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A top White House ally plans to paint Republicans’ focus on issues around race, gender and sexual identity as part of a GOP strategy to undermine public education as White House officials fight back against manufactured culture war issues.
In remarks prepared for the National Press Club on Tuesday, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten is expected to say state and local laws that ban certain types of books or restrict what can be taught in the classroom are “fueling hostility and fear” and aren’t serving students, parents or teachers, according to an advance copy of her speech provided to NBC News.
Randi Weingarten to address “disgusting, unfounded claims”
“What started as fights over pandemic era safety measures has morphed into fear mongering — false claims that elementary and secondary schools are teaching critical race theory, as opposed to teaching history and current events according to state approved curriculum; disgusting, unfounded claims that teachers are grooming and indoctrinating students; and pronouncements that public schools push a ‘woke’ agenda,” Weingarten will say. “This is an organized and dangerous effort to undermine public schools.”
Weingarten will lay out steps that would address issues like mental health, school safety and learning loss from the coronavirus pandemic but also call for others to more forcefully push back against culture wars, according to NBC News.
Legislation passed or pending in states across the country is designed to “create a climate of fear and intimidation” to allow conservative activists to advance an agenda that includes shifting funds for education away from public schools, Weingarten will say.
A senior White House official who spoke with Weingarten said her remarks focus primarily on education policy.
Book bans saw record highs in 2022
A new report has shown that the number of attempts to ban books at US schools and public libraries reached a record high in 2022.
The American Library Association (ALA) released the damning report stating more than 1,200 challenges were raised to ban books which was nearly double the figure achieved in 2021.
ALA, which started record keeping of the challenges 20 years ago stated that while most requests earlier used to be raised by parents and community members to remove a particular book, the trend had changed significantly, according to WION.
The report noted that influential conservative groups were batting for the removal of most books containing LGBTQIA themes or racial undertones.
According to a report released last year, almost half of books banned in US schools in the past year contained LGBTQIA themes or characters.