Opinion
Reading & Literacy Letter to the Editor

No, Book Bans Are Never ‘Reasonable’

October 10, 2023 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The recent opinion essay “Don’t Worry About ‘Book Bans’” (Sept. 15, 2023) is part of the larger coordinated attack that ultra conservative think tanks are waging on public education and against a democratic society and government.

Book bans have never been reasonable, regardless of whether a book is returned to the library shelf after being reviewed. The use of semantics to diminish the harm that bans inflict will not distract from the real issue: Book bans are a rising form of censorship being used to silence the voices and experiences of communities that have experienced oppression already based on race, class, and gender.

Paired with ongoing efforts to restrict and censor curriculum, book bans are a common fear tactic and ploy used to sow division for political gain. These efforts to limit our intellectual freedom distract us from what should be our nation’s educational goals: to provide students with a quality public school education that is inclusive, equitable, and wholly representative; to prepare students for a career of their choice; and to foster an informed and engaged citizenry.

Currently, 30 percent of the more than 1,100 books banned in U.S. public schools are authored by writers of color and 26 percent by LGBTQ+ authors. More than 100 bills to further censor books have been introduced at the state - level nationwide.

Our stories and histories deserve to be told without censorship. We are stronger as a society because of our incredible diversity, and so are our schools. A shared, honest understanding of the past bridges the divides that political players are trying to widen. Arguments that attempt to placate the American public to simply accept book bans are a thinly veiled attempt to take away the inclusive and comprehensive education our students deserve. We can see through the political scheming and we are fighting back.

Kwesi Rollins
Senior Vice President of Leadership & Engagement
Institute for Educational Leadership
Washington, D.C.

Jasmine Bolton
Policy Director
Partnership for the Future of Learning
Baltimore, Md.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the October 11, 2023 edition of Education Week as No, Book Bans Are Never ‘Reasonable’

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy Photos Drama and Delight: The Faces of the National Spelling Bee
The 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee came down to a high-stakes spell-off. Here's a look at the faces behind the event.
1 min read
Shrey Parikh, 12, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., reacts to a fellow competitor's word during the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Oxon Hill, Md., on May 30, 2024.
Shrey Parikh, 12, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., reacts to a fellow competitor's word during the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Oxon Hill, Md., on May 30, 2024.
Nathan Howard/AP
Reading & Literacy Q&A A New Plan to Raise the Lowest Literacy Rates in the Nation
Daily summer reading instruction for thousands of students is part of a bigger plan to improve literacy in New Mexico.
5 min read
Arsenio Romero, secretary of New Mexico’s Public Education Department, addresses the audience at the Albuquerque Earth Day Festival on April 21, 2024.
Arsenio Romero, the New Mexico secretary of education, speaks at the Albuquerque Earth Day Festival on April 21, 2024. Romero is leading a statewide effort to improve literacy.
Courtesy of New Mexico Public Education Department
Reading & Literacy Older Students Who Struggle to Read Hide in Plain Sight. What Teachers Can Do
Going back to basics may get to the root of the problem.
6 min read
Image of a seventh-grade student looking through books in her school library.
A seventh-grade student looks through books in her school library.
Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages