RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced new standards on how school districts should remove “obscene content” from libraries.
“The policy that we saw released doesn’t necessarily add a lot to what is already in the field but it addresses or intends to address some political concerns,” said Monty Exter, Senior Lobbyist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators.
TEA’s s efforts come as Gov. Greg Abbott works to remove all books that are “inappropriate” or “pornographic” in schools. Exter said he hopes districts take a look at all of the facts surrounding this subject.
“As districts are responding to this new policy, that they in fact don’t get caught up in political wins and try to perhaps overcorrect on an issue that is likely not even an issue,” said Exter.
In TEA’s new standards, they emphasize that parents should have a larger role in how books are selected, but Exter explains they have always been a part of school guidelines and decisions.
“They are well versed and have a long experience with having processes that allow parents access to those books, knowledge of what the titles are, and the ability to interact with the district,” said Exter.
This has been an ongoing debate about what should and shouldn’t be allowed in school libraries. Exter shares the long-term impacts this could have on student education.
“Certainly we don’t want there to be a chilling effect on the diversity of the material that students have to work with moreover we want to ensure that local parents and local educators have a process where they can work together,” he said.
These new standards are not required for school districts to take part in but TEA is strongly encouraging them. Exter said school districts should still be thoughtful and create policies that help with communication among parents and teachers.