When it comes to teaching about race and history, American classrooms are at a crossroads. What can we learn from Germany’s post-war path?
How do you teach about a country’s sins?
Many American teachers and students say it’s time to learn about our country’s legacy of racism. But some conservatives are calling these lessons indoctrination. They’ve co-opted a new label for those discussions: critical race theory.
Now, Republican politicians in Kentucky and many other states are trying to reign in classroom conversations on race.
At least nine states have already banned teachers from bringing up certain topics around race. Another five have state-level action around this issue. Even more have legislation in the works, including Kentucky.
But the U.S. isn’t the only country with an unsettling history to deal with.
In Germany, students are required to learn about one of their nation’s darkest chapters — the Holocaust.
In WFPL’s “A Critical Moment,” Arts and Culture Reporter Stephanie Wolf explores how the Holocaust is covered in German schools, and Education and Learning Reporter Jess Clark looks at how race is covered in Kentucky classrooms.
The result is an unflinching look at how two countries teach about their difficult histories, and why.
Listen to “A Critical Moment”:
Listen live on January 29 at noon, on 89.3 WFPL, or streaming at wfpl.org.
Some of these so-called “anti-critical race theory” bills attack a body of work from the New York Times called “The 1619 Project.” So we spoke to its creator, Nikole Hannah-Jones, for this documentary. Here’s an excerpt:
- Fact Check: 3 Common Claims About Critical Race Theory
- How anti-Semitic conspiracies drive violent attacks and harm democracy
- 80 Years Ago the Nazis Planned the ‘Final Solution.’ It Took 90 Minutes.
- These Louisville Students Want Classes That Reflect Their Own History
- The 1619 Project
- Grundschule Am Teutoburger Platz: a student-produced podcast telling stories of the people memorialized by Stolperstein stones
- House Bill 18, Kentucky General Assembly
- McConnell: ‘Exotic Notion’ That The Start Of American Slavery Is Important
- Ky. students rally against bills limiting how teachers talk about race
- Republicans advance bill shifting hiring, curriculum power away from school councils
- Lawmaker Files Bill Requiring Schools To Teach History Of Racism
Support for this story was provided, in part, by the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence.