The Biden administration’s attack on school hunting instruction and archery programs has prompted two letters from Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. Letters sent by senators, headed by Texas Republican John Cornyn, contend that the Department of Education misread the law and requested that money for these programs be reinstated.
Cornyn and 17 other senators and representatives wrote to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to express their disagreement with the Department of Education’s interpretation of the legislation that would prevent funding for some forms of classroom instruction. They also stressed the value of these extracurricular activities in educating children about risk management, wildlife conservation, landowner partnerships, and individual accountability.
The Education Department informed hunting education organizations in July that federal money would be cut for hunting and archery programs in schools. The administration’s interpretation of the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) was outlined in the accompanying guidelines. The 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the primary source of federal aid to elementary and secondary education across the country. The guidance stated that hunter education and wilderness safety courses use weapons that can, technically, be considered dangerous and thus may not be funded. Many schools, say advocates, have already removed such courses from their curricula in response to government instructions.
The BSCA has two Republican sponsors in Senators Cornyn and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and two Democratic sponsors in Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. After horrific shootings in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and a school in Uvalde, Texas, in June 2022, Congress enacted the BSCA, and President Biden signed it into law. The legislators requested that language rejecting the Education Department’s interpretation of BSCA be included in the forthcoming Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for FY24.