An open letter to the American Historical Association regarding Florida House Bill 999

March 13, 2023

To the American Historical Association:

On behalf of the Massachusetts Council for Social Studies Executive Board, I am writing to express our overwhelming support to your statement regarding Florida House Bill 999.

A few year ago, a “concerned resident” called and asked what my thoughts and position were on Critical Race Theory and if our school district incorporated the theory into the Social Studies program. My response was, “We are in the business of having students learn how to think independently; not what to think. It is our primary responsibility to present historical facts with evidence available to us (primary sources) and provide students with the tools to inquire, investigate, contextualize, corroborate, and develop their own conclusions and interpretations on the importance and significance of past decisions, actions, and events that made us who we are today.”

Perhaps the biggest misconception that some people have is they believe studying and learning history is only about receiving information through history textbooks and listening to lectures, when it is really about asking tough questions, investigating, and engaging in academic conversations about our past to better understand who we are as human beings.

Human beings are complicated and, therefore, history is complicated. If our children can’t understand and appreciate the historical past, they will never understand nor appreciate anything in life.

Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies is proud to stand behind and sign onto your statement.


Gorman Lee, Ed.D.
Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies