What we know about Gov. Bill Lee’s $6M civics institute coming to University of Tennessee – Knoxville News Sentinel

what-we-know-about-gov.-bill-lee’s-$6m-civics-institute-coming-to-university-of-tennessee-–-knoxville-news-sentinel

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Gov. Bill Lee wants all Tennessee students, in both K-12 and higher education, to be "informed patriots."To do that, he's reworking civics education in part by creating a new institute at the largest public university in the state. Lee is budgeting $6 million to create an "Institute of American Civics" at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The institute will be located within the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, and is still in its infancy stage."This will be a flagship for the nation — a beacon celebrating intellectual diversity at our universities and teaching how a responsible, civic-minded people strengthens our country and our communities," Lee said.The center will "support and enhance statewide efforts to highlight the role American institutions play in resolving conflict, advancing human dignity and making public policy," UT System President Randy Boyd said in an announcement."We appreciate Gov. Lee’s support and welcome the opportunity to extend civic knowledge and the foundations of America’s fundamental political and economic institutions," Boyd said in the announcement.The center, funded by taxpayer money, will cost $6 million for the first year and $4 million in the following years.“We appreciate Gov. Lee’s confidence in the university. We are excited about this opportunity and are awaiting further details,” Chancellor Donde Plowman said in a statement to Knox News. The announcement comes amid a national political debate about critical race theory, and Lee has already expressed his concerns about the academic discipline. Earlier this month, the University of Memphis canceled a grant for social justice programming after Lee criticized the program as a use of "taxpayer dollars" to fuel a "divisive, radical agenda." "Informed patriotism should stretch beyond the K-12 classroom and into higher education," Lee said.In January, The College Fix reported that the Division for Diversity and Engagement at UT had submitted a plan to "partner with the Critical Race Collective to create a CRC Center" that would have identified and addressed racist policies on campus.According to a statement from UT's Director of News and Information Tyra Haag, that critical race center is no longer happening.
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