(New York, NY) — Three bills recently introduced by Republican state legislators in Arkansas, Iowa, and Mississippi, seek to prevent public schools from adopting curriculum from The New York Times‘ 1619 Project by threatening to withhold public funding from those that do. The bills draw from similar legislation proposed by Sen. Tom Cotton in July, about which PEN America previously voiced concerns.

“These attempts to ban schools from exploring the complexities and uncomfortable truths of American history—including slavery and racism—are shameful,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education at PEN America. “They run completely counter to the spirit of intellectual inquiry that should guide schools in our democracy. It is the very job of teachers to guide students not through a single, unquestioned historical narrative, but through the exploration of whose truths have prevailed and what stories have been left untold. State legislators should be working to ensure educators have a wide range of resources available to them to do just that, rather than engaging in these politicized attempts to dictate or censor which ideas are worth exploring.”