By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY — Nine governors joined New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently in sending textbook publishers a clear letter that censorship will not be supported in schools in each of their states and territories, unlike many state governments like Florida.
“These lessons are vital to preparing our youth to fully engage in a free and fair democracy,” wrote the governors in their letter. “Moreover, the negative impact that censorship and book-banning has on this nation’s students – many already marginalized and underrepresented in society – cannot be overstated during a time when we are facing an unprecedented youth mental health crisis.”
Banning certain books and textbooks in schools has occurred for decades but recently ramped up in 2021, many say, due to political pressure. Some states believe banning certain books and textbooks can protect children from difficult ideas and information.
Furthermore, states like Florida and Texas reject several social studies textbooks from K-12 schools. Florida removed several “due to inaccurate material, errors, and other information that was not aligned with Florida law,” the Florida Department of Education said.
The rejected materials from Florida textbooks include U.S. history, the Holocaust, psychology, and more. Furthermore, the state rejected 54 mathematics textbooks due to the belief that they contained critical rate theory or didn’t meet their standards.
Opposingly, New Jersey officials emphasized in their letter to publishing companies their belief that censored materials negatively impact core educational goals and values.
“Our country’s future is at stake,” wrote the governors in their letter. “You hold enormous influence in shaping how our great nation’s history is told, and the consequences of your actions will reverberate for generations to come…Sanitizing our educational texts for the mercurial comfort of a few today ultimately limits the next generation’s ability to make informed decisions for themselves.”
In another effort to ensure textbooks remain unchanged, the governors emphasized to the publishing companies that each of their administrations will be working with school districts to ensure they are fully informed about which texts have been wrongly censored.
The letter from the governors was sent out to nine publishers and the Association of American Publishers, which together represent the leading book, journal, and education publishers in the United States, according to nj.gov.
For a complete list of the governors who signed the letter and which publishing companies received it, visit https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562023/approved/20230602a.shtml.
To read the full letter sent to the publishing companies, click here.
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