This Black History Month, many teachers are bracing for a chill wind as states and school districts across the country pass bans on so-called “critical race theory.” Many wonder if they’ll be penalized simply for teaching history or inviting  reflection on it.

This week in OtherWords, Tracey L. Rogers explains why those bans make Black History Month so important this year — not only for Black Americans, but for white Americans too. We need to reckon with our country’s history honestly, she argues, so we can make it work better for all us.

Of course, that’s not the only ban classrooms are grappling with.

A Tennessee school board recently banned Maus, a popular graphic novel about the Holocaust, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Reminding us that the Holocaust itself began with book burnings, Olivia Alperstein makes the case for teaching, reading, and sharing banned books.

Also this week, Sonali Kolhatkar says that if the federal government can fund treatment and prevention for COVID-19, it should do the same for other diseases. Julie Hollar reports on the GOP pulling out of future presidential debates and reflects on the party’s authoritarian turn. And cartoonist Khalil Bendib chuckles at employers who won’t pay a market wage complaining about “communism.”

New This Week…

This Black History Month, Don’t Ban Our History — Teach It | Tracey L. Rogers
As politicians ban books and courses, this Black History Month seems especially significant.

Banned Books Should Be Required Reading | Olivia Alperstein
The people who want to ban Maus or The 1619 Project are the ones who need to read them.

This Pandemic Showed the Benefits of Universal Health Care | Sonali Kolhatkar
The government saved lives by covering COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatment. What if treated other diseases this way?

Presidential Debates May Be a Thing of the Past | Julie Hollar
But with much of the GOP embracing lies and authoritarianism, that might be a good thing.

Now Hiring… Or Not | Khalil Bendib
How funny that employers who won’t pay a market wage are complaining about “communism.”

In Case You Missed It…

Why Are We Torching Our Best Tool to End Child Poverty? | Clara Moore
My daughter and I were on the verge of homelessness before the Child Tax Credit. What’s going to happen to vulnerable families now?

The Filibuster Is Busted. Time to Scrap It. | Robert P. Alvarez
Letting small minorities of senators block things most Americans support delivers obstruction, not bipartisanship

To Protect Women’s Health, Pass the Equal Rights Amendment | Martha Burk
The Supreme Court may soon overturn half a century of legal precedent on abortion. Here’s one idea to protect their rights.

My Disabled Life Is Worthy | Olivia Alperstein
The loss of disabled and chronically ill lives due to COVID-19 is no less tragic or preventable.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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