Intellectual Freedom Center
All students have the right to materials and educational experiences that promote open inquiry, critical thinking, diversity in thought and expression, and respect for others.
News and Updates
The updates and news presented here are representative of, but not comprehensive coverage of, NCTE’s ongoing Intellectual Freedom work. Due to the confidential nature of individual cases and our commitment to protecting teachers, items posted are all public in nature.
NCTE in the News
Statement on the Doublespeak Award and Anti-Censorship Efforts (February 7, 2022)
Beating back book bans: How to keep a challenge from becoming a crisis (District Administration, February 24, 2022)
The Power of Storytelling: A Critical Conversation with George M. Johnson (released March 8, 2022)
Freedom to Teach: Statement against Banning Books (released March 15, 2022)
In the Culture Wars, Teachers Are Being Treated Like ‘Enemies’ (Education Week, March 15, 2022)
Teachers to culture warriors: Stop treating us as enemies (The Washington Post, March 22,2022)
Open Books, Open Doors poster resource (in partnership with School Library Journal, PEN America, the National Coalition Against Censorship, Library Journal, and FReadom, May 2, 2022)
Unite Against Book Bans (national partner with ALA’s initiative, May 9, 2022)
Partnership with the National Coalition Against Censorship (January 26, 2021)
Cosigned nonpartisan coalition statement (June 23, 2021)
Fairfax school system pulls two books from libraries after complaints over sexual content (Washington Post, September 28, 2021)
Calls to Ban Books by Black Authors Are Increasing Amid Critical Race Theory Debates (Education Week, September 30, 2021)
Backlash to school books centering on race, sex and LGBTQ people turns into conservative rallying cry (Washington Post, November 12, 2021)
Prize-winning 1619 Project now coming out in book form (Associated Press, November 13, 2021; story picked up by numerous additional outlets)
Fighting Book Bans: A National Teach-In Virtual event (Cosponsored with PEN America, December 15, 2022)
NCTE’s Standing Committee Against Censorship provides anticensorship support by helping to create and update multiple resources, providing Annual Convention sessions, and doing other work related to censorship and book challenges as needed. Here is a summary of some of their recent and upcoming work:
In 2022 the committee
- Will release an updated How to Write a Rationale document and begin adding to our already impressive list of book rationales.
- Has and will continue to provide support to teachers that addresses the current storm of censorship, beginning with a plenary speaker appearance at TCTELA’s annual conference in February 2022.
- Will provide free webinars on censorship for state affiliates. (While the committee plans to reach out to affiliate leaders directly to schedule these events, you may also email IntellectualFreedom@ncte.org with any questions.)
- Will select the 2022 NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award.
- Will provide 2022 Annual Convention sessions that directly provide tools and support to teachers.
- Released multiple statements in 2022 against censorship and in support of teachers and their freedom to teach. Links to each statement can be found in the News section above.
- Continues to confront school districts and administrators regarding troubling censorship circumstances by signing multiple letters to school districts and administrators opposing the removal of books in tandem with the National Coalition Against Censorship and their partners.
- Responds to urgent requests from NCTE members across the country within 24 hours. Additionally, we provide access to rationales, policy statements, connections to state affiliate groups, and access to the Free Expression Educators Handbook.
- Will release a new rationale database for members and work to create and add many additional rationales in the months to come.
- Will participate in the annual Banned Books Week celebration as an active member of the Banned Books Week Coalition.