(Photo Courtesy of Vox) “Banned books are one of the main ways in which education is censored.”
Censorship in education has gone too far in this country. This country has seen more than a couple of states ban the teaching of certain topics in schools such as critical race theory, racism, evolution, sexism, and LGBTQ+ content. Does the justification of banning certain topics and books make sense or are politicians just using it to earn cheap political points?
Recently Florida has blocked the new CollegeBoard AP African African Studies course to be taught in high school as it was said that it indoctrinated students to accept a particular ideology. At a press conference held at a Jacksonville school in Florida, on January 23, Governor Ron DeSantis defended the decision as he said “We want education, not indoctrination.” In addition, a letter that Florida Department of Education Office of Articulation sent to CollegeBoard, it stated that the course “significantly lacks educational value.” Both of these claims made by DeSantis and the state Department of Education are entirely false. When the printing press was invented, the bible was printed and translated into several languages leading to different interpretations. When that happened, it lead to the creation of another branch of Christianity known as Protestantism, which has its own branches, such as Lutheranism and Calvinism. Were people indoctrinated or coerced into converting to Protestantism? No, they had the right to choose what they wanted to practice and believe in. When high school students learn about religion, they are not being indoctrinated in one religion or another, they are learning about the different beliefs, values, and traditions of each religion. If we apply this logic to the previous version of the AP course curriculum, it is not forcing students to accept a particular ideology at all. The Florida Department of Education has no clue what it talks about. How does this course “lacks educational value”? There are so many things that students do not know about our nation’s history. It should not be the governor’s decision which history gets taught and which doesn’t, that is a clear sign of racism, discrimination, and homophobia. Ben Crump plans to file a lawsuit against DeSantis and the state if it does not allow the course to be taught in Florida after revisions were made to it. The state has no legitimate reasons to block the course from being taught at all.
CollegeBoard has made revisions to it which were published on the first day of Black History Month which appears to no longer include several of the things DeSantis wants. The organization should remain nonpartisan when it comes up with curriculum for any of its courses rather than revise it based on a state’s objection to what’s in it.
Another area where there is censorship in education is book banning. While I was reading an article on the book ban movement from PEN America, it feels outrageous that the government is overstepping its power to say a student cannot read a certain book. One of the books I read in high school was titled The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. At the time when I read this book, I was not aware of this book being banned in several states. Since then, it’s been prohibited from lesson plans due to it having inappropriate language, talkof racism, anti-police messages and other things that state education board has claimed about the book. Educators in any state should be given the freedom to choose books or other course materials that they feel best meet state curriculum standards while ensuring diversity of course contentand giving voice to other races, ethnicities and issues.
Censorship in education should never take place. Some, if not most, politicians have no clue what they are talking about when it comes to prohibiting certain topics or books to be taught to students in school at all. The government’s role in education should be on two key principles such as keeping our school open and keeping our school safe, not censorship on what students should and shouldn’t be learning in the classroom.