Fox’s MacCallum Spars With Teachers Union President Over 1619 Project

Fox's MacCallum Spars With Teachers Union President Over 1619 Project martha maccallum smiles at a directv now sign Fox News' Martha MacCallum (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for DirecTV)

By Solange Reyner | Monday, 10 May 2021 07:47 PM

Fox News host Martha MacCallum on Monday questioned American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten over her support for the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which intends to “reframe the country’s history” by crossing out 1776 as America’s founding date and substituting 1619, the year the first slave ship arrived on America’s shores.

The project has become a controversial issue for conservatives across America, with some politicians fighting efforts by school districts to make it a part of the curriculum in public school districts.

Weingarten, a history and social studies teacher, has defended the project amid a push by the U.S. Department of Education to adopt a curriculum based on certain parts of the project.

“From everything I can see and understand from the data that I see, 1619 was the year that the first slave boat came from Africa to the United States,” Weingarten told MacCallum. “So that's a point in history that I think we should be teaching."

"That's a very simplistic take on it," MacCallum fired back, and the project, she explained, indoctrinates children to believe that "the country was founded on the basis of wanting to preserve slavery."

"But that is not factual. That is not true," MacCallum told viewers. "In fact, scholars say there's no evidence that colonists were motivated by that in coming to the United States. So, it would be wrong as a historian to want to teach them something that is not true, because that is the basis that sets up all of these other tenants that lead to teaching kids that we live in a systemically racist country.”

When Weingarten appeared to dodge the topic and instead focus on coverage of the 2020 election, MacCallum interjected: "This is not the topic that we’re here to talk about. I'm not going to talk about that. We talked about that before. But that's a dodge. Okay?"

"So I'm asking you – you say you're a social studies teacher. Do you favor teaching students that 1619 is more important than 1776? Do you favor that?"

"I favor us teaching about 1776, which I have often done. I favor us teaching about 1619. I also favor us teaching about the holocaust and the genocide in terms of the holocaust," Weingarten responded.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in late April wrote a letter to Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona calling on him to ditch the project.

“Families did not ask for this divisive nonsense. Voters did not vote for it. Americans never decided our children should be taught that our country is inherently evil,” McConnell wrote. “If your Administration had proposed actual legislation instead of trying to do this quietly through the Federal Register, that legislation would not pass Congress.”

Idaho in April banned schools from teaching “critical race theory” and other states have advanced bills to ban the project from being taught at public schools.