• By Michelle Castillo, Ed.M. • Knowledge is Power • January 20, 2022 •

Michelle CastilloSchools have once again been reluctantly thrust into the political limelight by elected officials who chose to add fire to a burning building. Instead of supporting schools in keeping children and staff healthy and safe in the midst of the rise of COVID-19 or addressing the looming mental health crisis facing our students after two years of a pandemic, Texas elected leaders chose to score political points at the expense of Black, Brown, and LGBTIA+ students.

In Georgia, Texas and states across the country, we see a coordinated effort to censor teachers and young people and to ban books and instructional materials dealing with race, sexual orientation, and gender identity in schools and public libraries.

While we know that these efforts to censor the representation and lived experiences of our Black, Brown and LGBTIA+ students are not new, we stand ready to out-organize and out-coordinate their efforts to undermine the quality of education for all of our children.

This is why I am excited to be joining the IDRA team as the new deputy director of advocacy. I will be leading efforts to envision a culturally-sustaining education that tells the truth, reckons with our historical wrongs, and centers and values the diverse experiences of all of our students.

Help us continue to engage in collective advocacy by sharing your experience!

IDRA is collecting information from educators on how school censorship legislation is affecting the classroom to inform our organizing strategy.

Survey questions include what guidance schools or educators have received in implementing legislation and what, if any materials or curriculum changes teachers and schools have had to make as a result of legislation.

If you or your classroom are experiencing particular harms from Texas’ SB 3 or classroom censorship laws in other southern states and would like support or assistance in developing a response, please reach out directly to me by email!

Finally, make sure you’re part of our community engagement and advocacy listserv to ensure you don’t miss out on receiving all of IDRA’s resources and materials. And tell your friends!

[©2022, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the January 20, 2022, edition of Knowledge is Power by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]