Biden criticizes book bans as effort to ‘score political points’

President Joe Biden speaks during the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Biden on Wednesday decried efforts by some Republican state officials to ban books as an attempt to “score political points” during an event with teachers at the White House.  

“Today there are too many politicians trying to score political points, trying to ban books, even math books,” Biden said at an event honoring the 2022 national and state “teachers of the year.”  

“Did you ever think, even the younger teachers, did you ever think when you were teaching you were going to be worried about book burnings and banning books, all because it doesn’t fit somebody’s political agenda?” he continued.  

“American teachers have dedicated their lives to teaching our children and lifting them up,” Biden added. “We’ve got to stop making them the target of the culture wars. That’s where this is going.”  

Biden didn’t specify which states or school districts he was referring to, but his mention of math textbooks seemed to reference the Florida Education Department’s recent rejection of dozens of math textbooks because it said they contained “prohibited topics,” like references to critical race theory, an academic framework based around the idea that racism is systemically embedded in the nation’s institutions.

Other states, like Texas, have attempted controversial bans on books in schools and public libraries.  

Biden’s remarks represented a rare moment in which the president has commented on so-called Republican “culture wars” over LGBTQ issues and critical race theory. Many of the debates are playing out in the nation’s classrooms.  

During two fundraisers out west last week, Biden criticized Florida Republicans for targeting Disney after the company voiced opposition to a controversial Florida law that restricts discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools across the state.  

Tags Biden Book bans culture wars Joe Biden

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