Arizona Department of Education Advertised 1619 Project Teacher Grants

October 9, 2021

By Corinne Murdock |

In March, the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE) Social Studies newsletter advertised grant funds for teachers who would implement the 1619 Project. The Pulitzer Center offered a $5,000 grant to 40 educators; applications were due in March. The 1619 Project is an exercise of critical race theory, which holds that race is a socially-constructed idea created by white people to exploit and suppress anyone who isn’t white, and that all social, political, and economic institutions in this country were created by and operate on racism.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper series was debunked by historians roundly and subsequently edited significantly without any editor’s notes from its publisher, The New York Times. The initial goal of the project was to “reframe the country’s history” by establishing the year 1619 as the United States’s “true founding,” while focusing “the consequences of slavery and contributions of black Americans” as the lens through which to view past and present American society.

Parent and co-founder of West Valley Parents Uniting, Heather Rooks, resurfaced ADE’s newsletter promoting 1619 Project grant funds.

“Social Studies Newsletter back from January 2021, Arizona Department of Education to the Peoria Unified School District,” wrote Rooks. “Pulitzer Center offering grants to teachers to help implement the 1619 project ? So @azedschools is clearly using incentives to push CRT is AZ schools!”

In February, ADE’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion also suggested that the 1619 Project podcast was an appropriate educator resource for Black History Month.

In a statement to AZ Free News, Rooks questioned how ADE could be trusted with educating Arizona’s students if they promoted such unacademic materials. She urged parents to up their vigilance.

The Arizona Department of Education sends out newsletters to school districts across the valley. You would think the Department would have resources to help students with loss of learning. But instead, there’s a newsletter from January 2021 showing a promotion from Pulitzer Center giving out grant money to teachers who implement the 1619 project in their classrooms. I am a parent who wants the best education not only for my children, but for all children in Peoria Unified School District. Finding this newsletter through public records in emails of the curriculum team with the Peoria Unified School District was incredibly sad and shocking to say the least. If we can’t trust The Arizona Department of Education, how do we trust the Districts? Parents need to be aware of these newsletters coming to school districts from the Arizona Department of Education. Offering incentives to push Critical Race Theory into schools is completely wrong. West Valley Parents Uniting stands for transparency for parents and academics for students. Apparently the Arizona Department of Education doesn’t stand for Truth.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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