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Cathy Ahrens, a social studies teacher at Bettendorf High School, sent an email to legislators on Friday, Feb. 19 at 3:28 p.m. to express her disgust with House File 222, a bill that would defund schools if they choose to teach The New York Times’ 1619 Project as history curriculum.

The 1619 Project has come under fire from historians on all sides for its factual inaccuracies.

Nonetheless, Ahrens wrote to legislators explaining she is in her 30th year teaching American History and AP American Government.

“Representative Wheeler (author of the bill), it seems you could have used some more time in my classroom or another one like it, considering the legislation you have recently sponsored,” Ahrens wrote. “Shame on you for somehow thinking being more ignorant of our history involving race would somehow improve our society.

“Shame on you for thinking our youth can not be improved by a greater depth of knowledge, even in uncomfortable history. We learn history so that we are not destined to repeat it. Your effort to prevent such instruction — is it so that we can more easily rob minorities of their rightful place, earned by their own abilities and merit? My students see this effort for what it is — and others do too. If you move fast and focus on only the echo chamber of sycophants who feel threatened by ‘the others,’ maybe you can get this legislation passed for now. But legislation like this, and your effort to limit voting, will not last long. People are waking up to speak out against hate and ignorance, or have you been living under a rock? Change is coming.”

The email was sent from Ahrens’ school email account. The school was in session on Friday until 3:20 p.m. Ahrens sent the email eight minutes later.

Author: Jacob Hall