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'Teaching with truth and complexity': Checking in on the state's Black and Latino Studies elective

Daisha Brabham's Black and Latino Studies course participated in an oral history project, interviewing local activists. Named Teacher of the Year in Windsor, her colleagues celebrated her "knack for captivating the hearts and minds of her students."
Windsor Public Schools
Daisha Brabham's Black and Latino Studies course conducted an oral history project, interviewing local activists "from Windsor and beyond." Named 2023 Teacher of the Year at Windsor High School, her colleagues celebrated her "knack for captivating the hearts and minds of her students."

Connecticut rolled out a Black and Latino history elective this past school year, the first of several recent curricular updates and mandates to go live statewide. This hour, we hear from social studies teachers Daisha Brabham and Julian Shafer about how they worked with the curriculum offered by the state.

Plus, their students share their experiences. Students in Windsor recently led a push to offer the elective to ninth-graders.

Brabham and Shafer also discuss an Educators Bill of Rights they helped draft, along with several educator organizations in the state.

According to PEN America, there have been 78 different legislative proposals since 2021 that are aimed at K-12 curriculum, referred to by the free speech org as "gag order bills." Connecticut is often seen as a kind of safe haven from these kinds of political or ideological attacks in the classroom, but we’ve seen a rise in debates over curriculum and book ban requests in our state too.

The Educators Bill of Rights calls for "learning spaces for students and working spaces for educators that are free from harassment and intimidation," and underscores the need "to teach in accurate and complex ways without censure or punishment."


  • Daisha Brabham: Teacher, Windsor High School
  • Julian Shafer: Teacher, Danbury High School
  • Sarai Pichardo: Student, Danbury High School
  • Damela Seal: Student, Windsor High School
  • Christine Palm: Democratic State Representative

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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show 'Where We Live.' She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH.
Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.