Teachers are limiting discussions about politics, social issues

(NewsNation) — A new survey found 65% of teachers are limiting conversations about political or social issues, including those who don’t live in states that legally restrict such discussions.

The 2023 State of the American Teacher study examined how state policies restricting what teachers can discuss are having a chilling effect on those discussions in states that do not impose limits.

Between April 2021 and January 2023, 18 states passed laws that limited classroom discussion around certain topics, including race and gender. Those topics have become political hot buttons for parents who object to the way their children are being taught about race relations in America or learning about gender or sexuality.

Researchers found two-thirds of teachers in K-12 public schools decided to limit instruction on political and social issues on their own. Roughly one-half of teachers reported that they are limited by state, local, district or school-level restrictions on instructional content.

More than 80% of teachers who said they were subject to local restrictions decided to limit classroom conversations while 55% of teachers who were not subject to any restrictions also decided to limit topics of conversation in their classes.

The reasons for limiting conversations remained the same regardless of outside restrictions. Teachers reported they feared upsetting parents and were not sure if they would receive support from their school or district if parents complained.

Teachers also cited a lack of guidance from school and district leadership as a reason for limiting conversation, along with a fear of losing their jobs or licenses.

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