Confusion Over Controversial 1619 Curriculum Appearing in Ohio Schools


State Senator Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) took to Facebook Wednesday to ease fears that the controversial 1619 Project may be included in the standards or curriculum for Ohio’s K-12 schools.

A rumor had been going around that the Ohio Board of Education would be voting on whether or not to approve the project’s works as part of the states’ history curriculum.

Brenner stated that State School Board President Laura Kohler told him the board “will not be adding the 1619 Project to standards or curriculum next week and do not have plans to do so.”

In an interview with The Ohio Star, Brenner called the 1619 Project, which “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative” according to the New York Times, “completely ridiculous.”

Historians have criticized the project for inaccuracies and the work was accused by one scholar of replacing historical understanding for ideology, a sentiment Brenner echoed.

Brenner said the project is “a rewriting of history to divide the country.”

“I’m for accurate history, and if slavery is part of history we can and we do discuss that. However, to call it the basis for American history is just absurd,” he said.

When asked what he thought of the possibility of the 1619 Project being included in K-12 learning, Brenner said that it would “not be appropriate.”

According to Ohio School Board member Lisa Woods, the 1619 Project’s teachings have already been adopted.

In an interview with The Star, Woods said that the 1619 Project has been “accepted  since November of 2019,” even though the work is “divisive” and “not history, but commentary.”

Woods worries that the curriculum will “anger Black children and shame White children,” and criticized some of her colleagues saying that the board had “removed itself from their core mission.”

Woods warned that we could see the 1619 Project as required learning for Ohio schools stating that “when it becomes an accepted curriculum it’s a matter of time before it becomes part of the standards.”

In an email to The Star, Mandy Minnick, the school board’s press secretary stated that “we have been made aware of erroneous representations that the State Board of Education of Ohio intends to take action next week to adopt a new curriculum for American history. This simply is not true. The State Board has no such plans.” In response to the possibility that the 1619 Project was already being taught in Ohio Schools Minnick pointed to a section of the Ohio code which “leaves to local boards of education the sole authority to prescribe a curriculum for schools.”

It is unclear if any Ohio schools currently incorporate the work of the 1619 Project.

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Ben Kolodny is a reporter for The Ohio Star and the Star News Network. You can follow Ben on Twitter. Tips can be sent to [email protected]







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