Letter: Support critical thinking

Published: 1/23/2022 7:01:21 AM
Modified: 1/23/2022 7:00:05 AM

As a NH citizen and former educator, I’m appalled that the sponsors of HB 1255 are using scare tactics to silence NH teachers. History education of any value involves classroom discussion that encourages students to consider the historical facts, analyze them, come to conclusions, and use this knowledge of history to construct a better future. The name for this is critical thinking. It’s what separates our system of education from that in a dictatorship where students are taught only what the ruling power wants them to believe. Teachers are already muzzled by last year’s law that prohibits teaching that slavery is wrong, in case some child in the dominant race might “feel bad.”

Teachers who encourage classroom discussions about racism are now targets for anyone wishing to report them. This new feature on the Department of Education website is reminiscent of witch hunts, which are also a shameful part of our history. If we believe in the equality of all people, as our Declaration of Independence came to be understood after the Revolutionary War, how can it be wrong to teach and discuss racism? HB 1255 would restrict teachers from covering our country’s unfortunate legacy in a legitimate way. It would restrict our youth from learning hard truths and gaining the ability to analyze our past to improve the future. I’m opposed to HB 1255 and urge House Education Committee members to carefully consider how this bill limits freedom of speech and our obligation to educate youth who can think for themselves.

Joyce Ray



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