Skip to main content

How Discriminatory Censorship Laws Imperil Public Education

“Discriminatory censorship laws” regulate classroom conversations about racism, gender identity, and other topics targeted in the backlash against efforts toward inclusive classrooms and curricula. This policy brief examines the proliferation of these laws and their impact on K-12 schools, including the creation of hostile learning environments that expose students and educators to a heightened threat of race- and sex-based harassment and to formal sanctions and social ostracization. The laws also foster a climate of fear and anxiety among educators, effectively coercing them to shun critical inquiry and thought on targeted topics and more generally. The result is a curriculum that subtracts comprehensive, culturally attentive content and adds whitewashed and heteronormative narratives of American history and culture. The brief highlights the need for laws, policies, and practices that promote inclusive learning environments that encourage critical thinking, and offers recommendations to constructively counter discriminatory censorship.

Suggested Citation: Feingold, J. & Weishart, J. (2023). How discriminatory censorship laws imperil public education. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date] from