Rep. Stefanik Accuses NY Of Using COVID Funds On Critical Race Theory

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) questions former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Washington, U.S., November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Pool

Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York has expressed concern that the New York Education Department is using federal pandemic-relief funds to promote critical race theory in classrooms.

In a letter to Education Commissioner Betty Rosa reported by The New York Post, Stefanik demanded a “complete accounting” of how the money received in COVID-19 emergency funding is being spent.

I write with serious concern that 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).

Elise Stefanik

Stefanik noted that the state’s plan for spending the relief funds included addressing “anti-racism and anti-bias,” “implicit bias,” and “privilege,” instead of just the effects on learning and academics.

“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,” she said.

“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.

She also criticized the state’s plan for the funding that included “social emotional support within a culturally responsive sustaining framework”.

Stefanik asked the department to provide a list of social emotional learning activities in New York public schools along with “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”.

In a statement to the Post, the New York Education Department denied using federal funds for critical race theory. “None of the policies or initiatives advanced by NYSED or the Board of Regents are related to Critical Race Theory,” they said.