Defend Teachers Who Pledge to Teach Truth

At a Georgia #TeachTruth teach-in, Decatur High School graduation coach Jennifer Young invited people to write on the sidewalk. Young said, “What we would love for you to do is cover the sidewalk with whatever you learned today, because that’s not being taught in your school and it can be taught in the Square. The reason we are using chalk today is because this is just like history. If we’re not careful, it can all get washed away.” Photo by Dean Hesse.

We posted this last summer in response to the bills against teaching honestly about history. The same suggestions apply for responding to the book bans.

We encourage everyone to speak out in defense of teachers who pledge to teach outside the textbook. We need to ensure that children learn the truth about history and to think for themselves so that they can shape a more just future.

In the wake of the rebellion in the summer of 2020, an increasing number of teachers committed to teach the history of racism and resistance.

The right is trying to suppress that initiative and legislate a return to a white supremacist curriculum. This is related to the increased voter suppression legislation and how election officials are being bullied and terrorized for simply doing their job. Now, they are coming for teachers.

The right wing is filling the airwaves with “anti-CRT” messages and teachers are being harassed and their jobs threatened.

Your expressions about why teaching the truth matters can provide critically needed moral support to teachers and students in this time. Let legislators know that this well-funded rightwing hate campaign is outnumbered by the people in support of truth telling. 

These teachers need your support.

We encourage you to testify at school board meetings, write letters to the editor, and use your social media platform.


We urgently need to turn up for school board races. Each vote truly makes a difference. Across the country, the statewide anti-history education attacks on teachers and students have been joined by a concerted, Koch funded effort to take over school boards. 

Those of us who know the importance of truth-telling in schools do not have the massive funding that the right receives. However, we do have the numbers. We need to put those numbers into action in defense of teachers and in defense of young people learning from history to shape a better future. Turn out to vote, testify, and consider running for school board. Read more.


Here are ideas for social media. 

Post a short video (1-2 minutes) using any of the suggestions below or add your own. When posting on social media, use: #TeachTruth so that we see and amplify your message.

Shout outs for teachers who refuse to be bullied and have pledged to #TeachTruth 

Explain what this issue means to you. (We offer sample messages and soundbites further below that you can feel free to draw from.) 

A response to one of these prompts:

When I was in school, I wish I was taught ______

I learned ____ in school. If this legislation passes, children will not learn this and so much more.

I want my children to learn __________. 


We offer graphics that you can use as is or customize. Click each image to find dozens more. Or make your own!

Support Graphics

Click the image to find many more, including messages of support for teachers from students, clergy, and family.


Story Prompts

Click the images to find a variety of wonderful story prompts produced by EJ-ROC at NYU Metro Center.


Here are suggestions for your social media messages. These are from the Guide to Counter-Narrating the Attacks on Critical Race Theory by our partners at Race Forward.

  • We all deserve an honest education about racism in this country
  • Systemic racism is real
  • Learning about the history of race and how it informs our present helps us all become wiser and stronger
  • Politicians are using a caricature of critical race theory to rob us of our history and the knowledge to solve our biggest challenges
  • Addressing the harmful impact of systemic racism will benefit us all
  • Systemic racism describes how laws and institutions (e.g., schools, hospitals, workplaces, etc.) have discriminated against people of color, whether intentionally or not
  • Systemic racism explains the differences in opportunities and outcomes across race
  • There is no way to understand the profound inequality of wealth in the United States without looking at this country’s history of racism
  • We solve problems by having honest and courageous conversations about them — and then taking action
  • We value an honest education about race and racism in this country.
  • It may be easier to deny or avoid our challenges, but that is never how we overcome them
  • Every day, more and more people living in this country are beginning to understand that systemic racism is a major problem
  • Learning about systemic racism — within our neighborhoods, in our schools, and in our workplaces – is the first step in healing our divisions so that we can solve problems that harm us
  • Systemic racism describes how laws and institutions, whether intentionally or not, work to the detriment of people of color
  • We resist attempts to distort the truth and rob us of our history. Learning about the history of race and how it impacts our present helps us all grow stronger, wiser, and more able to solve our current-day problems
  • Having honest and courageous conversations about systemic racism helps us achieve the promise of racial equity
  • We achieve racial equity when a person’s race no longer determines the opportunities in their life; because of systemic racism, it often does, to the detriment of us all
  • Advancing racial equity will benefit us all, strengthening our neighborhoods, our cities, and our states


Anti-History Education Campaign

  • Today, some politicians want to ban the conversations about race we are having in classrooms, workplaces, and in government
  • State legislatures across the country have either introduced or passed bills to ban these conversations. These bills are a copycat of Trump’s Executive Order in 2020 banning “diversity” training in federal government agencies
  • These attacks use a caricature of critical race theory to distract and divide us from addressing real problems in our society. Instead of supporting people after a devastating pandemic, they are wasting time trying to ban conversations about systemic racism – conversations that would actually help us unite to solve our country’s biggest challenges
  • The timing of the attack on critical race theory is telling. In our fall Rethinking Schools editorial we write, “They are attacking critical race theory as both cover and justification for the wave of voter suppression bills making their way through state legislatures across the country. This attack on critical race theory is part of a broad, coordinated effort to thwart a multiracial democracy.”
  • They want to distort the truth and sanitize history at a time when awareness of systemic racism is growing as a result of the historic uprisings in response to the murder of George Floyd 
  • They insist that talking about race is “divisive,” but that is a lie designed to rob us of our history and deny us the knowledge that will help us unite to build a more just and inclusive world – a world in which one’s race does not limit your opportunity and achievements in life
  • These attacks draw from the oldest playbook in U.S. politics. Politicians use fear of people of color, immigrants, or LGBTQ people to breed resentment so that they can retain power and dominance at a time when a multiracial, pluralistic majority is emerging in this country



  • We know better than to give into lies that prevent us from learning our country’s true racial history and how it shapes our lives today
  • History shows that when we work together across our differences, we accomplish great things for ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our children
  • History also shows that every time we made progress on race as a country, there has been a backlash. These attacks are in response to a growing movement of people who want to play their part in addressing systemic racism
  • We must not be “colorblind” to the reality of systemic racism. Instead, we must be “race-conscious” in our efforts to understand and fix our country’s problems. That means directly addressing the harm that systemic racism has caused to people of color
  • There is benefit for everyone in addressing systemic racism. By having honest and courageous conversations about systemic racism, people of all backgrounds have come to a deeper understanding of themselves, developed stronger connections with their neighbors, and have found purpose in doing their part to build a more fair and inclusive world 
  • As these attacks against discussing race continue and escalate, now is a vital time to express our support of learning about systemic racism — in our neighborhoods, classrooms, and workplaces


Make a donation so that we can continue to defends teachers and provide resources to teach people’s history.

Thank you for supporting the right to #TeachTruth.

One comment on “Defend Teachers Who Pledge to Teach Truth

  1. esther kingston-mann on

    One of the most politically empowering and transformative assignments I devised at UMassBoston was a history research project that required my racially diverse, working class students to interview Afghan (or Iraqi) war veterans over the course of the semester.
    Together, we discussed assigned readings that focused on both wars. We devised interview questions, and later brainstormed together about the issues and questions that arose during the interviews. Their interview findings were bound together in a packet, which became the basis for their research papers. A strength of this project for these predominantly working class and racially diverse students was that I (the professor) was not telling them what they should be finding; they were instead attempting to tell the untold story of the vets they interviewed. Many of them discovered that “their” vets had never before spoken to anyone about the war. The research project was enlightening and empowering both for the student interviewers and the interviewees –and for me. I have since published several books about transformative pedagogy

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