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AACTE Report Examines Education Censorship in Institutions of Higher Ed

AACTE today released a newly commissioned report on The State of Education Censorship in Institutions of Higher Ed and Implications for the Field. The report, authored by AACTE member Ashley L. White, Ph.D., is a comprehensive overview of proposed and enacted censorship in education impacting educators, students, and preparation for the next generation of teachers.

“Ashley White’s vitally important report for AACTE underscores the serious and unprecedented threat higher education faces from educational censorship legislation,” said Jeremy C. Young, senior manager, Free Expression and Education, PEN America. “As White argues, teacher education programs are at particular risk, even in states where censorship laws ostensibly target only K-12 schools. These laws disrupt equitable practices in teacher training programs, restrict the academic freedom of faculty and students, and contribute to the worsening national teacher shortage.”

The AACTE report explores four themes: the erasure of ethno-racial diversity in schools through restrictive teaching; the erasure of sex, gender, and LGBTQ+ diversity in schools through restrictive teaching; distorted narratives through whistle-blown language; and funding.

Currently, approximately 19 pieces of censorship legislation have been passed in states across the country. The report serves as a call to action for all educational stakeholders—including but not limited to educators, administrators, parents, and higher education faculty and staff.

“Censorship legislation is dangerous to our democracy. When this legislation is passed, it leads to the suppression of different voices and ideas. This creates an environment where people are less likely to have open discussions and exchange different points of view. As a result, society becomes more divided,” said National Director of Education Innovation and Research for the NAACP Ivory Toldson. “In order for our students to be successful, they must have access to a quality education that is free from censorship and distortion. We will use this report to inform our work with more than 2 million supporters and 2,200 NAACP units in fighting for educational equity and excellence for all students.”

AACTE remains committed to supporting and advocating for intellectual freedom on behalf of the educator preparation community and the profession through professional learning events on censorship at its Washington Week conference, webinars, and its coalition work with partners in the field.  As the leading voice in educator preparation, AACTE continues to monitor the effects of the censorship climate and legislation on both teacher educators and PK-12 practitioners.

Access the report at aacte.org and explore the Addressing Censorship Toolkit with resources from AACTE and organizations also combatting censorship legislation: GLSEN, PEN America, NAACP, and more.