The Zinn Education Project has a pledge online that it hopes teachers will sign. It states that the signers will violate the law, if that law prohibits the teaching of Critical Race Theory, which is a broad-stroke description of teachings many parents feel amount to radical revisionism.
Alaska educators are among those signing the pledge, even though there is no Alaska law prohibiting Critical Race Theory being used in the classroom, and in fact Anchorage School District has essentially approved the curriculum.
CRT is an indoctrination program to label all whites as racist and the nation as systemically racist, sexist, and homophobic, rather than the learning, growing, changing, and largely tolerant society that it is.
The theory is being pushed by radicals across the country into classrooms of children as young as kindergarten age, where white children are being discriminated against as they are told they cannot help but be racist since they are white and therefore privileged.
Named after Howard Zinn, a controversial radical historian and anti-American, the pledge reads simply that teachers will not lie about history, which on its face seems benign.
But the pledge pretends that it’s about historical truth, rather than Critical Race Theory. It supports the false narrative of the New York Times 1619 Project, which seeks to distort the historical record. One has to dig deeper in the narrative to see what is occurring.
Several Alaska teachers have signed the pledge, and they are listed at the bottom of this story.
A teacher from Buffalo, New York commented, along with his signature, that “I never learned in school that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves with the sole intention to use them for the war, and then send them off to Liberia. That whole part of history never existed in my classroom. Why was that left out?”
A teacher from Virginia wrote, “Racism is real today and can be traced back to the foundation of the United States which was built on white supremacist ideas. More information about this historical truth leads to action, not guilt.”
And a teacher from San Diego, California commented, “Students deserve to know that biology does not work the way conservative, far-right members of the legislature claim it works. They are wrong about race, sexual identity, sexual preference, how women’s reproductive organs work, global climate change, the need for regulations and oversight for pollution, and many other things.”
Here’s the narrative that the teachers are signing onto:
Lawmakers in at least 21 states are attempting to pass legislation that would require teachers to lie to students about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and oppression throughout U.S. history.
A bill introduced in the Missouri legislature exemplifies a rash of similar bills — in Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Arizona, North Carolina, and more states — that aim to prohibit teachers from teaching the truth about this country: It was founded on dispossession of Native Americans, slavery, structural racism and oppression; and structural racism is a defining characteristic of our society today.
Specifically, the Missouri bill bans teaching that: identifies people or groups of people, entities, or institutions in the United States as inherently, immutably, or systemically sexist, racist, anti-LGBT, bigoted, biased, privileged, or oppressed.
But how can one teach honestly about the nature of our society without examining how today’s racial inequality is a systemic legacy of this country’s history?
From police violence, to the prison system, to the wealth gap, to maternal mortality rates, to housing, to education and beyond, the major institutions and systems of our country are deeply infected with anti-Blackness and its intersection with other forms of oppression. To not acknowledge this and help students understand the roots of U.S. racism is to deceive them — not educate them. This history helps students understand the roots of inequality today and gives them the tools to shape a just future. It is not just a history of oppression, but also a history of how people have organized and created coalitions across race, class, and gender.
The Missouri bill names these leading social justice education groups as those whose curricula would be banned: 1619 Project initiative of the New York Times, the Learning for Justice Curriculum of the Southern Poverty Law Center, We Stories, programs of Educational Equity Consultants, BLM at School, Teaching for Change, Zinn Education Project, and any other similar, predecessor, or successor curricula.
The proposed legislation fails to name a single lesson that is inaccurate or that misleads students about U.S. history.
We the undersigned educators will not be bullied. We will continue our commitment to develop critical thinking that supports students to better understand problems in our society, and to develop collective solutions to those problems. We are for truth-telling and uplifting the power of organizing and solidarity that move us toward a more just society.
The Alaska teachers who have so far signed the pledge include:
Dr Paula Williams, Heidi Northover, Lyn Franks (running for House District 15), Megan McBride, Michelle Wagner, Rozlyn Grady-Wyche, Toni Biskup
Eagle River, Ak
Danyelle Kimp (running for House District 13), Mary Richards