California says enough to ridiculous book bans

Originally published at: California says enough to ridiculous book bans | Boing Boing


This is ultimately a core economic issue for California. Quality, reality-based public education is the heart of the state’s success, and as the climate crisis takes away other advantages California enjoys it will only become more important.

If the state Dems let Know-Nothings who take over local school districts erode K-12 educational standards with BS like this, they’re putting what’s now the 5th largest economy on the planet on the path to being a backwater like Mississippi or Alabama. Newsom is not going to be the one to let that happen.


I like it, of course, but like everything Newsom has done since “Care, Not Cash” it feels like it’s 60/40 PR stunt/principled gesture.

Speaking of PR gestures, how are books selected for schools? To cut to it, what’s the distinction between a book that was “not selected” (tens of millions of books in print are not selected) and “banned”?

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At the state level, where textbooks like the one under discussion are selected, a committee makes the final decision.

The current members are mostly teachers, with some administrators, what seems to be a social services expert, a student, and two politicians (usually appointed by the current party in power). From that, I would assume that educational quality – rather than PR – is the primary criterion by which textbooks are selected or not. So, for example, a social studies textbook for the state that has supplemental material mentioning a prominent California civil rights activist might be (and was) considered worthy of selection.

A local school district isn’t going to be allowed to ban a selected state-standard textbook on the basis of the majority of its members being bigots.

Hope that answered the question you just asked.


Just a reminder that all public and private high schools go through accreditation. Believe it or not, this textbook issue can affect accreditation, which can affect college acceptance and local real estate prices.

I’ve participated in two HS accreditations and one HS got seriously spanked by the visiting accreditation committee. Local homeowners were very upset that their neighborhood HS got a temporary C+ even though some of these homeowners (parents) were part of the reason why (parent engagement/complaints is one of the rubrics).

It’s all interconnected.


so the conservatives are shoving their values down our throats again and creating a huge nanny state. what else are they doing in this situation that contradicts their rhetoric?

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Umm … everything they actually do?


Not everything, their anti-trans, homophobic, racist and misogynist actions are all right on brand.



exactly. however their anti-trans and homophomic bullshit doesn’t jive with their “small government” mantra. they claim the be anti-racist but they support racist policy. and we all know trump loves to grab women by the pussy so misogynist is sus as well.

thanks for contributing! what more??

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So this really is at the state level and the school board has basically no power in this.


Correct. The state selects textbooks and establishes them as a consistent standard for every public school district in California. For obvious reasons it’s a better system than allowing (usually non-expert and sometimes ideologically motivated) local school boards to choose their own textbooks. Everyone benefits, except the current crop of fascists, bigots, and religious fundies trying to make students more ignorant.

I suppose these particular hatemongers can refuse to use the mandated textbooks in addition to trying not to pay for them, but (per @subextraordinaire) that will only screw up their schools’ accreditations and make it less likely that the students will be accepted by the college of their choice (esp. California’s public universities), with knock-on effects for local property values.

Local school boards still have a lot to do. They set budgets and schedules, often have the final say on the hiring and firing of administrators and teachers and support staff, approve vendors, cut or establish extra-curricular programmes, handle closings due to weather, etc. As long as they aren’t breaking state educational and safety and civil rights standards and stick to their jobs, they serve an important function carrying out local tasks that the state can’t fulfill.


Just like Idaho!


Funny how right-wingers only express “concern” over this completely unremarkable and long-standing practice when a Dem-run state is imposing “woke tyranny” on local school boards". And never expect them to discuss the fact that Texas alone makes sure every textbook in the country besides California leans right. No questions asked about that being an unfair imposition on local community values, no siree.


Well, that’s because when liburals do it, it’s tyranny, but when conservatives do it, it’s just being a good American! /s


Off course. That’s because Texas has the highest ranked education system in the country. You only model the best!


Fretting over a kid in Temecula, CA reading about Harvey Milk, but silence about generations of Black kids in NYC reading about what a kind and noble man Robert E. Lee was.

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Also notably absent from the conversation: bringing up the texts and lessons that make BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ students “uncomfortable.”
Because this is all only about one group.


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