New Hampshire Law Banning ‘Divisive Concepts’ in the Classroom Leaves Teachers Vulnerable and Students Unprepared

The new school year brings a fresh onslaught of conservative attacks on public education. As I prepare the syllabus for my “Teaching English for Middle and High School Teachers” course at the University of New Hampshire, a new court challenge to the HB 544 “Divisive Concepts” bill is underway. Passed in 2021, HB 544 prohibits the teaching of racism, sexism and any materials that claim “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

Intentionally vague rhetoric like “divisive concepts” masks the bill’s white supremacist logic. Students recognize how the bill co-opts language commonly used in calls for social justice to argue against diversity. It is the legislators that pass and the administrators that enforce these abhorrent bills that are most to blame.

‘Banned! Voices From the Classroom’: Reflections From a Small Liberal Arts College in New York

For those of us in so-called liberal states, what happens in our backyards is connected to the nationwide suppression of teaching about people of color, queer and trans folks, and women.

(To be featured in our “Banned! Voices From the Classroom” series, submit pitches and/or completed draft op-eds and reflections to Aviva Dove-Viebahn at adove-viebahn@msmagazine.com. Posts will be accepted on a rolling basis.)

War on Women Report: AP Psych Effectively Banned in Florida; Indiana and S.C. Abortion Bans Take Effect; Trump Indicted in Fourth Criminal Case 

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back. This is the War on Women Report.

Since our last report: 135 people have died in Texas prisons; two Indiana school districts must allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choosing; Advanced Placement Psychology classes are “effectively banned” in Florida; an 8-month pregnant woman was arrested and put in jail after a false facial recognition match; New Jersey supreme court sides with Catholic school that fired an unmarried pregnant teacher on religious grounds; a total ban on abortion has taken effect in Indiana, and a strict six-week ban in South Carolina; and more.

The History of Asian American Labor Activism Is Essential for Today’s Students

The impact that Asian immigrants and Asian Americans have made in labor history is frequently missing from the media and textbooks, despite numerous roles of unionizing, rallying and organizing to inspire workers to fight for justice and better workplace conditions.

As legislation to teach Asian American history in schools increases, teaching Asian American labor activism is essential to prepare the next generation of leaders and civic actors concerned with solidarity and coalition building.

Who Is Funding Your University? Unpacking the Hidden Influence of U.S. College Donors With Jasmine Banks

In colleges and universities across the U.S., right-wing donors endow “chairs” and departments, set up free-market boosting thinktanks, and get themselves on college boards, to ensure that progressive influences are limited, if not outright eliminated.

“Koch Industries and the entire Koch network are willing to fund projects for many years. They understand the importance of deep investment. The progressive sector needs progressive funders who are willing to mirror the philanthropy of the right.,” said Jasmine Banks, executive director of UnKoch My Campus, a national organization devoted to disrupting hidden corporate influence on U.S. college campuses.

Demand IX Student Fellows Urge Campus Leaders to Rededicate Themselves to Title IX

Focused on Title IX education and advocacy, Women X’s cross-campus fellowship has engaged 35 diverse women college students from 20 campuses across 10 U.S. states. For 12 weeks, the fellowship leads a select number of undergraduate students across college campuses. Those accepted into the cohort receive a scholarship covering the full cost of tuition, along with a stipend. Fellows spend the semester learning about Title IX with other student leaders across the country and collaborating on initiatives to spread its message on their campus.

Applications are currently open for upcoming cohorts of the Women X Demand IX fellowship, and the fellowship continues to expand.

Key Gender Studies Staff Resign from New College of Florida, ‘The State Where Learning Goes to Die’

Nicholas L. Clarkson, former assistant professor of gender studies at New College of Florida, has announced his resignation from the school, which used to be known as the most progressive public college in the state. Clarkson was the only full-time gender studies professor at New College.

“I have loved teaching at New College,” Clarkson wrote in a letter addressed to interim president and former Republican House speaker Robert Corcoran. “But now Florida is the state where learning goes to die.”

Over 40 professors have already resigned from New College in light of these attacks, according to Clarkson, who calls the mass exodus “an indictment of [Richard Corcoran] and the trustees’ actions, as well as the state’s regressive politics.”

‘Banned! Voices from the Classroom’: Call for Submissions

Ms. Classroom wants to hear from educators and students being impacted by legislation attacking public education, higher education, gender and sexuality studies, activism and social justice in education, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Submit pitches and/or completed draft op-eds and reflections (between 500-800 words) to Aviva Dove-Viebahn at adove-viebahn@msmagazine.com. Posts will be accepted on a rolling basis, with posting beginning in August 2023.

Two Years After the Taliban Takeover, an Afghan Girl Is Holding On to Hope: ‘I Am Young, But I Am Everything for My Family’

Last summer, almost one year after the Taliban takeover, I spoke to 17-year-old Farzana about her life in Kabul. Now, two years since the U.S. withdrew their troops, Farzana, 18, feels she has very little to live for.

“It has been two years and the future looks dark. It’s not being alive, and not being dead. We have permission for neither. … I had the hope to be a great athlete and leader in the world—a leader for Afghan women. These are still my hopes and my goals, and even in this hard situation, I am doing my best to get an opportunity to find a university outside of Afghanistan.”