Washington – Educators and allies in more than 115 cities across the United States will join together and pledge to tell the truth in response to dozens of restrictive, dangerous proposals and laws in state legislatures that seek to censor what students are taught about our nation’s history—denying educators the tools and approaches needed to reach all students and provide them with the education they deserve to create a better future for all of us.
NEA President Becky Pringle, who is an outspoken critic of these bills, noted that, “No matter our color, background, or zip code, we want our kids to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right. But the same lawmakers who have denied our students the resources they deserve and demanded sacrifices of our teachers are now stoking fears about our schools, attempting to dictate what teachers teach, and trying to keep kids from learning our shared stories of confronting injustice to build a more perfect union.”
Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Portland, Las Cruces, Youngstown, St. Louis… these are just some of the communities across the country where educators, students, and allies are participating in the national campaign to #TeachTruth from August 27 – 29. Click here to view list of local events and map of locations and actions which will be updated throughout the weekend. These days of action follow on the June 12 Pledge to Teach the Truth Day of Action in dozens of cities across the United States.
Pringle goes on to say that “This manufactured outrage is designed for one purpose – to divide communities along racial lines for political purposes. This has resulted in educators being targeted simply for doing their jobs and teaching our history.”
“Youth deserve the truth,” said NEA member, high school teacher and Zinn Education Project organizer and curriculum writer Jesse Hagopian. “The truth is that students are discussing issues of racism all the time, they're talking about their experience in segregated schools, or the latest viral video of racist violence. And they're talking about these things in the hallways, on the playground, or on a school bus. States seeking to ban students from learning about systemic racism or sexism in age-appropriate ways do a great disservice. By censoring the very conversation students are eager to engage in, they underestimate student's ability to develop analytical tools that embrace nuance and complexity. These laws render our youth less prepared to build a more just and inclusive society.”
“As professionals, we – not politicians – know how best to support our students,” continued Pringle. “What a good educator knows is we can’t just avoid, suppress, or lie our way through our shared challenges. We will continue our commitment to our students so that they have the skills needed to better understand problems in our society and develop collective solutions to those problems.”
“I teach technology, but I understand the importance of knowing our history in order to make sense of the world we live in today,” said Heather Smith, a middle school teacher in Youngstown, Ohio. “Through media literacy and critical thinking skills, I believe educators can help students navigate their media rich worlds, thinking critically for themselves, asking questions, and being able to determine credible sources. When we know the truth we can build a better future. There has been a lot left out of the history story we learned in school. Once you begin to question what has been left out and why, you begin to reveal the truth.”
“Joining together, teachers are speaking out by participating in the National Days of Action to Teach the Truth and pledging to teach the truth to ensure our public schools meet the needs of all students no matter what they look like, where they are from or where they live,” concluded Pringle.
NEA is joining with Black Lives Matter at School, the African American Policy Forum, and the Zinn Education Project in support of the August Days of Action to Teach the Truth. In addition, NEA created a Know Your Rights guide to help educators navigate and answer the many questions stemming from these restrictive laws and proposals.
Follow us @NEAMedia
Follow the conversation on Twitter: #TeachTruth
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.