Educators refuse to lie to young people about U.S. history, current events
A proposed Republican bill circulating in Wisconsin puts schools smack dab in the middle of a national attempt to prohibit educators from teaching the truth about our nation’s history. The proposal stokes fear about what students learn in an effort to undermine trust in, and funding for, students and public schools. Related article.
The Republican proposal is a national attempt circulating in over a dozen states that aims to prohibit curricula about the dispossession of Native Americans, slavery, structural racism and oppression – and how it all contributes to our society today.
“How can we teach honestly about our society in a historical context without examining systemic racial inequality,” said WEAC President Ron Martin, an eighth-grade social studies teacher. “To not acknowledge the roots of U.S. racism is to deceive students — not educate them. Teaching true history helps students understand the roots of inequality and gives them the tools to shape a just future. Remember that America’s history is not just a history of oppression, but also of how people have organized and created coalitions across race, class, and gender.”
A similar bill in Missouri, which does not mention a single inaccurate or misleading lesson about U.S. history, names leading social justice education groups whose curricula would be banned, including the 1619 Project initiative of the New York Times, the Learning for Justice Curriculum of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Black Lives Matter at School, Teaching for Change, Zinn Education Project, along with any other similar, past or yet-to-be developed curricula.
“Educators won’t let our students be bullied, and we will not be bullied by Republican lawmakers,” Martin said. “We will continue our commitment to develop critical thinking that supports students to better understand problems in our society and to develop collective solutions. We are for truth-telling and uplifting the power of organizing and solidarity that move us toward a more just society.”