Melanie Hester could see her fifth graders were confused. A history lesson she was teaching about Native Americans asked the students to think about how they could honor the cultural history of the land where the United States now stands.
“Where are the Native Americans now?” her students wanted to know.
In the past, the Iowa City teacher would tell her class more about why Indian reservations were established, discuss the term genocide, and talk about what Native culture looks like today.
This time, she held back.
On her mind was a new Iowa law that restricts how schools can teach about topics like systemic racism and white privilege.
“That’s where I’m like, well, I’m not really sure how to answer that,” Hester said. “I kind of stuck to the lesson and if they didn’t understand, I just kept moving forward — which is not best practice.” Read more.