Censorship

The School Board Project, Round Two: Book Censorship News, July 29, 2022

School board elections are crucial. They have always been important, but in a time of increased censorship, with big money funding campaigns by right-wing activists at the local board level and newly-elected board members choosing to overreach in their power to remove books, there has never been a more vital time in American history to know who is representing your tax money and values.

While we know what school boards do, how do we know the rest of what is necessary to elect qualified, competent individuals for school boards? What if you happen to be a person interested in running for school board?

Enter The School Board Project.

Thanks to the help of volunteers and partners, we’re building a massive database of every school board, school board election, and related information for anyone to access. This simple database provides information that is challenging to find in isolation, let alone in a large, collective, searchable, and sortable way. Because this is the work of a small group of individuals with limited time, it is and will be a slow process, but we’ll release information in batches. The methodology for determining which states to prioritize is both an art and a science: these are states with high censorship rates, active censorship groups, and upcoming elections worth preparing for, either as a voter or a candidate.

The School Board Project allows anyone to download the spreadsheets and add any relevant information that helps them. For example: individuals or groups may include the names and stances of those running for boards in the sheet to help guide voters and/or as a means of tracking the kind of topics that are producing the most discussion in those districts. It can be useful for those considering a run for school board to collect information about what they need to do to become eligible or how long they have to prepare for a run. The possibilities here are wide open.

Because of how challenging it is to collect all of this information, it is possible there are errors in the number of seats being elected, but we’ve done the best we can with the resources that are publicly available. The states with data available are Florida, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Virginia from round one of the project, and the release of Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wyoming in this round two.

To use the School Board Project, you’ll need to open the document and save a copy. You can work from that copy and manipulate the information as appropriate for you.

Book Censorship News: July 29, 2022

Finally, a must-read from librarian Alex Brown on why libraries need to stop being neutral in the face of human rights violations.

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