Let teachers teach fairness, diversity without barriers
The mission of Racial unity team is to “advance relationships between people of different racial identities, increase understanding and reduce racial prejudice in our communities.” Fostering a peaceful, loving and humanitarian view of the world is at the heart of our mission. Inherent in this, we focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DCIJ) work within public schools.
What does this mean in class? We live in a diverse, complex and often inequitable world. In order to help students effectively understand this world, educators must be free and encouraged to guide them in a critical and comprehensive examination of our history. Our schools should not only enable, but also inspire careful and honest study of history and culture.
The United States as a whole has much to be proud of, but where we stand today makes it clear that the United States has never faced the entirety of this story directly. While we have collectively and systematically highlighted remarkable achievements, such as the elaboration of the Bill of Rights and the defeat of Axis powers during WWII, our society and its institutions have often chosen to prioritize the denial rather than historical correctness, despite the available evidence of historical facts. He made this choice in relation to the causes of the civil war, to the way in which we frame the âdiscoveryâ and the colonization of the land, to the way in which we choose to remember our founding fathers.
Diversity, equity, inclusion and justice:The director of SAU 16 explains what role is and is not.
But who has traditionally had the power to decide what is included in our history versus what is excluded? Our schools need a curriculum that ensures an inclusive and accurate history that is consistent with actual historical experience. Discomfort, guilt, even shame, can be a learner’s response to these historical facts, just as celebration and admiration can be responses to positive historical achievements. Both answers are legitimate in the schooling process. And regardless of their curriculum choices, schools must embrace and uphold both intellectual honesty and respect for all available evidence.
The Racial Unit team supports educators in their efforts to address issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in their classroom. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, teaching our complex history. Although sections of the âRight to Non-Discrimination in the Workplace and in Educationâ (297-298, NH House Bill 2) do not prohibit this work, the narrative among conservative groups and in some of the mainstream media is that they do. Despite what is actually written in the law, the reality is that these provisions discourage careful consideration of historical and current discriminatory practices within our schools and our society.
What HB2 prohibits is teaching that any individual or group of individuals is inherently superior or inferior to people of another group. While not taught in our public schools, the bans on HB2, along with the inaccurate narrative perpetuated by those who wish to delegitimize public schools, have created fear and confusion among educators as to how and what to do with it. ‘they can teach, while encouraging complaints against them. that endanger their licenses and their careers.
The Racial Unity team expressly denounces the actions of those, including those working at the state level, who have created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation among teachers, who respond by suppressing concepts and conversations that can shed light on harmful historical policies and practices. This atmosphere creates a barrier to provide students with a school experience that reflects the DEIJ principles as well as a comprehensive education for protected classes of people. We support efforts to overturn these legislative measures.
Ken Mendis is the president of the racial unity team. The Racial Unity Team is a racial justice organization that identifies and works to dismantle systemic and individual racism.