The letter from 10 governors, including Gov. Phil Murphy, urges the textbook publishers to not give in to political pressure. (Rich Hundley III /NJ Governor’s office)
As lawmakers nationwide push to limit the types of books that can be found in schools, Gov. Phil Murphy joined nine other governors to fight censorship of textbooks in a letter released Friday.
Murphy, along with other Democratic governors, called on textbook publishers to “hold the line” and refuse to water down their educational materials at the behest of Republican lawmakers and conservative parents.
“If we are to continue striving for a more perfect union, then we must carry out our duty of ensuring future generations understand our full history as well as the contributions of all its people. That includes learning from our mistakes. These lessons are vital to preparing our youth to fully engage in a free and fair democracy,” the governors wrote in the letter.
They added: “Sanitizing our educational texts for the mercurial comfort of a few today ultimately limits the next generation’s ability to make informed decisions for themselves.”
Friday’s letter was sent to nine major publishers selling textbooks and educational materials.
Murphy is head of the Democratic Governors Association.
In the past year, books about gender, sexual orientation, race, or history have found themselves at the center of political controversy. At least seven Republican-led states have passed laws imposing limits on some educational materials or on the types of books that can be found in school libraries.
According to the American Library Association, more than 1,268 library books and resources were challenged in 2022, the highest since data collection began 20 years ago.
The other governors who signed the letter were Delaware Gov. John Carney, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, Maryland Gov. West Moore, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and Gov. Alert Bryan of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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