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The Fight to Ban Books

This is the Education Briefing, a weekly update on the most important news in U.S. education. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

Today, we’re covering one community’s fight over a book ban and the success of New York City’s vaccine mandate for nearly all public school employees.

The fight over critical race theory has reached the library, as some parents try to ban books that address certain ideas about race, as well as those that address sex and L.G.B.T.Q. issues.

In one recent example from York County, Pa., hundreds of students and teachers won a battle, at least temporarily, against a ban on a selection of books told from the perspective of gay, Black and Latino children.

Here’s the back story: In August 2020, a diversity committee created a list of hundreds of books, documentary films and articles, meant as a resource to help students and teachers grapple with the racial and social turmoil.

Some parents objected. They claimed the materials could be used to “indoctrinate” students or make white children feel guilty. So, in a little-noticed vote last November, the school board banned the all items on the list from classrooms.

At the start of this school year, many teachers were outraged. Students were, too. They protested daily outside school, wrote letters to the local paper and read excerpts from the banned books on Instagram. Local and national news media picked up the story.

After some back and forth, on Sept. 20, the board temporarily lifted the freeze.The York ban was largely symbolic: None of the listed books had been removed from school libraries and teachers already using them were not affected.

Pennsylvania does not have a law banning critical race theory from schools, at least not yet. In states where Republican governors have signed legislation banning critical race theory, books are disappearing from shelves.

In Texas, which has a ban, the Katy school district removed books about young Black boys written by an award-winning Black author, Jerry Craft.

The district also canceled an event with Craft, planned for this week, after parents claimed his books promoted critical race theory.

Read entire article at New York Times