Black History Month has always had its detractors. Since its widespread emergence in America’s schools in the 1970s, there have been people scattered across the country who despise that children in their communities have a designated opportunity to learn about the resistance, resilience and remarkable talents of Black Americans. But it was never a nationwide movement — until now.

From parents citing Black History Month as “critical race theory” to school districts banning books about racism — including a book by Ruby Bridges, who at 6 years old became the first Black child to integrate an elementary school in the South — it is clear that there’s an outspoken and determined movement afoot to erase the profound impact of Black Americans in U.S. history.

PEN America has laid out the numerous educational gag orders being pushed forth by state legislatures and school boards in this excellent op-ed that highlights how Black History Month is under attack.

As someone who can still remember how validating and inspiring it felt to finally see myself represented among the historical heroes and story book characters we covered in class, I worry how today’s students must feel: “What’s scary about learning about people who look like me?”

I ask that those of you who support the celebration of Black History Month speak up.

Don’t allow a loud, radical minority dictate what is taught in our nation’s public schools. If you value public education and believe a quality public education includes learning the truth about our country’s history of racism, slavery, and the civil rights movement — and not just during Black History Month, speak up.

What I always loved most about Black History Month was how it wasn’t just the history of violence and struggle. It was about celebrating art, scientific advancements, music, literature, and telling the full history of people who looked like me. All students benefit from that. 

With all that public school teachers have endured these past two years, you would hope that politicians would be doing whatever possible to provide more support and encouragement. Instead, in many places across the U.S., teachers are under attack.

Recent public opinion research conducted by SurveyUSA, an independent research firm, and commissioned by Stand for Children, shows how the onslaught of partisan political attacks against educators threatens to push many out of the profession and worsen our nation’s teacher shortage.

pie graph title reads "nearly 3 in 10 teachers say they may leave the profession in the next year" graph highlights 29% of the pie graph in yellow with a key that reads "likely or very likely"

Among the findings in the SurveyUSA national teacher survey:

  • 37% of teachers say a push for laws that prevent honest teaching and conversations in their classrooms would make them more likely to leave teaching at the end of this school year.
  • 92% say students should be able to learn about historical truths, even when they are uncomfortable.
  • 94% say schools should ensure that no students feel unsafe, invisible, or unheard.

Make no mistake: This calculated effort to silence, vilify and demoralize public school teachers has an endgame: to decimate public education as we know it. To block certain students from gaining access to knowledge, and thus, to upward mobility. To destroy long-standing, trusted relationships between home and school.

We are not backing down from this fight because we understand the immeasurable value of public education. We hope you will continue standing with us.

Please take a moment to read the survey findings to hear more about how America’s teachers are feeling right now.

I go to a small high school in a rural town in Washington. Most of my peers — about 85% — are white. When I get the opportunity to learn about Black history — when I hear about Maya Angelou or Zora Neale Hurston – I genuinely get excited. It’s my chance to learn about role models who look like me and have gone through similar experiences to me.

All students deserve to see themselves reflected in their schools and their curriculum. That’s why Stand for Children is striving to make racial equity a reality in public education by ensuring that students have access to an accurate, fact-based account of U.S. history and diverse perspectives in their classrooms.

Please consider donating to Stand today to support this important work.

It was only a few years ago when people didn’t really speak about racism and historical injustices very openly. I wasn’t being exposed to Black authors in school, but fortunately, things have changed. I can’t imagine not being able to talk about these issues, or read Black authors, or learn about the experiences of other cultures in the U.S. It would just be so one-sided. It would just be fake.

This censorship sounds dystopian, but it’s crazy because that’s what’s happening in certain states in the U.S. What’s the point of getting an education if you’re only getting one small fraction of it?

All students benefit when they have access to an accurate representation of history and how it manifests today. If you agree, please consider supporting Stand for Children this giving season and be part of the movement for racial equity in public education.

As a student in the 1980s, I never imagined that the history lessons I received at my well-regarded high school omitted important portions of our country’s past. But that is indeed what happened.

Filling in these missing pieces decades later as an adult left me feeling disappointed in my history education and with the realization that I had been making assumptions about the world around me from a historical knowledge base with gaping holes.

Now as a parent and community member, I understand two things: First that teaching an honest and complete account of our country’s history is essential. It’s essential to achieving our goals of helping children become adults who can think critically and who won’t repeat the mistakes of the past. And second, we can’t assume that our local schools are teaching a full and truthful history. It’s up to us as parents and community members to tell our local school boards and superintendents that we do not want our children to receive a partial or cherry-picked history of our country.

That’s why I am grateful for the Learn from History Coalition. I appreciate knowing I’m not alone, that people and groups from across Illinois and across the country are working together and sharing ideas to support our schools in teaching the kind of history that will prepare our students for the world they will enter and one day lead.

