Educators Won’t Be Silenced: Register for Webinar Addressing Book Banning
Since the historic SCOTUS ruling in 1982, Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District v. Pico, which ruled that school boards cannot remove books because they disagree with them, describing libraries as spaces of “voluntary inquiry,” book bans and challenges have continued. The education field is based upon the values of intellectual freedom that were upheld by this and other Supreme Court decisions; however, the executive director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom recently stated in an interview, “We’re seeing an unprecedented volume of challenges.” While there is a formal “challenge” process for censoring information in libraries and curriculum, the enormous increase in political pressure has prompted some school districts to abandon their policies and begin pulling the books without undergoing this review process. As a result of not abiding by this process, which is legally reserved for challenging content that is “obscene,” books that overwhelmingly depict LGBTQ+ and BIPOC stories are removed from shelves, having been deemed “obscene” by local opinion.
How should we educate candidates on these policies and how to combat them? What is our role as teacher educators to take up the torch of academic freedom on our campuses? These are some of the questions we hope to answer in the webinar, “Ed Censorship and the Role of Book Banning,” on February 1 at 1:00 p.m. EST.
In this webinar, panelists will contextualize the importance of training pre-service teachers and administrators on strategies to combat book-banning efforts when they enter the field. Jenna Spiering will walk through the what, how, and why regarding the current efforts to censor educators and how partnering with librarians can address this threat to democracy. Panelists Rema Reynolds and Kate Kedley will discuss best practices for teacher educators and practitioners to ensure there is honest teaching about racism, LGBTQ+, and other highly censored topics in schools.
Ed Censorship and the Role of Book-Banning
February 1, 2022
1:00 p.m. EST
Rema Reynolds Vassar is a former K-12 public school teacher, counselor, and administrator. She currently organizes parents for the improvement of student achievement and teaches educational leadership to aspiring school administrators. Vassar’s research is centered in schools serving culturally diverse students and families. Committed to every student learning, she works as a consultant for school districts across the country, equipping educators with reflexive practices that allow them to take deliberate action and increase equity and access for all students. With a focus on developing servant leaders committed to radical hope and love, she has also taught and presented at professional conferences throughout the United States and in over 20 countries.
Kate Kedley joined Rowan University in 2017 and is an assistant professor in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Education. Kedley received a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa (language, literacy, and culture), and M.A. from Northern Arizona University (English), and a B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa (English education). Kate also holds graduate certificates in professional writing and in gender, women’s, and sexuality studies. Kedley is a former secondary English language arts and drivers education teacher in Iowa, Arizona, and the Central American country of Honduras. At Rowan, Kedley teaches in the pre-service teacher program. Kedley’s research centers around critical literacy and education, public engagement, LGBTQ and young adult literature, language education, and social and educational movements in Honduras. Kedley has published work in various journals such as the English Journal, Sex Education, the eJournal of Public Affairs.
Jenna Spiering is an assistant professor at University of South Carolina’s College of Information and Communications. Spiering’s research interests lie at the intersection of school libraries, critical youth studies, and children’s/young adult materials. Specifically, Spiering’s work emphasizes the school librarian’s role in selecting, promoting, and curating materials for students in K-12 settings. Some of her recent work has explored representations of gender and sexuality in young adult literature and considers how the presence of these topics affects selection practices. Spiering believes that teaching and learning are both social and multidirectional. She sees her role in the classroom as a facilitator of critical thinking and is constantly learning alongside and from her students. Therefore, discussion and civil discourse are key components of any course she teaches. She also strives to highlight diverse voices and perspectives in the texts and materials assigned in her courses —often challenging the canon of traditionally taught texts both in schools and in academic settings. She teaches courses in children’s and young adult materials, and school library curriculum and program development.