By BECKY PRINGLE and OVIDIA MOLINA
National Education Association and Texas State Teachers Association
Note: NBC News reported that a top official at the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas, advised teachers during a training that they should provide books with an “opposing” view when discussing the Holocaust. The training took place several days after a parent pressured the Carroll school board into disciplining a teacher for using a book the parent found offensive.
No matter their color, background or zip code, we want our students to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right to build a better nation and future for our children.
What happened in the Carroll Independent School District shows how the Texas law is meant to hinder educators’ ability to engage students’ curiosity and critical thinking. These intentionally confusing constraints on honest curriculum have no place in our public schools in Texas or elsewhere. Our students are listening and watching what we do. As trusted professionals, educators believe that all students deserve an honest and full education.
Sadly, Texas is not alone. Educators in other states are facing similar actions triggered by some elected officials who are stoking fears about what educators can or cannot teach in public schools as well as trying to silence or ban teachers from teaching students about our full history. This has resulted in educators being targeted, harassed, intimated and disciplined simply for doing their jobs. Whitewashing the history of the Holocaust and slavery by stoking fears diminishes these injustices endured by generations and devalues our students and their families’ lived experiences. Only through grappling with hard truths can our students create a more equitable future.
We must remain steadfast, committed to ensuring students learn the honest and accurate history of our country so that they have the skills needed to better understand problems in our society and develop collective solutions to those problems.
In the aftermath of states taking steps to consider or pass laws to restrict how topics like racism and sexism can be taught in K-12, NEA put together a Know Your Rights guide to help educators understand their rights and protections when teaching history and civics including our country’s history and continuing struggles with racism and sexism.
Becky Pringle is the president of the National Education Association. Ovidia Molina is the president of the Texas State Teachers Association. Follow them on Twitter @txstateteachers @NEAToday and @NEAMedia. #TeachTruth
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