Biden calls for stopping making teachers the ‘target of culture wars’
President Biden on Wednesday called on Americans to stop putting teachers in the middle of “culture wars” as various book bans gain momentum across the country and Democrats and Republicans disagree on the issue of whether parents should have more control over what their children learn in school.
“American teachers have dedicated their lives to teaching our children and raising them,” the president said at the annual National and State Teacher of the Year awards ceremony at the White House.
“We need to stop making it the target of culture wars. That’s where it happens.
During the event, Biden accused politicians of “trying to score political points” by pushing for certain books to be banned from schools.
“Even math books,” Biden said, referring to the Florida Department of Education’s recent decision to ban the teaching of 54 math textbooks because of what he called “problematic” material. “.
“I mean, did you ever think – even you young teachers – did you ever think, when you were teaching, that you were worried about books being burned and books being banned, all because it doesn’t fit on someone’s political agenda?” asked the president.
As of March 31, more than a thousand books had been banned from various libraries and classrooms across the country, according to the nonprofit organization PEN America.
While many of these books deal with sexuality, racism, and LGBTQ+ issues, the list also includes well-known novels such as “The Kite Runner,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “The Bell Jar.”
The nonprofit found that at least 41% of banned books listed are related to directives from state officials or lawmakers to investigate or remove the books.
School boards and districts cite a variety of reasons when they ban books — either indicating excessive violence, racial insensitivity, or — in the case of Florida — the inclusion of critical race theory.
Earlier this month, Florida rejected 41% of math textbook publisher submissions because many included “references to critical race theory” or the inclusion of the common core.
“It seems that some editors have tried to apply a coat of paint to an old house built on common core foundations and indoctrinate concepts such as racial essentialism, especially, oddly, for elementary school students” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. statement at the time.
In January, a Tennessee school district banned Art Spiegelman’s book “Maus” — a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust — because of graphic scenes and profanity.
At the time, McMinn County School Board member Tony Allman defended the decision, saying “it shows people hanging, it shows them killing children.”
“Why does the education system promote this stuff? It’s neither wise nor healthy,” Allman said.
That same month, a school board just outside of Seattle pulled “To Kill a Mockingbird” from its curriculum after various parents, students and teachers complained of racial insensitivity.