By Joanna Button
What’s happening: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has criticized Republican states for banning books in schools, claiming “education is under assault.” Last week, he warned California schools against removing books they consider inappropriate. Conservatives argue that removing books with explicit and ideological content is reasonable and criticize California for requiring classroom instruction on left-leaning ideologies.
Mandatory class material: Since 2011, California K-12 history and social science lessons must include LGBT role models. Since 2021, high schoolers must pass an ethics course to graduate. The course’s curriculum teaches students to “critique empire building” and its “relationship to white supremacy,” and “build […] a post-systemic-racism society.” California’s recommended books for kindergarteners include a book about gender identity, telling children they may be non-binary.
Educational standards: Newsom’s claims that California values education more than red states aren’t backed up by its academic quality. In California, only half of third graders can read at grade level. In 2017, California was sued for not ensuring the literacy of public school students–in 800 schools, 75 percent of students were not reading at grade level. Experts say California is doing little to improve those rates.
- Progressivism doesn’t help: As part of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, some school districts in California have removed honors classes for freshmen and sophomores, with the reasoning that the courses are not enrolling enough black and Latino students.
Big picture: While Florida has removed lewd political ideologies from school curriculums, textbooks, and classrooms, California embraces them, openly mandating them into its educational system. The recent attacks from Gov. Newsom are reflective of California's now-reactionary stance in the culture war. For instance, in response to conservative states banning sex changes for minors, California declared itself a sanctuary state, encouraging children from other states to undergo gender transition procedures there.
Hypocrisy: Last year, Newsom posted a picture of himself reading next to a stack of books with the caption: “reading some banned books to figure out what these states are so afraid of,” mocking conservatives. One book pictured was To Kill A Mockingbird–which had been banned in a California school district for its use of the n-word.