So across the board as well as Christians and their rights.
So no, this was falsely attributed to us. It has cost us. We have been blacklisted by Amazon Prime. They’ve removed us from their list. We’ve lost opportunities to serve in other capacities for appointments like the school board in Williamson County. There are numerous things that have happened to us as a result of this designation.
And we finally after evaluating our activity admitted that we’re not a hate group and they are removing us from the list. And the list gets updated. Just so you know, Michael the list gets updated at the end of January every year. They review all the organizations. They reviewed ours. And the hate designation is coming off finally.
Leahy: So when did they first call you incorrectly a hate group? How do they become the arbiter of what is and what is not hate?
Moore: Well, they think they are. They think they know they’re the experts. And of course, this has been going on for almost five years now.
Leahy: So five years ago they put you on this list?
Moore: That is correct.
Leahy: And what was their reasoning? Is it because you exercise freedom of speech and you supported Israel? Is that basically it?
Moore: Well, it’s interesting because a couple of years ago the Jewish community had the SPLC former founder came and spoke to the community and I was there. And one of our supporters in the audience from the Jewish community asked why PJTN was designated on a hit list as being a hate group. And the gentleman pulled up a piece of paper off of his table and he said we have a long list of things. He refused to say what those things were and when somebody challenged him to debate me right there and then that evening he said no, that’s for another program. I was ready and willing because they have misrepresented our organization and our mission.
Leahy: It’s a common tale with those groups and other groups on the left to misrepresent what conservatives stand for. We hear it all the time. And when we come back Laurie, we want to talk not only about what this means for your group going forward but also the other battles you’re engaged in with the textbook commission here in the state of Tennessee.
Leahy: Laurie, what does it mean for your group that at the end of this month coming you are off the Southern Poverty Law Center hate group list?
Moore: Even though we’ve lost some support and appointments Michael most people and all of our supporters around the globe because yes, we have chapters in other countries as well, but most people around the world understand that what we were accused of was not true. It was factually inaccurate and so it hasn’t affected us.
In fact, I have been working with state legislators across the country with regards to textbooks and reviewing textbooks and what’s happening in education, especially with civics and Holocaust studies. That’s been our primary focus, but it really hasn’t affected us. In fact, it’s really helped us because people like you and I who are concerned about the misrepresentation and the lives and the smears against legitimate organizations, like PJTN we get it.
We know we’re going to be the target, the bullseye that they’re going to try to remove and discredit. And I have to tell you I so appreciate our Speaker Cameron Sexton for having the leadership to appoint me to represent the citizens and the parents across this state on that textbook commission. And this is an extremely important role for me to play right now, especially in light of what is happening to our country.
Our children are not being properly educated. We’re using propaganda to educate our children now, especially as it relates to civics. We’re omitting important parts of the Jewish community and their role that they played in helping to establish our Judeo-Christian nation. So I am so grateful to the Speaker to take the initiative to appoint me for this position. And now it’s time for us.
I’m going to be sitting on that commission not as the president of PJTN but as a citizen of this state. And I am calling to action as well the citizens that almost a decade ago when we found that anti-Semitic textbook as we dug deeper in Williamson County mind you. As we dug deeper, we found that the textbook was anti-American, anti-Judeo Christian values, anti-history, and pro-China. This content was being peddled to our children.
And I said almost a decade ago. If we do not remove these textbooks, this curriculum from our children’s schools and Common Core our children are going to turn against this country because they’re being indoctrinated and fed lies about our history. And look at what has happened Michael. Look at this last year. We have had young people who have torn down monuments. That have murdered police officers and innocent citizens. They have attacked people.
Beaten people up. Elderly people in the street. This is all gone on in our country and our local government stood by in Portland, in Seattle, and Kenosha and allowed this chaos to erupt. And they didn’t stop it. If we don’t change the direction of education, we have to get rid of Common Core, Governor Lee said he was going to get rid of Common Core when he came into office and it was supposed to be gone by the end of 2019. The end of summer he said. It’s still here.
Leahy: Let me ask you a question about this Laurie. When does it meet next?
Moore: Well, we are waiting to get the final dates. We’re all going through the process of being briefed on how to go through this. So we still got one more meeting coming up this coming Thursday and then we will wait to see. It shouldn’t be too much longer after that. And of course, I will have to go through the commission hearing process with the House and the Senate education committees. So that will be coming up as well. So I expect within the next couple of weeks. But again Michael we’re going to need citizens because the of this state and the parents of this state have an opportunity as well to sit in and review these instructional materials in the textbooks.
Leahy: What is the purpose of that meeting when you’re meeting with the education committees of the Tennessee General Assembly?
Moore: Well, basically our role is to prepare and recommend a list of textbooks for approval. And of course, it will be used in all the public schools across the state. And of course, we will be involved in the bidding and contracting process of the textbooks and the publishing companies. We will also oversee the review of programs and the bid process for them. So it’s very detailed. We are going to be focused on ELA standards this year.
Leahy: ELA meaning English language arts.
Moore: English language arts, yes.
Leahy: So you’re not hitting Civics and history this year right?
Moore: Well, not yet. I have recommended to several state legislators to follow the lead of other states like Florida to review our civic standards in an emergency session. To call and review the civic standard to make sure that we are not misrepresenting this country to our children in our classrooms.
Leahy: My sense of that Laurie and I’d like to get your reaction right now. You know we do this Constitution Bee and we go to the public schools all the time. And my sense is in our interaction is here even in Tennessee the majority of public schools are actually now promoting an anti-American view of the world. That’s my sense of it. Would you agree with that?
Moore: Absolutely. You are spot on Michael. And that’s why we have the chaos that’s erupting. And that has to change. Our legislature has to take action to review the civics. Look at what just happened with President Biden with just revoking the executive order by President Trump for the 1776 Report.
Leahy: This is basically the American standard history and they’re replacing it with a version of The 1619 Project. America’s bad and has been racist from the beginning. That’s what they’re replacing it with.
Moore: Michael the problem with that is that information is The 1619 Project is factually and historically inaccurate.
Leahy: Oh come on now Laurie. Little things like factual inaccuracy, why should that matter? (Chuckles)
Moore: Well, we have a responsibility and a duty as citizens of the United States of America to pass the baton Michael to the next generation of this constitutional Republic.
Leahy: Are we doing that now? Are we doing that?
Moore: No, we’re not doing it. No. That’s why we’re a mess. And that has to change. and it’s not going to change Michael until We the People contact our elected officials and say look we’re watching you. We’re paying attention to your decisions. We cannot use respected historians called out The 1619 Project content and The New York Times admitted it. Okay, it’s not right. It’s not true. It’s not historically accurate. But that wasn’t our intention.
Leahy: I just saw that the new Deputy Secretary of Education nominated by Joe Biden comes from San Diego. He’s been a big big supporter of The 1619 Project in the claims of systemic racism throughout America’s founding in history. Now, they’re going to be sending requirements to the state government here. How do you think our state ought to react to that?
Moore: The state should reject anything that comes from anyone that is historically and factually inaccurate. We should not be approving content that fills our children’s minds with lies and disinformation. This will destroy our country. Look at our country! And until we reverse the course and start making sure that the curriculum that we use, the textbooks, the instructional materials, and the supplemental materials that are being used to teach our children are actually accurate, unbiased, and reflect the values of our community we will not be able to restore this Republic.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Laurie Cardoza-Moore” by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations.