#TeachTruth Media Guide

This Teach Truth Media Guide is for anyone seeking to communicate with the media about the dangers of anti-history education legislation and book bans, the importance of teaching truthfully, and the rights of LGBTQ+ students.

While this guide was designed for the Teach Truth Days of Action, it can be referenced all year. There are also sample releases for the media and recommendations for media communications.


Key Statements FAQs

Media Engagement Media Outreach

Additional Resources


Key Statements

Here are key talking points. In each case, we have included a one liner for social media and interviews, followed by additional details for longer documents or conversations. Also read the FAQs.

What is #TeachTruth?

IF YOU SAY ONE THING: #TeachTruth is a commitment by educators to teach full and accurate U.S. history and current events, and to affirm the humanity of all students and staff. It is a call to raise awareness of the dangers of lying to students about the existence and persistence of structural and systemic racism, and all forms of oppression.

Why support #TeachTruth?

IF YOU SAY ONE THING: Knowledge can help create a more just society. When young people study the roots of injustice, they can address those root causes and shape a better future for everyone.

Call to Action

IF YOU SAY ONE THING: Defend a truthful education and LGBTQ+ rights.

Frequently Asked Questions 

The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) can be used to prepare for interviews and to inform your talking points, content, and conversations regarding the #TeachTruth campaign.

Based on interviews to date, the questions may address critical race theory (CRT), the language of the bills, LGBTQ+ identity, school curriculum, book bans, and more. We provide suggested responses and strategies to help you keep the focus on your teaching and why it matters. 

Systemic Racism and “Divisiveness”

QUESTION: Doesn’t teaching about racism undermine national unity? 

ONE SENTENCE: No — racism is what prevents unity, so teaching about racism is simply teaching the truth about our society and giving young people the tools to create a more just future. 

QUESTION: Isn’t teaching about systemic racism divisive? 

ONE SENTENCE: No — racism is divisive, but understanding racism involves learning about movements and people of every race and ethnicity that came together to challenge racism, and that kind of education promotes unity for a more equitable world.

QUESTION:  Shouldn’t we keep politics out of public education and prohibit teachers from indoctrinating students with their personal views?

ONE SENTENCE: Helping students think critically about how racism and other forms of oppression have worked in our society over time is not indoctrination, it’s education.

QUESTION: Are you teaching that all white people are racist or trying to make white students feel guilty?

ONE SENTENCE: No — we are teaching students history so they can better understand the present and how we can move together into a better future. 

QUESTION: Isn’t a racially diverse curriculum unnecessary for white students?

ONE SENTENCE: No — we all live in a multicultural society; teaching white students about racism and anti-racism is essential because it helps them make sense of the world around them and collaborate across racial lines for a better future.

Critical Race Theory (CRT)
Reporters may want to focus on critical race theory; Amanda Marcotte explains in Salon why the right wing has latched on to that term:

It is important to note that the fabricated fury over “critical race theory” is a cleverly constructed right-wing troll. Liberals who want to respond with a quick, easily digested rebuttal are instead boxed into a frustrating corner. Because pointing out that critical race theory is not being taught in public schools is a trap, as it could be construed to imply that there’s something wrong with critical race theory. And any straightforward defense of critical race theory implies that schoolchildren are somehow expected to understand graduate school-level academic theories. But in fact, the real issue at hand is that conservatives don’t want white kids to learn even the most basic truths about American history.  

When reporters come out of the gate with critical race theory it’s playing the opposition’s game, which we don’t have to do. We recommend when possible to pivot away from the question as it obscures what is at the heart of the legislation being introduced.

In order to pivot you can say things like, “I am happy to discuss that with you but first let me address why we are protesting this legislation.” If people are intent on you specifically providing an answer to the question on CRT, you can pull from our examples below. You can also ask the reporter how they define critical race theory.

For each of the responses, we provide a short answer for a quick statement and a more detailed response for longer interviews.

QUESTION: Is critical race theory currently being taught in schools? 

ONE SENTENCE: Critical race theory is an anti-racist approach to understanding the legal system that most people won’t encounter until college, but schools can and should teach students to be critical of racism in history and today — and to question the roots of the profound racial inequality in our society.


Use this line from the New York Times: “While few K–12 educators use the term ‘critical race theory,’ discussions of systemic racism have become more common in American schools in recent years. . .”

QUESTION: What is critical race theory?

ONE SENTENCE: Critical race theory is a field of legal study that explores the way race is socially constructed and has been used over time to maintain white supremacy.

QUESTION: Why are Republicans and the right wing media so focused on critical race theory right now?

Remember to pivot to the responses you want to give.

ONE SENTENCE: “Critical race theory” is a term inaccurately thrown around now as a confusing catch-all for anything the right wing doesn’t like, and it’s used in this way to stop students from asking questions about inequality and racism and to stop teachers from teaching a fuller, race-conscious history of the United States. 

Source of the Attacks

QUESTION: Who is responsible for the attack on education about race, gender, and sexuality? Are right-wing politicians the problem?

ONE SENTENCE: Billionaires and the right-wing politicians and political groups they fund are leading the attack on education, and many establishment liberals and the mainstream media enable them.

QUESTION: What is “Project 2025”? How would it impact education?

SHORT ANSWER: Politicians and the billionaires who fund them are attempting to train young people to accept the idea that truths about BIPOC, women’s, and queer history should be illegal to learn and anyone who studies them should be punished. The right-wing Heritage Foundation drew up a blueprint for advancing legislative efforts to ban truth and historical inquiry in their “Project 2025” playbook.

Impact on Teaching and Learning

QUESTION: What will be the impact on teaching if these laws pass? Do teachers have to abide by them while they are being litigated? 

ONE SENTENCE: The objective of these proposed laws is to create a chilling effect so that, whether they pass or not in a particular state, teachers everywhere will fear teaching the truth about racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other forms of oppression throughout U.S. history.

QUESTION: Why do you say that following the prohibitions made in these bills would require teachers not to tell the truth about U.S. history?

ONE SENTENCE: The truth is that racism, genocide, and the destruction of nature played fundamental roles in our nation’s history, so if you can’t teach that, you can’t teach the truth about U.S. history.

QUESTION: Will these laws impact the ability for teachers to teach honestly if they work in states where there aren’t bills to ban them?

ONE SENTENCE: These proposed laws are intended to have a chilling effect — so whether they pass or not in a particular state, teachers everywhere will fear teaching the truth about racism and any other topic the proponents don’t like, whether it is women’s rights, climate change, or any other substantial social issues. 


QUESTION: Why has teaching about Palestine been named in the demands for the Teach Truth Day of Action?

ONE SENTENCEThe same forces working to ban teaching the truth about the history of systemic racism in the United States are attacking educators who teach honestly about the history of Palestine or the current movement for a ceasefire in Gaza.

QUESTION: Is it antisemitic to teach about the movement for a ceasefire in Gaza?

SHORT ANSWER: No. The call for a ceasefire in Gaza is a call for safety and a call against further violence. It is not an attack on Judaism. In fact, Jewish activists have been central to the movement for a ceasefire and a free Palestine, guided by Jewish values for collective liberation and lasting peace. 

QUESTION: Is antisemitism on the rise in the United States?

SHORT ANSWERYes. In addition to the violent attacks on Palestinian Americans and the increase of Islamophobia, there is no question that antisemitism is also on the rise in the United States. And it is primarily driven by the same right-wing forces banning books and honest accounts of U.S. history. It is not, as some suggest, part and parcel to the movement for a ceasefire in Gaza — which includes massive numbers of Jews across the country. In fact, Jewish educators calling for a ceasefire have emphasized how “the Israel-Palestine conflict endangers Jews living in or near the conflict zone, and stokes antisemitism and anti-Jewish violence worldwide as legitimate criticism of Israel collides with old tropes and hatreds.”

[Find more information on our resources page, Teaching About Palestine-Israel and the Unfolding Genocide in Gaza, and the crowdsourced database Pali Answers.]

Parents’ Rights

QUESTION: Is the movement for anti-racist education opposed to “parents’ rights?”

ONE SENTENCE: No — educators have long believed that education is strengthened by partnership with the community, including parents and other caregivers collaborating to support all students, but the right wing’s “parents’ rights” movement is about mobilizing a small minority of parents behind book bans and educational gag orders.

LGBTQ+ and Trans Identity

QUESTION: Should schools be allowed to teach students about LGBTQ+ identity?  

ONE SENTENCE: LGBTQ+ rights are human rights — the reality is that LGBTQ+ staff and students are in every school and they deserve to not only be safe, but welcomed, supported, and have their identities reflected in the curriculum.

QUESTION: Doesn’t the participation of trans athletes hurt cis female student athletes? 

