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This is fine


In Ron DeSantis’s totally not fascist Florida, so really stop using that word you’re just being hysterical about this, teachers are currently free to provide their students with books from a list of nearly 800 approved titles without fear of arrest or imprisonment. If that’s not Freedom then I guess I don’t know what that word means:

Students arrived in some Florida public school classrooms this month to find their teachers’ bookshelves wrapped in paper — or entirely barren of books — after district officials launched a review of the texts’ appropriateness under a new state law.

School officials in at least two counties, Manatee and Duval, have directed teachers this month to remove or wrap up their classroom libraries, according to records obtained by The Washington Post. The removals come in response to fresh guidance issued by the Florida Department of Education in mid-January, after the State Board of Education ruled that a law restricting the books a district may possess applies not only to schoolwide libraries but to teachers’ classroom collections, too. . .

Breaking the law is a third-degree felony, meaning that a teacher could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for displaying or giving students a disallowed book.

Oh I’m sure that will never happen. OK it might happen once or twice or five times pour encourager les autres, but omelets/eggs etc.

And Marie Masferrer, a board member of the Florida Association for Media in Education and a school librarian who used to work in the Manatee County system and remains in close touch with former colleagues in that district, said they have told her that students are struggling.

At one school, “the kids began crying and writing letters to the principal, saying, ‘Please don’t take my books, please don’t do this,’” Masferrer said.

Those kids should just say a prayer of thanks to Confederate Jesus that they didn’t get shot by somebody exercising his Second Amendment rights.

A spokeswoman for Duval County Public Schools wrote in a statement Monday that “we are taking the steps required to comply with Florida law,” adding that “there are almost 800 titles currently approved, and the list grows each day as books are reviewed.”

I would love to see a list of the disallowed titles.

I still distinctly remember reading a biography of Robert E. Lee that I got out of the Thurston Elementary School library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the spring of 1968 (Ann Arbor at that historical moment was along with Berkeley about as “left” a town as you could find in the USA, which of course wasn’t saying much, but still). The biography was, I realize today, a sort of Dunning School For the Little Ones hagiography, which treated Lee as an unambiguous hero, who dealt with a tragic situation in a completely noble and praiseworthy way.

All teaching is political by nature. In 2023, simply teaching little girls to read is a political act in some parts of the world. In 2023, in Ron DeSantis’s Florida, it may well turn out to be a de jure or de facto crime for teachers to reveal even indirectly to children many of the most basic historical truths about the United States, that gay people exist, etc. etc. etc.

At this moment it seems almost certain that either Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis will be the Republican nominee for president next year. I still think the odds strongly favor Trump for various reasons, but in the end I really don’t know which outcome would be worse.

In any event, DeSantis’s nascent ascendence is if nothing else further proof that Donald Trump is more symptom than cause of the Republican party’s fascist turn, although he remains very much both things.

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