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Documentarian aims to encourage educators after state law could chill teaching some topics

Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 11:01 PM CDT
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - Teachers and students took part in a documentary being produced by a former Waterloo Schools history teacher, which he hopes will embolden educators to teach the truth.

“What they are going to hear is that they expect the truth to be taught in their particular building,” Denny McCabe, the one producing the film, said.

McCabe said the project was a direct response to a new state law, passed by Republicans, which banned the teaching of certain topics considered “race or sex scapegoating.” He worried this was only the beginning and that teachers might fear what can and can’t be taught in their classrooms.

“Even if the state doesn’t pass or enforce it, I’m afraid that teachers will feel censored,” McCabe said. “Especially when it comes to teaching some of the uncomfortable aspects of American History.”

“Certain things about Native Americans, the true history, there were things that happened in WWI and WWII that we were never told about,” Dennis Carlson said.

Carlson was a longtime friend of McCabe’s and the photographer for the piece. By putting the video out near the beginning of school, he wanted to embolden teachers to continue teaching the truth, even if those truths were uncomfortable.

“In my mind, you cannot teach an honest version of American History without including the topic of race,” McCabe said. “This legislation was going to have a chilling effect. There’s that will shy away from it and things won’t get taught.”

McCabe said the video was expected to be completed by September.

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