By: The Editorial Board
Nationwide efforts by Republicans to censor history and issues of race, gender or sexual orientation in classrooms are pushing teachers to leave the profession.
According to a newly released national survey from education-equity advocacy nonprofit Stand for Children, 3 in 10 teachers are considering leaving the profession at the end of this school year, and more than a third of the 2,000 K–12 educators surveyed cited new state laws restricting classroom discussions on race, gender, and sexuality as a reason.
“These bans undermine the very promise of America, a nation built on the belief of the open exchange of ideas, and are pushing teachers to leave the profession in droves,” stated Jonah Edelman, Executive Officer at Stand for Children, in a press release. “This should alarm every parent concerned about their children’s ability to recover from the pandemic and receive an accurate education that will effectively prepare students for adult life in a diverse, digital-first, and always changing society.”
Since January 2021, 41 states have introduced bills or taken other steps that would censor how teachers can discuss racism and sexism, according to an Education Week analysis.
In North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the Republican-led General Assembly’s proposed ban on certain classroom discussions about racism last September. The bill would have prevented teachers from promoting 13 concepts related to race or sex.
“There is a direct connection between states pushing for censorship laws and teachers’ willingness to stay in the teaching profession, and students and families are paying the price,” said Jonah Edelman, executive officer at Stand for Children. “At a time when public officials should be supporting kids and families to help students to catch up academically and recover socially and emotionally, these laws are instead fueling crippling staff shortages, and preventing students from learning a truthful, thorough, fact-based account of U.S history that enables them to learn from the past in order to create a better future.”
Ninety-three percent of surveyed teachers agreed it’s important for children to “learn to value and respect the humanity of every person and to recognize and reject racism,” Stand for Children found.