In March of 2021, as right-wing politicians and media outlets scaled up their attacks on educators’ most basic responsibility — to teach young people accurately and truthfully — the Zinn Education Project launched a #TeachTruth pledge.
The pledge states:
“One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
We, the undersigned educators, refuse to lie to young people about U.S. history and current events.
To date, more than 8,000 educators have publicly signed the pledge.
Many have faced steep consequences for doing so. Multiple right wing websites have listed the names of those who signed the pledge, along with the communities in which they work. Their goals are clear: to incite harassment and spread fear. As one teacher wrote, “This is modern-day McCarthyism.”
Here are just a few of their pledges.
How is it possible to teach about civics without discussing racism? How will our nation ever move past racism if it can’t acknowledge that it happened in the first place?
I refuse to lie to my students and teach them an abbreviated version of history that erases the struggle and resistance of everyday people.
Teaching history means teaching all of it.
To think children are not aware of the inequalities that exist in their everyday lives is ignorant and insulting.
Parents and educators have a duty to help them understand what they see, what they hear, and what they experience.
Hiding from the ugly truth does not make it go away but only serves to create a citizenry that is ill-equipped for fighting to change it.
A calculated attempt to weaken the populace through misinformation and ignorance is in direct opposition of what a representative government should be and should not be tolerated.
My students are brilliant and powerful.
Their history is their birthright. I will not rob them.
The future is theirs to shape.
Our Teach Truth Syllabus includes examples of the lessons the right does not want taught in schools. Check out the topics: colonial laws, resistance to enslavement, Reconstruction, redlining, healthcare, voting rights, climate justice, and more.
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