Painted Windows, Distorted Mirrors: How Banning Books ‘Sterilizes’ Curriculums

To meet the demand of a modern world, we need to be expanding our students’ perspectives and engaging them in rich dialogue, critical thinking and global perspectives. Our children need opportunities to share potent books in community with peers and to learn to discuss challenging topics. If we parents are empowered, we ought to use our power to enable our children, not to narrow their perspectives.

In Ron DeSantis’ Florida we hear echoes of George Orwell’s 1984: ‘Do you know that Florida’s school libraries get smaller every year? Don’t you see that the whole aim is to narrow the range of thought?’

When It Comes to LGBTQIA+ Youth, Schools Are Getting a Failing Grade

Feb. 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and I want to make sure we are not forgetting Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) youth, particularly Black adolescent girls, young women and gender expansive individuals.

Although awareness and acceptance of Black LGBTQIA+ youth is growing, there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to equipping them with comprehensive sex education to help them make safe and healthy choices.

Is Academia Safe for Black Women? How Bias and Racism Affect Faculty Mental Health

Antoinette Bonnie Candia-Bailey, a beloved professor at an historically Black University in Missouri, committed suicide on Jan. 8, reportedly as a result of racism by the school’s president. Harvard University president Claudine Gay recently resigned amid accusations of plagiarism. Many view her resignation as an illustration of the broader issue of marginalizing Black women within the predominantly white male academic space.

Academia is not inherently designed for the success of Black faculty. These institutions were initially created for and catered to white people, placing BIPOC in a position where they must succeed within systems not designed for their success. Centering Black scholars in roles critical to the institution involves challenging the role of white supremacy addressing systemic issues within academia that create unrealistic expectations.

The Politics of Defining Anti-Semitism

I am named after my great grandfather, Siegmund, who died in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1942—so understanding and fighting anti-Semitism is close to my heart.

But the Antisemitism Awareness Act recently introduced in Congress will silence discussions in institutions of higher education where academic freedom should guarantee the right to open debate and dissent. Along with anti-critical race theory and “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, bills targeting anti-Semitism are part of a larger agenda to control what is taught in K-12 schools and universities, therefore redefining social justice concepts.

Miseducation and the Project of Panic, Propaganda and Power

As a Black woman academic, it has been painful to witness the attacks on the character of Claudine Gay—Harvard University’s former president and its first Black leader—and their after-effects. However, as a scholar of education, race and the law, these attacks also ring familiar. The project of white supremacy is to instill panic, to distort history and facts, to erase the contributions of Black and other minoritized people.

White supremacy appeals to the basest parts of us by stoking our fears, stereotypes and biases. It relies on disregard for the truth. It relies on resistance to recognizing the humanity of Black and other minoritized people. It appeals to the worst in America. And I believe it will take the best of America to affirmatively defeat it. 

The Fight to End Legacy Admissions Must Account for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

As we sat on the bleachers, my grandfather became bored with waiting to see his first grandchild, my brother, walk across the stage for his bachelor’s degree. Using his bellowing voice, he broke out singing NYU’s alma mater song. I was mortified. But over the years, I have come to appreciate how he embraced the power of legacy.

The uprooting of affirmative action has left an unequal scale in the world of admissions, which many believe should be addressed by removing legacy admissions entirely. However, my grandfather’s story and the stories of many others like him point to an essential reason why legacy admissions should continue—just with restrictions that center on diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as on restoring access to economic, social, and cultural disinvestment in underrepresented groups.

Parental Lessons About Race Should Be Taught at Home in Early Childhood

“The Talk” is the conversation Black parents have with their children about race for their safety in American society. Black parents know they must have this talk with their children about the dangers of being Black in America; however, this important lesson needs to start in the early childhood years.

Children are more than ready to absorb the information in early childhood about their identity and the unique racial history that permeates American society.

Rewriting Herstory: Proposing an AP U.S. Women’s History Course

Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Lincoln, Roosevelt, King, Kennedy and Reagan each played critical roles in the history of our country and remain household names. Yet what of Murray, Chisholm, Eastman, Stone and Stanton? These women contributed greatly to the success of America, yet remain largely unknown to most Americans, including high school students. 

We are advocating to change this. As AP history students and educators, we propose the creation of a standalone AP United States Women’s History course. The youth of America are entitled to these stories traditionally left untold: the history of 50 percent of our population, who are currently a mere sidebar of token inclusion within a generic textbook on men’s history.

Stop Stereotyping Black Girls: Offer Inclusive Sex Education in Schools

As of this fall, GOP leaders and lawmakers in over a dozen states have passed bans on teaching human sexuality or stymied federal grants aimed at addressing sexual behaviors and lowering rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

While this negatively affects all children, it is particularly harmful for Black girls. Black adolescent girls in the United States experience poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes due to bullying and stereotyping. These health concerns persist throughout their lives and a lack of sex education is a key factor.

Florida: Where Learning Goes to Die

I’ve been a clerk, teacher and administrator in Volusia County, Fla., schools for decades. Our 9-year-old grandson will no longer be educated here.

Last school year, one like no other, I kept a journal because the laws coming down from Tallahassee and the school board meetings I regularly attend had become frightening. I knew the effects in the schools would be equally scary. They were worse than I imagined.