Librarians Are Targets for Fascists

Diane Ravitch's blog

Ruth Ben-Ghiat writes a post on her blog about threats to democracy. One of this is described in this post: the threats to libraries and librarians by extremists who want to ban books.

This essay is dedicated to librarians and library staff across America, and to a family member who worked as a library clerk in an elementary school for many years.

“It felt like a knife in my heart,” said Audrey Wilson-Youngblood, a Texas library services coordinator, of the flood of accusations from parents that she and other library staff in the Keller Independent School District harmed students by having books on LGBTQ themes in their collections.

Across the country, librarians in school and municipal libraries feel that knife being turned. Activist parents, sometimes working in conjunction with GOP politicians or right-wing groups such as Moms for Liberty, are waging an authoritarian-style assault on libraries and librarians.

When illiberal…

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Berkshire and Schneider: Voters in School Board Elections Reject Slanders Against Their Public Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

Hello, Democrats! Wake up!

Journalist Jennifer Berkshire and historian Jack Schneider report that voters in school board elections are not falling for rightwing slanders of their public schools and teachers!

Democrats: your best strategy for the fall elections is to campaign aggressively for public schools.

Berkshire and Schneider write that Democrats were panicked by Glenn Youngkin’s election as Governor in Virginia, which they attributed to his attacks on “critical race theory” in the schools and his pandering to far-right fake parents’ groups. Steve Bannon (and Chris Rufo) claimed that the road to a takeover was by seizing control of local school boards and destroying public schools.

Berkshire and Schneider say that their campaign is failing. Even in Trump territory, voters are supporting their public schools and rejecting the crazies.

They write:

As it turns out, GOP candidates running on scorched-earth education platforms have fared quite poorly in school board elections…

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Texas: Two Billionaires Want to Destroy Public Education and Replace It With Christian Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

CNN posted an important article about two billionaires in Texas who are spending heavily to push state politics to the extreme right fringes on social issues. Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks despise gays, love guns, and preach a version of Christianity that is suffused with hate, not love or charity or kindness. Above all, they aim to destroy public education, which they see as the root of America’s cultural decline.

If you read one article today, make it this one. It explains the drive for vouchers for religious schools. What Dunn and Wilks want is not “choice,” but indoctrination into their selfish, bumigored world view.

CNN’s investigative team writes:

Gun owners allowed to carry handguns without permits or training. Parents of transgender children facing investigation by state officials. Women forced to drive hours out-of-state to access abortion.

This is Texas now: While the Lone Star State has long been a…

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Georgia: Will the State Ban Teaching the Truth About Racism?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Maureen Downey of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted a guest column by two university scholars in Georgia, warning about the dangerous legislation now under consideration.

T. Jameson Brewer is an assistant professor of social foundations of education at the University of North Georgia. Brandon Haas is an associate professor of social foundations and leadership education at the University of North Georgia.

Brewer and Haas write:

At present, several bills in the state Legislature — including House Bill 1084 and Senate Bill 377 — weaponize grievance politics in the culture wars during a Georgia election year. These bills are our state’s iteration of “anti-critical race theory” proposals across the nation.

In Florida, lawmakers are seeking to make it illegal for white students to feel discomfort. In Oklahoma, a recent proposed bill would allow parents to sue teachers for $10,000 per day if they discuss any topic that does not perfectly align…

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Mercedes Schneider: Kentucky Teacher of the Year 2022 Resigns

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mercedes Schneider writes here about the decision by Willie Carver, Kentucky’s 2022 Teacher of the Year, to resign.

Carver testified before Congress and described the indignities he endured because he is gay. Carver is a highly qualified, highly experienced teacher. He loves teaching. But he is afraid to return to the classroom because of the state-sponsored bigotry that threatens teachers and students like him.

Carver told members of Congress (in part, open the link):

Identity is rarely discussed by direct means. No teachers come out as straight. They are married to opposite sex spouses whose pictures sit on their desks or whose names come up in stories about vacations or weekend trips to the grocery store.

LGBTQ teachers and students will not be afforded this freedom. They will be required to deny their existence and edit the most basic aspects of their stories, unlike their classmates and colleagues.
Few LGBTQ…

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Heather Cox Richardson: What Does the Republican Party Believe in?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Historian Heather Cox Richardson writes today about some recent votes in Congress that defined what Republicans are against.

Republicans believe that states should control which rights are protected inside their borders. They do not believe in abortion rights. They do not believe in the right to have access to contraception. They do not believe in marriage equality. They do not believe that women have the right to cross state lines if they are pregnant. (How Will states enforce that last belief? By administering pregnancy tests to every woman under 50 who is attempting to leave a state where abortion is illegal?)

What do they believe in? Not freedom or liberty, since they legislate constraints on private action. They do believe in censorship, bans on behavior in the privacy of your bedroom, bans on topics that may be discussed in the classroom. Republicans want to restore a mythical world of white…

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Lloyd Lofthouse: Who Is Woke?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Lloyd Lofthouse, author, former Marine, and former teacher, explains what it means to be woke. Some Republican politicians—notably Ron DeSantis— are trying to suppress “wokeness.”

Lloyd writes:

Anyone that attacks what’s known as “woke ideology” is supporting zombie thinking and belongs to a fascist cult of ignorance.

Wokeness means someone that is highly literate, well educated, well read, is a life long learner, questions claims and uses critical thinking, problem solving and rational logic to find out if there is any truth to what these fascist zombies are shouting.

Question: Are you woke?

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Katherine Stewart: Christian Nationalism Is Winning

Diane Ravitch's blog

Katherine Stewart is an expert on Christian Nationalism who has researched its history, attends their conferences, and writes about their determination to destroy our freedoms. Read her recent book “The Power Worshippers.”

Her latest article in The New York Times reports on their recent dramatic gains.

She writes:

The shape of the Christian nationalist movement in the post-Roe future is coming into view, and it should terrify anyone concerned for the future of constitutional democracy.

The Supreme Court’s decision to rescind the reproductive rights that American women have enjoyed over the past half-century will not lead America’s homegrown religious authoritarians to retire from the culture wars and enjoy a sweet moment of triumph. On the contrary, movement leaders are already preparing for a new and more brutal phase of their assault on individual rights and democratic self-governance. Breaking American democracy isn’t an unintended side effect of Christian nationalism. It is…

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Mercedes Schneider: Authentic Christianity Does Not Urinate on the Rights of Others

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mercedes Schneider writes in this post about two ministers whom she heard on the radio. One spoke mockingly about separation of church and state. The other spoke about the importance of overcoming division. Mercedes transcribed their speeches. In this post, she focuses on the calming words of the second minister. And she helpfully reminds us of the Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Ninth Amendment undercuts the cramped views of the Supreme Court’s reactionary majority, which has claimed that the rights not listed (“enumerated”) in the Constitution do not exist.

The Ninth Amendment says:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Schneider begins:

I did a double-take on the idea that there is an organized push to enable states to formally declare Christianity as an official state religion. That’s what this is: A far-right attempt…

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