New Hub Provides Lesson Plans and Tools for Teaching History and Current Events About Race and Gender in Today’s Classroom Censorship Climate

(August 1, 2022) In statehouses across the country, opponents of public education seek to censor teacher speech, limit what students can say and learn about racism and current events, and whitewash history. But as IDRA’s new We All Belong – School Resource Hub shows, these forces will not prevail. Educators are committed to serving their students well by strengthening education, not watering it down or hiding from the truth.

IDRA’s new resource hub is designed for educators, families and policy advocates, particularly in the U.S. South, who want to make sure students receive a strong, truthful education in our public schools. It provides lesson plans for all grades, instructional best practices, historical resources, policy updates and data maps to support educators and advocates in promoting culturally-sustaining schools and fighting harmful censorship policies.

“Students need to learn truthful accounts about our nation’s history and current events, make connections between past and present, and be able to think critically so they can succeed in college and beyond,” said Celina Moreno, J.D., IDRA President and CEO.

Since the wave of states’ classroom censorship policies, IDRA has conducted surveys and focus groups with educators and students on these policies’ impact.

Over 89% of educators reported they received no guidance about complying with classroom censorship laws from their district or professional teacher groups, and 58% of educators reported negative impacts on restricted classroom discussions, curriculum and content selection. However, nearly two thirds said their students specifically request lessons on race, history, current events and forms of discrimination they experience.

IDRA’s new resource hub is designed to answer these needs by providing resources to ensure educators feel supported in their work and help students explore the historical and current impact of issues they and their communities face.

The over 70 resources to date include:

  • A new sample lesson plan, The Real World: Understanding the Difference Education Makes, offers middle school students an opportunity to understand how college is linked to higher weekly incomes and how income impacts an individual’s quality of life. Students use weekly income for different racial groups with different levels of education to complete a budget for housing, transportation, food and entertainment. This lesson was developed for IDRA by Dr. Kelly Ferguson and Dr. Marlon James of the Equality and Equity Group, LLC.
  • A sample curated lesson features Charlotta Spears Bass, a crusading newspaper editor and politician who was one of the first Black women to own and operate a newspaper in the United States. This lesson is from the Unladylike2020 series of 26 short films and a one-hour documentary profiling diverse and little-known U.S. women from the turn of the 20th century, and contemporary women who follow in their footsteps. IDRA is partnering with Unladylike2020 to expand access to its lessons in English and Spanish.

IDRA is continually adding lesson plans and resources to the site, which educators can find through search filters by subject, topic, resource type and grade. IDRA also offers training for educators on using the hub and walking through featured lessons.

The We All Belong – School Resource Hub is generously supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.

The hub has a Translate feature (in the lower right corner).