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Opinion

Understanding the Consequences of Banning Books in K-12 Education

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Understanding the Consequences of Banning Books in K-12 Education
Explore the historical and contemporary issues surrounding the banning of books in public K-12 schools. Discover how parental guidance can serve as a more effective educational strategy, fostering critical thinking and empathy while respecting the freedom to read.

Our children were born in the early 70s. There was no Internet. Indeed, there were no smartphones, computers, or tablets. Instead, our kids had a mother who read to them when they were a few weeks old. She also taught them how to read. We had books everywhere. As a result, our children became voracious readers. They read fiction and non-fiction. It's no wonder both daughters earned degrees in American Language and Literature. That's why we must take the current controversy over book banning seriously.

The freedom to read is a fundamental right that forms the cornerstone of a robust democratic society. However, banning books in public K-12 schools has periodically surfaced throughout history, bringing this freedom under scrutiny. The records numerous instances of censorship challenges, highlighting the pervasive nature of this issue.

This video from PBS News reports on the top 10 books people have tried to ban.

Historical Examples

The negative impact of banning books in education becomes apparent when examining historical cases. A notable example includes Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel "Fahrenhei 451," ironically a commentary on the dangers of censorship itself, which frequently landed on the ALA's list of challenged books due to its "offensive language" and "unsuited to age group" complaints.

Similarly, Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," lauded for its penetrating exploration of racial inequality, has been frequently challenged or removed due to its

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Have Smartphones Ruined Public Education?

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Have Smartphones Ruined Public Education?
I used to think that students having smartphones in school was a bad thing. Not any more. Here are my reasons why.

The short answer is "No!" As a parent, grandparent, and former teacher, I assumed the answer would be "Yes!" Smartphones are everywhere. Young people spend hours staring at those tiny screens. They most certainly can be a distraction. But the bottom line is that smartphones are affordable communication tools for students from various socio-economic levels.

Advantage No. 1

The whole point of K-12 education is to teach young people how to think critically, analyze information, and organize academic work and other related activities. Smartphones are incredibly efficient for managing all kinds of data. Teaching a young person how to organize her work, take notes, and set reminders lays the groundwork for success in whatever endeavors she takes up after graduating high school.

Advantage No. 2

Smartphones level the playing field by making a powerful computing tool available to students who otherwise could not afford a traditional laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Smartphones are also invaluable when textbooks are not available.

Advantage No. 3

With the advent of smartphones and their tremendous computing power came apps. So I asked ChatGPT for a list of educational apps, and this is what it produced:

  1. Kahoot!: This app allows teachers to create quizzes and games for their students, which can be played in the classroom or remotely.
  2. Duolingo: Duolingo is a language learning app providing interactive lessons in dozens of languages.
  3. Khan Academy: Khan Academy offers a wide range of free online courses and lessons in subjects such as math, science, and history.
  4. Quizlet: Quizlet
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Where Did the Members of the 115th House of Representatives Go to School?

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Where Did the Members of the 115th House of Representatives Go to School?
Find out where the members of the 115th House of Representatives went to school and how many chose private school over public school for their own children.

The world of education in the United States is in a constant state of flux. Year after year, educational reform and new policies are passed that change the face of American education. As such, it is important to consider the educational background of the people who are representing the American public in approving or denying these policies and reforms.

We completed a survey of the 115th to gather information about the educational background of its members. We also gathered information about the type of education each Representative chose for his or her children. The results of that survey are summarized below along with some interesting points and thought-provoking questions.

Background on the United States Congress

The United States Congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Members of both are chosen through direct election, though it is possible for vacancies on the Senate to be filled via gubernatorial appointment. Congress is made up of a total of 535 voting members.

The Senate is comprised of 100 senators which are elected at large by their constituents for a six-year term. Two representatives are allocated to each state. The House of Representatives is comprised of 435 voting members as well as six non-voting members that represent Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Washington, D.C. Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms, each representing a single district.

Within the 115th House of

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