I will keep doing this work because I don’t want today’s students to become adults and wonder what they are missing, as I did.

I hope you will join us.

Learn more about the Learn From History Coalition, including how you can get involved, at

As a school trustee, I participate in the governance of an incredibly diverse district in San Antonio, Texas – rich with tremendous cultural wealth. I appreciate Learn from History’s work to ensure that all students are taught an accurate and thorough history to ensure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. And that requires that we teach all of our history, both the triumphs and the tragedies.

While serving, I have engaged with parents and guardians on both sides of the discussion who have bonafide concerns and fears. I can relate as a parent to three exceptional children. Unfortunately, we have been put in these challenging positions by policymakers who focus more on the outcomes of their elections rather than the outcomes of students. It should go without saying, but all students deserve a rich academic experience.

I am also a firm believer in educating parents and guardians to ensure issue distortion and misinformation don’t blind them to the realities of what balanced, responsible, and age-appropriate classroom discussions can be when talking about fact-based history with our children. I think one of the best ways to do that is through sharing your story so we can get past the rhetoric and be reminded of what we have in common — that we all want what is best for students.

That’s why I’m sharing my story and am asking you to share your story too.

Having support from the Learn from History coalition has motivated me to be more proactive as an advocate for this issue and help bring others along. Dozens of teachers, students, and parents have spoken up about how this issue is affecting them. But we know they aren’t the only ones out there.

I hope you’ll share your story today and take a stand for students’ right to a high-quality education.

Recently, loud and powerful voices have claimed that teaching about race, racism, and antiracism in schools is divisive. We have found the opposite to be true.

Honest conversations about our country’s history and present are the best way to heal, foster understanding and create the future all students deserve. Now, more than ever, we need to remain connected to one another as we press forward on our antiracist educator journey. 

We developed the Summer Conversations experience to help you and your professional learning community understand what it means to be an antiracist educator and how to move forward. We know our antiracist future depends on what and how students learn today. 

Please check it out, gather your people, and register today to receive all the materials you need.

research analysis released this week by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University speaks to the positive impact the Home Visit Project (recently renamed as Home Visit Partnerships) has on student attendance, educator-family communication, and student engagement. Home visits are a family engagement strategy that typically involve teachers visiting students at their homes and creating open channels of communication between educators, families, and students. This study observed the outcomes of visits by teachers to the homes of their students during the 2019-2020 academic year, and was made possible by a generous grant from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund – Communities Foundation of Texas.

The study involved 580 teachers in five Texas school districts – the Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Dallas, Fort Worth, Hurst-Euless-Bedford, and Richardson Independent School Districts. Researchers identified these key findings: 

  • Participation in the Home Visit Project reduced students’ chronic absenteeism, particularly among early elementary students.
  • Participation in the Home Visit Project improved teachers’ connections with their students and students’ families.
  • Teachers feel home visits improved students’ engagement and achievement.
  • Participation in the Home Visit Project made teachers feel more confident in the ability of students to grow.
  • Parents and students who participated in the Home Visit Project had overwhelmingly positive experiences. 

Researchers conducting the study underscored the particular impact that home visits had on students and their families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: “We also found that despite the interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic on home visit implementation during the spring of 2020, that early elementary school students receiving home visits were significantly less likely to be chronically absent than their non-visited peers. The disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic has left many students disconnected from school and has resulted in higher rates of chronic absenteeism across the country; this study suggests home visits could be an impactful approach to improve student-school relationships and engagement in the coming recovery years.” 

The Home Visit Project began in 2015 when a group of Stand for Children Texas educator fellows identified authentic family engagement as their top need to better support students. After much observation, listening, and learning within the program, especially while navigating the past year, it was clear how important partnerships are between educators and families and how success is based on those partnerships. The Home Visit Project team therefore made the decision to officially change the program’s name to Home Visit Partnerships. 

May is Teacher Appreciation Month, and after all the sacrifices and ever-evolving adjustments teachers have made to ensure their students keep learning during the pandemic, I hope everyone will take a moment to reflect and say thank you. 

If there’s an educator you want to acknowledge, write a short thank you note with this form and Stand for Children will share it on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

I see what the educators with Home Visit Project have done this past year, taking time outside of their workday to make sure their students and students’ families have food and access to information about medical care and vaccines. As a former educator myself, let me assure you this: Teachers care.

The people who choose this profession — and those who have stuck with it during this pandemic — want the very best for their students. It’s why they quickly modified all their lesson plans to be suitable for video conferences. It’s why some ventured back into the classroom, even before vaccines were widely available, to serve students who needed in-person instruction. It’s why they are texting, calling and emailing families every day to ask how they’re really holding up through all this and if they need anything.

Please take the opportunity today to thank an educator, either someone currently teaching or someone who influenced you in your past.