Through Nov. 1, 110 educational gag order bills were introduced in the United States during 2023 (down from 143 in 2022), while 14 such bills were passed or adopted this year via legislation or state policies/executive orders (four more than last year), according to a recent PEN America report.

“America’s Censored Classrooms 2023” has a link to PEN America’s Index of Educational Gag Orders. Of the four New Jersey entries being tracked, there’s S598, the synopsis of which says: “Prohibits teaching of critical race theory in public schools; prohibits public school teachers from engaging in political, ideological, or religious advocacy in classroom.”

“The evidence shows that educational gag orders, which are often vaguely worded and erratically enforced, force teachers to self-censor, even beyond the wording of applicable laws,” Eduardo J. Padrón, former Miami Dade College president, writes in his introduction to the report. “In the coming year, I expect censorship advocates to pursue new, creative ways to exert control over public schools and universities. But they will — they must — be met with an increasing wave of resistance from those who know that free schools and colleges make a free people.”

To view “America’s Censored Classrooms 2023,” click here.

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