You teach the truth. That’s what educators do.
Teaching truth is integral to giving our children and young people the tools to navigate the world and shape the future as adults. The factual history of the United States tells students where we’ve been, how we got there, and where we may be going. Educators teach about the greatness of our country and the times when it has not lived up to the promise of “we the people.”
In this way, educators help students learn our shared stories, our diverse and complex history. This includes helping them understand the roots of inequality today, as well as how people have organized and created coalitions across race, class and gender to confront injustice and build a more perfect union.
“Teaching all of our children — regardless of their race or ZIP code, whether Native or newcomer — means teaching them the truth,” wrote NEA President Becky Pringle in a recent opinion column. “We can teach about the horrors of slavery, internment and forced resettlement. We can have honest discussions about today’s injustices and the threats to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that still exist for many. We can objectively present to students the good, bad and ugly of our past so that they can build a better, brighter future.”
CTA has long advocated for honesty in education — specifically, exposing students to a culturally comprehensive education through ethnic studies. CTA is currently co-sponsoring AB 101 by Jose Medina (D-Riverside), a bill that would make completion of an ethnic studies course mandatory for high school graduation, starting in the 2025-26 school year.
“We have a duty to teach our students about their ancestral legacies and to celebrate them every day,” says CTA President E. Toby Boyd about AB 101. “Culture is essential in the fight for racial justice and equity.”
Unfortunately, multiple states and localities across the country have recently introduced or passed laws to bar teachers from speaking the truth about history and deny students the right to an honest education.
This runs counter to fundamental educator values. We must come together to speak out against such censorship and dishonesty. The stakes could not be higher: By teaching the truth, educators teach integrity in how we treat others and courage to do what’s right — the foundations of a truly democratic society.
Students need honesty and expect the truth from us, their educators.
Support Honesty in Education
Pledge to #TeachTruth. 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 the past and shape our future. Join us by signing the pledge at neaedjustice.org/honesty-in-education-pledge.