The Florida Education Defenders are a group of organizations working together to fight book censorship in Florida schools.
A small group of parents known as the Florida Citizens Alliance (FLCA) allege that Florida schools are indoctrinating children with liberal bias and “unbalanced” science. They succeeded in writing, lobbying for and pushing through legislation intended to make it easier for likeminded residents to impose their personal beliefs on educational curriculum decisions in public schools.
Backed by the Tea Party and gun merchants, the FLCA has targeted instructional texts that are critical of the Trump administration as “blatantly biased” and alleges Florida schools are brainwashing students to oppose the Second Amendment.
While small, FLCA is spreading misinformation and gaining momentum. Now, FLCA has teamed up with the incorrectly-named group Truth in Textbooks to encourage hundreds of ideologically driven textbook challengers.
As of early 2020, the FLCA is pressuring state and local government to file criminal cases against schools and libraries which allow children access to books which FCA claims are obscene. The list of books includes The Bluest Eye and Beloved, both by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison; the best-selling novel The Kite Runner; and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a best-seller which was made into a movie starring Tom Hanks.
Florida Education Defenders offer guidance, support and resources for those who support the rights of Florida students to read, learn and express themselves freely.
We work together to:
- Monitor proposed legislation (2020UPDATE: A “Parent Bill of Rights” has been introduced in the Florida legislature (HB 1059 / SB 1634). It is nearly identical to a bill that was defeated last year. The bill has several problematic provisions, including permitting a teacher to be disciplined if they advise an LGBTQ student not to come out to their abusive parents.)
- Track book challenges with support from the data aggregation platform InformUs
- Share resources with administrators on book adoption and challenges
- Counsel educators confronting challenges, including guidance for defending science texts
- Mobilize the Florida education community to advocate for policy and legislative reforms
Textbook policies are set at the local level. Learn the existing book challenge guidelines and instructional material selection policies in counties and school districts across Florida.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Do you believe that young people in Florida should be able to read freely? Do you think decisions about instructional materials should be based on pedagogical factors, not subjective opinion?
Here’s how you can help prevent book censorship in Florida:
- Join our petitions!
- Learn your local school district’s textbook policies
- Tweet and follow @ncacensorship to find out the latest news and share it with your community! Remember to include the hashtag #FLEdDefend.
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