Beyond Banned Books: Censorship in Education
Censorship and restrictions placed on school curriculum are nothing new. Early in October, the public school district in Biloxi, Mississippi continued the long enduring tradition of banning To Kill a Mockingbird from being taught in their public schools. In 1925, the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial” brought to light Tennessee’s Butler Act, which restricted teaching human evolution in any state-funded school. This type of restriction could reappear in Florida – a hearing officer is now hired on every school board to review complaints filed by parent or county residents on instructional materials. While it is not subject specific, there are worries that it will target science, and subjects like climate change. In the west, Utah only recently overturned a law that silenced LGBT topics in schools and each district has complete control over the expanse of the sex education curriculum, as there is no federal law mandating what is taught.
The United States does not have a national curriculum, leaving the state, principals, teachers, parents, and community members as influential stakeholders. But, who should decide what to teach in public schools? What should we teach? Is anything off limits?
Meryl Johnson, Member, State Board of Education
George Golden, Director, Closing the Achievement Gap (CTAG), Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Tracy Strobel, Deputy Director, Cuyahoga County Public Library
This conversation is moderated by Youth Forum Council Member Revelation Sanders.