Tennessee teachers association sues state over curriculum restrictions around race

The Tennessee Education Association has filed a federal lawsuit against the state’s education department, challenging restrictions on curriculum related to race and gender in public schools.

The association, along with five Tennessee public school educators, argue that the policy banning certain concepts from the curriculum, including discussions on slavery, the Holocaust, and 9/11, hinders students’ ability to learn about “controversial” subjects. The lawsuit further claims that the law deprives students of essential information, critical thinking skills, and historical understanding, hindering civic education in a democratic system.

Tennessee enacted these restrictions in 2021 as part of a conservative-led movement to limit so-called “divisive” content in classrooms. Critics argue that the requirements are intentionally vague and subjective in order to scare teachers away from controversial topics as they are subject to legal action if found in violation. Proponents of the law say that such a law is necessary to prevent students from feeling guilt, blame, or shame.

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