US teachers’ union pledges legal action to protect educators from GOP attacks on critical race theory

‘Distorting history and threatening educators for teaching the truth is what is truly radical and wrong,’ Randi Weingarten says

Louise Hall
Wednesday 07 July 2021 14:15
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Donald Trump slams 'woke' generals for embracing critical race theory

Amid an ongoing culture war against critical race theory, the president of one of the largest teachers unions in the US has vowed to protect educators' ability to teach “honest history”.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), made the impassioned comments during a conference for union members on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.

During the remarks, Ms Weingarten insisted the union would “defend any member who gets in trouble for teaching honest history”, the Associated Press reported.

As many as six states have passed laws limiting how race should be taught in schools in recent months, implementing bans on critical race theory and related topics.

The Post said Ms Weingarten noted the organisation is already “preparing for litigation [to counter these laws] as we speak”.

The newspaper said she conveyed that the AFT had a “legal-defence fund ready to go” and was willing to take such action to protect their members.

She said that “culture warriors are labeling any discussion of race, racism or discrimination as [critical race theory] to try to make it toxic”.

Ms Weingarten reportedly added: “They are bullying teachers and trying to stop us from teaching students accurate history.”

Critical race theory has prompted fierce discussion in recent weeks with conservatives and members of the GOP condemning any curriculum that focuses on America’s dark history of slavery and racism.

The framework examines the concept of structural racism and considers that inequalities on the basis of race are fundamentally baked into the fabric of society.

The AFT president reportedly said that the theory itself is only taught in law school and college, but that critics are attempting to limit more general lessons on racism and discrimination under its guise.

Conservative media outlets such as Fox News and controversial GOP members have all rallied against the school of thought in recent weeks and offered support for Republican-led legislatures.

Bills passed in some other states threaten to fine individual teachers who violate the rules or reduce state funding to their schools.

However, Ms Weingarten insisted the union will work to protect educators. “We want our kids to have an education that imparts honesty about who we are,” she said according to The Post.

The president added: “We want to raise young people who can understand facts, study the truth, examine diverse perspectives and draw their own conclusions.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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