Education Secretary Miguel Cardona condemned Republicans who are “dictating” public education by pushing for “book bans” and “censoring” black history, according to a Thursday Tampa Bay Times op-ed.
Cardona called it “heartbreaking” to see politicians enacting policies which “prevent students from learning about the history” of African Americans and restrict which books and materials are permitted in the classroom, according to a Tampa Bay Times op-ed. Cardona’s comments come after Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis released a videodetailing pornographic books found within the state’s schools and rejected an AP African American Studies course that violated state law against the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT).
“Parents also are speaking out about their worries that politicians are using our kids’ education as a political football,” Cardona wrote. “It’s heartbreaking, for example, to see politicians trying to prevent students from learning about the history, arts and culture, contributions and experiences of African Americans — especially when Black history is a vital part of our shared American story.”
The Florida Department of Education rejected an AP African American Studies course because it included chapters on “queer theory” and contained tenets of CRT. Following the backlash from the DeSantis administration, the College Board, the organization which creates college-level courses for school districts, released an updated version of the course removing sections on CRT theorists and “black queer studies.”
In March 2022, DeSantis signed legislation that requires state school districts to be “transparent” about what material is in schools and prohibits school administration from “distributing pornographic materials to minors.” In January, the Florida Department of Education approved a rule mandating that librarians be trained to keep material that is sexually explicit and “harmful to minors” out of school libraries.
“It’s just as disturbing that some politicians want to limit our children’s freedom to read,” Cardona wrote. “Over the last year, 4 million students have had their reading censored through book bans — with the majority of book bans censoring stories of people of color or LGBTQ Americans. Just imagine being a parent whose kid has never read a single book in school about a family who looks like theirs.”
Warning: This video contains pornographic images and content not suitable for children. If you can’t read these books at a school board meeting, should they be in a school? https://t.co/gHBoQh5eYa
— Taryn Fenske (@tarynfenske) March 8, 2023
While Republicans focus on cutting federal funding, “ban books and Black history,” the Biden administration is focusing on providing school districts with resources to “hire high-quality tutors” and “quality mental health care” for students, Cardona wrote. The Biden administration is working on increasing teachers’ salaries and ensuring “that our educators reflect the diversity of our students.”
“While some politicians sow chaos in the classroom, the Biden-Harris team is equipping schools and kids with the resources they need,” Cardona said. “Our department will continue to engage directly with parents and families about what they want to see for their children’s education and help schools develop best practices to be true partners with parents.”
The Department of Education and DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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