ONE SENTENCE: Including trans athletes will benefit everyone.

QUESTION: Isn’t sex defined at birth and identifiable through singular biological characteristics?

ONE SENTENCE: Trans girls are girls.

States or Districts with Bans

QUESTION: If you don’t live in a state with a bill that’s pending or passed, what can you do to support those who do?

ONE SENTENCE: Speak out publicly about the danger of these laws and how they have a chilling effect nationally.

QUESTION: Why should anyone care, if they live in states where these bills have not been introduced?

ONE SENTENCE: The objective of these proposed laws is to create a chilling effect so that, whether they pass or not in a particular locale, teachers everywhere will be fearful of teaching the truth about racism, gender, and sexuality.

Media Engagement

Use the key statements and FAQs as talking points when being interviewed by the media. Additionally, here are some best practices to keep in mind, videos to review, and guidelines for writing op-eds.

Best Practices

    1. Practice your talking points in advance of any interview.
    2. During the interview, remember to stay focused on your key messages.
    3. Keep your remarks brief and to the point to ensure your message gets through. 
      • The more you talk about things that are not your most important points, the greater a chance a reporter will select something for a quote that is not your main point.
    4. You can signal to a reporter what they should focus on by “signposting” — using a verbal clue that they should be paying close attention, such as:
        • “If you remember one thing from today, it’s this . . .”
        • “We’re out here today for one key reason . . .”
    5. If a reporter tries to lead you down a path that gets away from your main message, use a “bridge message” to get back to where you want to be.
          • “We think the issue is really this . . . ”
          • “Let’s look at the facts . . .”
          • “The key to solving this problem is . . .”
    6. Consider what your opponents might say, and include words or phrases that might preempt their criticism or objections. 
            • Consider words like “fair,” “just,” “thorough,” “accurate,” “inclusive”
            • Know which opposition messages to address and which to avoid.

Media Best Practices

 What to Expect

Sample Interviews

In addition to practicing the talking points, we recommend watching these sample interviews with Jesse Hagopian and Kimberlé Crenshaw. They were produced by AAPF, drawing from the format of a Zinn Education Project media workshop. The interviews were conducted by Janine Jackson, FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) program director.


In addition to getting the media to cover your event, you and colleagues can submit an op-ed to your local papers. We recommend paying close attention to the guidelines from the Op Ed Project and reading the samples listed below. Our team is happy to provide feedback on your draft.  

(1) Read this detailed guide, Op-ed Writing: Tips and Tricks, from the Op Ed Project

(2) Check out these samples op-eds by teachers related to the anti-history education bills:

(3) We recommend sending the draft to the Zinn Education Project for feedback (Julia Salcedo jsalcedo@zinnedproject.org). We have worked with a number of teachers whose pieces were selected for publication.


Media Outreach

The media can help extend the reach of our message, our action, and our commitment. We had a lot of success getting local and national media coverage for the sites in June.

We can’t emphasize enough what a difference these instructions and resources make. Just about every group that followed the four key steps and used the templates below had print and/or audiovisual media coverage as a result. Your media advisory should be sent as soon as the event is planned and two days before the action. Your media release on the day of the action.

Four Key Steps

ONE: Identify local media to reach out to. 

TWO: Adapt the “Media Advisory Template” below and send it to the contacts identified in step one. Send it to both specific reporters if you have their emails as well as the general news tips address.

    • Make sure the advisory includes up-to-date information on your event: when it’s happening, location, who will be participating, and why. 
    • Include a contact name, email address, and cell phone number for someone who can be reached the day of the event with information.
    • Paste the text you’ve created directly into the text of the email. Newsrooms always prefer to have all the info right there within the email; attachments often get sent to junk mail.
    • Keep the subject line of the email concise, but intriguing enough to get reporters to open it. We recommend the following example: “Local educators rally Saturday against teaching bans.” 

THREE: Call your local outlets early in the morning of the event to let them know TODAY IS THE DAY, and encourage them to attend and cover it.

    • For TV and radio, simply call the station and ask for the newsroom. When you reach someone, have a brief pitch ready that includes what’s happening; when and where; why it’s important, and offer to resend the advisory you sent earlier.
    • For newspapers, call the outlet, and ask for the reporter you sent the advisory to, or for the newsroom, and repeat the steps above. 

FOUR: Send all of your contacts above a media release on the morning of the event. Adapt the ‘Media Release Template” below. 

