WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday threatening funding for universities and schools he says are “indoctrinating” students, calling on the Treasury Department to review their tax-exempt statuses.
“Too many Universities and School Systems are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education,” Trump said. “Therefore, I am telling the Treasury Department to re-examine their Tax-Exempt Status and/or Funding, which will be taken away if this Propaganda or Act Against Public Policy continues. Our children must be Educated, not Indoctrinated!”
The Trump administration has spotlighted education in the last week, calling for schools to reopen for the next school year despite the risk of spreading the coronavirus, and also suggesting he’d attempt to revoke funding if they do not.
The president has complained before about “radical” views being taught in schools. During his Mount Rushmore speech July 3, Trump blamed violence in cities with Democratic leaders on “indoctrination and bias in education, journalism and other cultural institutions.”
“Our children are taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains,” Trump said.
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Most private and public colleges and universities in the country qualify for tax-exempt status because of their educational purposes or because they are state entities, according to the Association of American Universities.
The IRS’ criteria for tax exemption based on educational value says the process for determining if any ideological viewpoint is disqualifying for its status includes looking at whether positions advanced are supported by facts.
“Advocacy of a particular position or viewpoint may be educational if there is a sufficiently full and fair exposition of pertinent facts to permit an individual or the public to form an independent opinion or conclusion,” it says.
Some conservatives have accused institutions of higher learning of becoming too liberal.This week Fox News host Laura Ingraham said in a segment that liberals want schools to “indoctrinate” students, with a goal under a Biden administration of turning “your kids into hard-core activists by remaking education from top to bottom.” Trump frequently tweets about her show.
“Every subject, every extracurricular activity will be perverted to turn your kids into mini Ilhan Omars,” Ingraham said on her show Wednesday, referring to the Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota.
“Think about losing your child to the sort of whacked-out thinking that parents and alumni have allowed to dominate college campuses,” she continued.
Last year, Trump also signed an executive order that threatened to withhold research-related funding to colleges and universities that do not uphold free speech on their campuses. That move was in response to those in his base who have criticized colleges where conservative speakers were protested.
Trump’s Friday tweets come after his administration announced this week that international students will have to leave the United States if their schools opt for online-only learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.