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On Friday New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that, in his role as chairman of both the National Governors Association and the Democratic Governors Association, he had “spearheaded a letter” urging publishers to resist “political pressure” to censor textbooks and educational material in order to placate politicians on the extreme right who object to books that cover race, gender identity, and other hot-button topics. “Our democracy is at stake,” says Murphy, “and in order “to form a more perfect union” we must not bow to politicians like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and instead protect students who are “already marginalized and underrepresented in society.”
The letter was co-signed eight Democratic governors from Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. It was sent to these publishers: Cengage Learning, Goodheart-Willcox, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw Hill Education, Pearson, Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, Savvas Learning Co., Scholastic and Teachers Curriculum Institute.
In NJ, two Republicans candidates for Assembly, Dawn Fantasia and Mike Inganamort responded wit this:
“Mandating the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation to kids who can’t tie their shoes isn’t a ‘core educational value.’ It’s extreme and indoctrination. Likewise, removing sexually graphic books from a children’s library isn’t ‘censorship’, it’s common sense. Phil Murphy is so full of it and parents across the state are standing up to say enough is enough. For Murphy to abuse his office to threaten these companies is outrageous and we call on them to stand strong and push back on Murphy’s radical, far-left agenda for our schools and our state.”
Murphy tweeted out:
Here is the full letter:
Dear Textbook Publishers:
We are deeply troubled by the news of some textbook publishers yielding to the unreasonable demands of certain government representatives calling for the censorship of school educational materials, specifically textbooks. We write to you out of concern that those who are charged with supporting the education of this country’s students, such as yourselves, may be tempted to water down critical information to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
We urge any company who has not yet given in to this pressure to hold the line for our democracy. Our country’s future is at stake. You hold enormous influence in shaping how our great nation’s history is told, and the consequences of your actions will reverberate for generations to come. Honestly grappling with our legacy has long been a cornerstone of American patriotism.
If we are to continue striving for a more perfect union, then we must carry out our duty of ensuring future generations understand our full history as well as the contributions of all its people. That includes learning from our mistakes. These lessons are vital to preparing our youth to fully engage in a free and fair democracy.
Sanitizing our educational texts for the mercurial comfort of a few today ultimately limits the next generation’s ability to make informed decisions for themselves. Moreover, the negative impact that censorship and book-banning has on this nation’s students – many already marginalized and underrepresented in society – cannot be overstated during a time when we are facing an unprecedented youth mental health crisis. Each and every single student in the United States of America has the right to exist, to be seen, and to be represented. It is an important priority of our administrations to ensure that any educational materials censored to appeal to political pressure do not negatively impact our educational goals and values in our states.
As such, please know that we will be working closely with all of our school districts to ensure they are fully informed of which texts include comprehensive and accurate educational information – and which have been inappropriately censored – when they consider procurement of instructional materials for the nearly nine million students our states serve.
Governor Phil Murphy