    • Make sure the template includes up-to-date information on your event: when it’s happening, location, who will be participating, and why. 
    • Include a quote from someone organizing or participating in the event.
    • This makes it easy for reporters to include a voice, even if they can’t do an interview.
      • Make the quote conversational. The more it sounds like something someone would actually say — rather than a prepared statement — the more likely it will be picked up. 
      • Include a contact name, email address, and cell phone number for someone who can be reached the day of the event with information.
    • As noted in step two, paste the text you’ve created directly into the text of the email. Newsrooms always prefer to have all the info right there within the email; attachments often get sent to junk mail.
    • Keep the subject line of the email concise, but intriguing enough to get reporters to open it. We recommend the following: “TODAY: Local educators rally against teaching bans.”

Media Advisory Template

For Immediate Release—(Insert date)


SATURDAY: Local educators hold rally to “Teach Truth” about U.S. history and defend LGBTQ+ rights


    • Educators and community members are gathering to say that young people need to learn the truth about U.S. history in order to shape a more just future.
    • The event comes as lawmakers in at least 44 states attempt to ban lessons about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other oppressions. Lawmakers are also banning books and taking action against trans students.
    • Educators pledge to continue teaching students critical thinking skills that develop problem-solving and collective solutions. 


    • If you are having speakers, LIST KEY SPEAKERS HERE, BY NAME AND AFFILIATION.


    • (date)
    • LIST START TIME HERE and time zone.


      • Note why the site was selected — historical significance


    • Lawmakers in at least 44 states are attempting to pass legislation that would require teachers to lie to their students about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and oppression in U.S. history. 
    • Proposed legislation in Missouri is typical of many of these bills, failing to name inaccuracies or misleading information in banned curricula.
    • Not acknowledging the country’s actual history, including racism and other oppression, is deception, not education.
    • Educators pledging to “Teach Truth” know the power of knowledge to create a more just society.

# # # 






Media Release Template

For Immediate Release—June (insert date), 2024

Educators rally at LOCATION with pledge to ‘Teach Truth’

CITY OR TOWN NAME—Educators [or CONCERNED COMMUNITY MEMBERS FROM # SCHOOLS OR DISTRICTS IF KNOWN] will rally [or host an information table] today at LOCATION to defend teaching truthfully and the rights of LGBTQ+ students

The Teach Truth campaign is an urgent call to support the honest and inclusive education students deserve. Children’s future depends on what they learn today.

However, across the country, legislatures have passed laws and policies to criminalize teaching honestly about U.S. history and to restrict students’ ability to ask questions and engage in critical thinking. The law’s chilling effect reaches classrooms nationwide. Textbooks and high-stakes testing have also long distorted curricula.

This climate of silence leads to an increase in racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and homophobia. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, Palestinian, and LGBTQ+ writers are being banned by the same forces passing laws against voting rights, gun reform, trans rights, climate justice, and more.

Together we will make our voices heard in defense of the freedom to learn.


The event will take place at LOCATION and TIME.


Similar measures have been introduced in Missouri, Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Arizona, North Carolina, and more states. [REMOVE YOUR STATE FROM THIS LIST]. Many have targeted such curricula offered by the New York Times 1619 Project, Southern Poverty Law Center, Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project

Educators in YOUR TOWN OR COUNTY OR STATE are asking how they can teach their students honestly without looking at the historical roots of today’s inequality. 


# # # 






Additional Resources

Teach Truth Syllabus Examples of lessons that are criminalized by many of the anti-CRT and other laws against teaching about systemic racism.

Right-Wing Campaign to Block Teaching for Social Justice A collection of key articles on the anti-history education laws.

Background Reading on Anti-CRT and Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws A compilation of articles and interviews that provide useful background information and analysis on the right’s strategy, funding, and how to respond.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Statement In defense of teaching honestly in Florida and around the United States.

We Make the Future: Messaging Guide and Digital Toolkit: Freedom To Learn Research based guidance on language to use and free graphics.

Understanding the Attacks on Teaching: A Background Brief for Educators and Leaders A detailed, clearly written brief prepared by Kevin Kumashiro and signed by dozens of organizations.

Making History Matter: From Abstract Truth to Critical Engagement A communications toolkit from the American Association for State and Local History to facilitate more effective communication with the public about history: why it matters, how it can be interpreted, and why it is important to incorporate critical thinking and a multitude of diverse perspectives in the ways we understand it.

Don’t forget to check out the graphics!

Let us know if you need additional support or resources. 

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