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Students are being impeded by a censored education as teachers feel pressured to tailor their lesson plans based on factors that have no basis in reality. Specifically, educators are reporting the removal of lessons related to race and gender, such as sections of Christopher Columbus’ writings that elaborate on brutal and inhumane treatment towards indigenous peoples and comparative data on the NYPD’s use of force on different racial groups. The removal of this information from students’ curriculum is a disservice to students, their futures, and their educational autonomy.

At the center of this education debate is Governor and rumored presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis. DeSantis has signed a bill banning transgender athletes from female public school teams. He banned about 40% of math textbooks claiming that they contained “woke math.” He passed what is commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which bans discussion of gender and sexuality from kindergarten to third grade. He took aim at the College Board’s proposal for an AP course on African American studies and claimed it had no educational value. 

Across the country, 64 bills have been signed into law across 25 states limiting academic freedom. These laws explicitly demand that students are taught a “patriotic” education. Another way to phrase that would be, let’s shove propaganda and a white-washed version of the U.S. in the faces of children and call it an education.

These 64 laws are a chokehold on educators as these laws promote parents’ rights over their children’s education. DeSantis and every lawmaker behind this doesn’t work for teachers or for students, they work for the parents. Lawmakers and parents claim to be afraid of “woke” ideologies and indoctrination, but the idea that parents always know what is best is patently false and just another form of indoctrination. 

50% of young Americans place education as one of the most important issues related to America’s future on a global scale. In the same survey, 46% of the participants said they would vote for a candidate who supported teaching about racism in K-12 schools, while only 22% disagreed. If this were about what was best for students and the education they deserved, these laws wouldn’t exist. But it’s not.

It is a failure on the part of lawmakers to demand that schools pretend facts are up for debate out of respect for people who don’t believe them. That’s not an education, it’s a sham. This censorship is going to churn out uneducated mindless graduates without a bone for critical thinking in them, all in the name of a reality that doesn’t exist.