Freedom to Teach the Truth

Honesty in Education

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 some politicians are using the dog whistle strategy of distraction and division by trying to dictate what teachers say and block kids from learning our shared stories of confronting injustice to build a more perfect union. Joining together, we can demand that our schools have the resources to meet every child’s needs with well-trained and supported teachers and a curriculum that helps them reckon with and shape our future.

Sample School Board Resolution to Spark Curiosity & Critical Thinking to Prepare All Students To Thrive

In support of public schools communities, school boards must engage educators, students, and parents to create nurturing learning and teaching environments; build support and respect for educators as trained professionals; and ensure that all students can thrive regardless of their ZIP Code, color or background. Public education must value honesty about who we are; integrity in how we treat others; and courage to do what’s right by listening to, learning from, and respecting diverse viewpoints. Through collaboration, we can come together to more deeply engage our school board and school community to ensure opportunity for all.

NEA has developed a sample resolution and guidance for community engagement (hyperlink to both of the docs attached here) that can be used as a template for local school districts to create their own school board resolution. The model resolution contains a commitment to affirming inclusion of all students, respect for educators as professionals, and support for a proven, research-based  culturally-responsive education.


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Know Your Rights Guides

To date, at least 10 states have adopted measures that seek to limit how topics like racism and sexism can be taught in K-12 schools.  But as politicians mischaracterize and stoke fears about what is taught in schools, educators are holding firm in their support for a proven, research-based, and culturally responsive education for all students.  Take a look at state-specific Know Your Rights guidance for educators.

Download your state-specific guide ->

By Christine E. Sleeter, Miguel Zavala

Interdisciplinary ethnic studies help foster cross-cultural understanding among students of color and white students, and aids students in valuing their own cultural identity while appreciating the differences around them.


MUST WATCH: "We Shouldn't Shy Away From Kids' Questions About Race"

June 16, 2021

NEA President Becky Pringle spoke with NBC Washington about attempted restrictions on teaching lessons about race and racism. When kids ask questions about race, Pringle told NBC, adults need to be “courageous enough to answer those questions truthfully.”

“We will continue to lift up our voices,” added Pringle. “We will continue to march and rally, […] so that we can continue to do the unfinished work of this nation because we all believe in those ideals that we have never quite realized.”


Related News: 

We Need to Teach the Truth About Systemic Racism, Say Educators


For more than 20 years, Misty Crompton has taught middle school social studies in Derry, N.H., and she prides herself on using a variety of well researched, scholarly documents, primary sources, and other tools to help students learn the history and experiences—whether Black or White, Latino or Asian, Native or newcomer—of those living within the United States.

“It’s called good teaching, to tell truths and have students look at a variety of perspectives and experiences—and a rich landscape of experiences. Otherwise, it’s just propaganda,” Crompton says.



Historical Inaccuracies Are Barriers To Racial Justice

This series, Correct(ed), by James W. Loewen, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont, tackles problems in history that we often teach wrong. Lowen is also the author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me” and “The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader.” Each article in the  series comes with a short annotated bibliography.

Hopefully, educators, parents, and communities will find them fascinating and useful, because we all need to be historically literate, so we can help students (and ourselves) make sense of the present.


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The 1619 Project

The 1619 Project is an initiative by The New York Times Magazine that aims to reframe the country’s history by highlighting narratives about slavery and the contributions of Black Americans.

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Know Your Rights

What You Should Know About State Measures Restricting Certain Instruction on Racism and Sexism

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Black Lives Matter at School resources for educators, including books, videos, K-12 lesson plans and a curriculum resource guide.

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