TX Coalition outlines plans to counter education censorship / Public Information Service


The Texas Freedom Network is calling on people to join a new campaign against what it calls “education censorship” across the state.

The movement, made up of more than a dozen organizations, follows efforts by local and national politicians to limit racial and LGBTQ representation in schools, as part of their own political ambitions.

The group said making education so partisan ignores the needs of children.

Val Benavidez, executive director of the Texas Freedom Network, said students need policies that ensure diverse populations are represented in their school environment.

“Support students by proactively organizing in your local school boards, attending regular meetings, testifying before the state school board,” Benavidez emphasized. “And let your state officials know that you will not tolerate politically motivated bans that attempt to silence our communities.”

Benavidez emphasized that the goal of the “Teach the Truth” campaign is to create communities where everyone feels included, regardless of race or sexuality.

Texas lawmakers have passed bills in recent years restricting discussion of racial history and LGBTQ-related topics in schools.

The coalition argued that removing some books from library shelves ends up making education one-sided and avoiding the truth about difficult topics in order to put some students or their parents more at ease.

Hedreich Nichols, educational consultant and author of children’s books, thinks a little discomfort is necessary for a balanced education.

“We’re doing our students a disservice,” Nichols argued. “Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable; as a parent, I want my son to be able to face uncomfortable truths.”

Ricardo Martinez, executive director of Equality Texas, said his group questioned the Texas Education Agency last fall about various attempts to remove more than 800 books from schools. Some 60% focused on LGBTQ topics, 8% on race, and 13% on sex education.

Martinez sees a longer-term impact on student mental health.

“The young people of Texas see their very humanity challenged, time and time again, by those in charge of their safety and education,” Martinez said.

He added that books and “true history” are important in schools, and said anyone can report concerns about what is happening in their school district on the campaign website.

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