As we begin 2021, we find it necessary to clarify what #DisruptTexts is—and is not.

As our mission statement says, #DisruptTexts is “a crowdsourced, grassroots effort by teachers for teachers to challenge the traditional canon in order to create a more inclusive, representative, and equitable language arts curriculum that our students deserve.” We believe that education, and literacy in particular, can be transformative. Through a more equitable curriculum and antiracist pedagogy, we believe that we can effect a more just world. All students deserve an education that is inclusive of the rich diversity of the human experience. They deserve one that introduces them to and affirms the voices both inside and outside their individual lives.

#DisruptTexts is led by four women educators of color who understand that liberatory work must be collective work. #DisruptTexts is based on decades of instructional expertise and rooted in the research of antiracist scholars, especially educators of color, who have come before us.

With more than 65 years of collective teaching experience, we are not distant from the reality facing schools, students, teachers, and families. Professionally, we work with teachers across the nation and abroad; personally, we are mothers and active citizens of our communities.

While we lead and organize this movement, #DisruptTexts is fueled by the hundreds of educators and co-conspirators who make up our community. We are grateful for and stand in solidarity with them.

The response to #DisruptTexts has been overwhelmingly positive, as teachers and schools have recognized their role in either maintaining or disrupting racism. That said, our work has also been met with pushback. We are open to critical and productive conversations, but we also find it necessary to address some common, and perhaps willful, misconceptions. (We have also added the following to our Mission page.)

  • We believe that literacy is liberation. By developing students’ literacy skills, we support their ability to critically read and navigate a democratic society. To be literate in today’s world, students must develop empathy and an understanding of a diversity of experiences.
  • We do not believe in censorship and have never supported banning books. To claim otherwise is outright false. It is a mischaracterization of our work made to more easily attack us, serve an agenda, and discredit the need for antiracist education. Teachers and schools determine curriculum for any number of reasons, and in fact, we know that censorship and banning efforts disproportionately hurts LGBTQIA+ authors and BIPoC authors are already underrepresented in the publishing industry.
  • We believe that literature provides access to a diversity of experiences by providing “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors” (Bishop, 1990) to develop empathy and understanding. A curriculum that does not reflect the diversity of human experience does a disservice to all students.
  • We believe that no curricular or instructional decision is a neutral one. For too long, the traditional “canon” — at all grade levels — has excluded the voices and rich literary legacies of communities of color. This exclusion hurts all students, and especially students of color.
  • We believe that critical analysis of all texts helps students become stronger thinkers. Each of us has studied, taught, and continue to teach from canonical texts, just as we also make intentional choices about teaching, pairing, and centering BIPOC voices.
  • Thus, #DisruptTexts advocates for curriculum and instructional practices that are culturally responsive and antiracist.

Read and learn more about #DisruptTexts and its founders by browsing the site, including the publications and media page.

English teacher. Writer. Reader. Photography hobbyist. Daughter of immigrants. Wife to best friend. Mom to three Jedi-in-training. She/her.

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