(New York, NY) — Senator Tom Cotton today introduced a bill that would withhold federal funding from schools that incorporate The New York Times’ 1619 Project. PEN America’s senior director of free expression programs Summer Lopez said the following:

“Penalizing schools for teaching history is a shocking and shameful proposal, particularly when it comes from a U.S. senator. Barring efforts to explore and seek historical truths is part of the playbook of authoritarian governments the world over; it has no place in a democracy. The best way to teach history is to debate it and to interrogate it. The responsibility of schools is to expose students to a breadth of perspectives. That’s precisely what the 1619 Project aims to do—raise vital questions about our national narrative that have long been kept at the margins. This bill is a wrong-headed and malicious attempt to quash legitimate historical inquiry, and an affront to the core academic mission and obligations of educational institutions in a liberal democracy.”