Statement for the Record: Free Speech Under Attack — Book Bans and Academic CensorshipChild Rights Education
Bruce Lesley submitted this testimony for the record to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties regarding free speech and book bans.
Excerpt from the letter:
When it comes to education, what matters and what is in the best interests of students is that we ensure they have the knowledge, skills, and ability to think carefully, critically, and creatively to meet the challenges in an ever-changing world so they can thrive and succeed individually and as future decision-makers in our democracy. For kids, their needs, concerns, and best interests should always be at the forefront. We should also never forget that the primary purposes of education are to improve the learning and knowledge of students for their own success but also to create a better-informed citizenry to protect and enhance our democracy. To achieve these goals, kids need to be exposed to a spectrum of thought and experience, be challenged to understand and reflect upon a diversity of perspectives and viewpoints, be challenged with a first-class curriculum to prepare them for the real world, and learn the truth about our history – both the good and bad. Kids also need to find their place in the world and find materials that reflect themselves, while simultaneously being offered a window to the world beyond. Book bans and censorship do not fulfill such goals and purposes. While educational materials must be age-appropriate, schools must be places for discovery, growth, understanding, and truth.