Biden administration proposes new Department of Education policy to counter 'book bans'

As of now, it is not clear who will be appointed to the new position in the Department of Education.

Published: June 9, 2023 12:38pm

President Joe Biden is set to create a new position in the Department of Education that will address and combat book bans in public schools across the United States.

"Across the country, our nation faces a spike in book bans — efforts that disproportionately strip books about LGBTQI+ communities, communities of color, and other communities off of library and classroom shelves," the White House said in a press release Thursday. 

"In fact, 2022 saw the highest number of book bans in 20 years," the release continued. "Book banning erodes our democracy, removes vital resources for student learning, and can contribute to the stigma and isolation that LGBTQI+ people and other communities face."

As of now, it is not clear who will be appointed to the new position in the Department of Education.

The position will be in the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. A major task of the position is informing school districts about potential violations of federal law if books are removed from libraries. 

White House domestic policy advisor Neera Tanden praised the White House for showing alliance with the LGBTQ community.

"The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will appoint a new coordinator to lead the charge on book banning, and to offer trainings and resources to schools to help them understand that students have a right to learn free from discrimination, and that book bans may violate federal civil rights laws if they create a hostile environment for students," Tanden said in a statement, according to the Washington Examiner.

This action by the Biden administration is seen as a reaction to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's support of legislation that has resulted in a number of school districts in Florida removing books with sexual and racial themes from their schools' libraries, according to the outlet. 

"The DeSantis administration has repeatedly pushed back against such characterizations, noting that most books that were reviewed were subsequently put back on shelves, and the ones that were permanently removed usually contained pornographic imagery or sexually explicit language, such as the graphic novel Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, which is a commonly challenged book in school libraries."

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