Tell the Department of Education to lead the fight against right-wing hate and defend the rights of teachers and students now.

Thirty-five states and counting have passed or are considering passing bans on the teaching of “Critical Race Theory” in public schools.

These bills are ugly and hateful. They are also dangerous, especially for teachers.

In most of these states, teachers face suspension or revocation of their teaching license. In some states, like New Hampshire, private citizens are being offered bounties to “catch them in the act.” In every state, teachers are left on their own to figure out how these vaguely written, often overly broad restrictions actually impact what they are trying to teach.

While the Department of Education stays silent, it’s been left up to private citizens and civil rights groups to protect children and teachers from this right-wing hate.

In Oklahoma, the ACLU is leading a lawsuit against the state’s classroom censorship bill, claiming the law limits both students’ and teachers’ First Amendment rights to learn and talk about issues.

In New Hampshire, the American Federation of Teachers is challenging the Divisive Concepts Statute in court. Their case also centers on free speech and “depriving New Hampshire students of their constitutionally and statutorily guaranteed right to an adequate education.” They also include a focus on how the vagueness of what actually qualifies as illegal violates the right to do process guaranteed in the Fourteenth Amendment.

This is a great start in two states, but it hasn’t stopped the right-wing from spreading their hateful agenda to 35 states and counting. And it hasn’t stopped Moms for Liberty from offering $500 to anyone who “successfully catches a public school teacher breaking the law.”

It’s time for the Department of Education to step up. Tell U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to lead the fight against right-wing hate and defend the rights of teachers and students now.

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