People For the American Way

Battles Continue Over Freedom to Learn

People For in Action
Battles Continue Over Freedom to Learn

As schools around the country prepare to return to session this late summer and fall, People For the American Way  and Grandparents for Truth (G4T) have remained busy,  fighting authoritarian attacks on  the freedom to learn. Here’s a brief rundown on some of the latest this summer, since the launch of G4T at the end of June in Philadelphia:

  • In Temecula, California, right-wing school board members have sought to ban teaching of critical race theory and the history of the LGBTQ+ movement in California.  People For president Svante Myrick and G4T joined a rally on August 5 to protest these actions and to support an effort to recall three of the worst school board members in an upcoming election. For more details, see here.
  • A far right school board in Hanover, Virginia instructed schools to use propaganda developed by the right-wing Moms for Liberty to screen and remove books from schools. People For condemned the move and we are mobilizing People For and G4T members in the area to speak out against theseactions.
  • Two states have acted to restrict curricula in schools. Florida rejected the AP psychology curriculum because of content relating to gender identity and sexual orientation, although the state board later walked back its position.  Arkansas rejected the AP African American history curriculum. People For criticized both states’ actions. This follows People For’s strong stance  earlier on AP’s past amending of its AP African American Studies course due to political involvement from the state of Florida.
  • People For joined a letter from the National Coalition Against Censorship that severely condemned the decision of the state-appointed school superintendent in Houston that closed libraries in 28 schools and turned them into detention centers for misbehaving students. We urged the school district to reverse the decision.
  • On the good news front, legislators in New Jersey have proposed a bill, modeled after an Illinois law, that would effectively “prohibit the banning of books” in public schools and  libraries.  We are mobilizing G4T and People For members in the state to contact their legislators in support of the bill.

With school openings starting or just around the corner, we unfortunately expect more harmful activity to come. People For the American Way and Grandparents for Truth will be there to support the freedom to read and to learn.