CV NEWS FEED // The Biden administration announced the defunding of archery and hunting programs in elementary and secondary schools due to a bill that Republican signees claim was misinterpreted.
Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona defunded archery and hunting programs across the nation under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), which passed last year in the wake of several school shootings.
The bill amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which has designated funding for hunting and archery programs since 1965 by banning ESEA from funding programs that provide “training in the use of a dangerous weapon.”
The Department of Education’s decision has led to an outcry from GOP lawmakers and others, and some who voted for the BCSA say Cardona misinterpreted it.
Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, both of whom voted for the BSCA last year, sent a letter to Cardona critiquing his decision.
“The Department mistakenly believes that the BSCA precludes funding these enrichment programs [hunter safety and archery],” the senators wrote.
Meanwhile, others are concerned that defunding these programs will only increase the mental health crisis among youth as it reduces access to communal activities that promote friendship and outdoor time instead of solitary screen time.
Forbes reports that students who participated in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) were 40% more engaged in the classroom, while over 90% intended to seek out more outdoor opportunities.
NASP has 1.3 million students participating, spanning almost 9,000 schools in nearly every state, reported Fox News.
“NASP is an activity that doesn’t discriminate based on popularity, athletic skill, gender, size, or academic ability,” NASP says in their mission statement. “It’s a different kind of team sport. It’s open to any student. Its biggest supporters are professional educators. Teams come together around one thing: Archery.”
NASP’s mission, according to its website, is to improve educational performance through archery, teaching kids “focus, self-control, discipline, patience, and the life lessons required to be successful in the classroom and in life.”
Meanwhile, the International Hunter Education Association’s mission is to support hunting educators through research-based resources that “promote safe, responsible, and ethical practices while fostering partner communication.”
Schools have already begun canceling their hunting and archery programs, but a top House Republican from Tennessee hopes to save the programs’ funding.
“Hunting has been a tradition since the beginning of human history. The Biden admin’s decision to push its elitist values on Tennesseans isn’t going to fly,” said Rep. Mark Green, R-TN.
Green will put legislation forward on August 2 to amend the ESEA to allow funding for training students in archery, hunting, and other shooting sports.