New Law Aims to Thwart Culture War Book Bans

A bill aimed at cracking down on school board book bans has passed the California Legislature and is expected to be signed by the governor at any moment. 

Assembly Bill 1078, authored by Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Perris), is an urgency measure, which means it will take effect immediately. Newsom’s staff helped craft the bill. 

California law already mandates that instructional materials contain accurate portrayals of history, as well as diverse viewpoints and experiences of the state’s racial, ethnic, and other historically marginalized groups. As EdSource explains, AB 1078 “would create a new complaint process for parents and other residents to ask the state superintendent of public instruction to investigate and overrule a board’s book ban if found to violate the FAIR Act or other anti-discrimination laws.” 

If a superintendent determines that a district school board is out of compliance with the FAIR Act, AB 1078 says the state can order and provide necessary textbooks to the students and fine the district to recover the cost. 

“California is the true freedom state: a place where families — not political fanatics — have the freedom to decide what’s right for them,” said Newsom. “With the passage of this legislation that bans book bans and ensures all students have textbooks, our state’s Family Agenda is now even stronger. All students deserve the freedom to read and learn about the truth, the world, and themselves.”

Critics counter the opposite. They say Sacramento is increasingly usurping the ability of local districts and parents to make decisions about education.


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