How the Brooklyn Library Helped the Battle Book Bans in Oklahoma

Good morning. Today is Monday. We’ll take a look at how a QR code from the Brooklyn Public Library was envisioned in the resignation of an Oklahoma teacher. We’ll also look at how New York officials face questions about oversight of Hasidic schools as the state’s Board of Trustees reviews rules to keep private schools up to minimum academic standards..

The classroom that Summer Boismier used to teach was about 1,400 miles from the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza. Boismier, who describes herself as a “self-employed” newbie, wittily added that her mother “just says I’m unhave a job” – will be making the trip next week or so.

Boismier resigned as a high school English teacher in Norman, Okla., after posting a QR code directing students to the Brooklyn library’s Books UnBanned program, created to reach readers in places where books can be taken off the shelf.

Her students walked into the first day of school last month and found the bookshelves in her room wrapped in red paper. On the paper, she wrote “books that the state doesn’t want you to read.”

Boismier said the display is a response to a state law called HB 1775 that was enacted in May to limit what public schools can teach about race and gender. She said she spent two minutes in class talking about QR codes. One parent soon complained. She was placed on administrative leave and summoned to a meeting with the school administration.

She said she resigned hours after the meeting “because it became pretty clear to me that there was absolutely no way I could do my job with the HB 1775 hanging over my head.” Ryan Walters, state secretary of education, request revocation of Boismier’s teaching certificatewrote on Twitter that she has no “Oklahoma values.”

Asked if Boismier had broken any regulations, a spokesman for Norman public schools said, “I don’t know if there are specific regulations.”

The spokesman, Wes Moody, said the meeting with Boismier was scheduled “because a parent came to us with concerns”, but it was confidential and he was “no secret” about what said. Boismier told me she made no partisan political statements in class but told her students she covered the shelves “because of the big law.”

Moves to ban books have escalated across the country, with conservative parents, activists and lawmakers adopting increasingly drastic tactics to challenge the titles. Boismier’s trip to Brooklyn will coincide with Banned Book Week, appointed in 1982 by an alliance including the American Library Association to draw attention to efforts to challenge free speech.

Linda Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the library, indicating that 5,100 requests for the digital card have come in since Books UnBanned began in the spring. She said the library has lent about 20,000 items.

She said requests are often accompanied by “cynical emails” from people who say they don’t have access to the books they want to read. Last year, the American Library Association counted censorship efforts involving just under 1,600 books.

“If you run a public library whose mission is to provide access to the world’s information and knowledge, and you find libraries across the country banned from doing so, that’s deplorable,” Johnson said. “This is at the heart of democracy. It is a First Amendment right that is at stake. The idea that the government would legislate around that is extremely intimidating to those in our work. “


Rain is forecast in the late afternoon, with temperatures ranging from a low of 70 to a low of 80. At night, watch out for showers and thunderstorms in some places.


Valid until September 26 (Rosh Hashana).

One day after one New York Times investigation shows students in some Hasidic . schools As one of the worst performers on standardized tests in the state, the state’s Governing Board will review proposed rules this week to hold the state accountable for ensuring that schools Hasidic teaches secular subjects like English and math.

Ban, 17-person agency that sets education policy in New Yorkexpected to approve suggestion on Tuesday.

Schools, known as yeshivas, could face a loss of public funding if they are found to be denying children a basic non-religious education. The Times investigation found that many Hasidic Yeshivas boys had only 90 minutes a day to read and do math, just four days a week.

The Times investigation found that 99% of the thousands of Hasidic boys who took the state’s standardized tests in reading and math in 2019 failed. Like other private schools in New York, yeshivas are not required to give tests. Most do not, but some do, as a condition of receiving public funding. The Times investigation found that more than $1 billion in state funds went to Hasidic boys’ schools over the past four years.

The vote of the Regents will introduce a contentious, years-long process. It revolves around a state law dating back to the 1890s That said, private schools must offer a curriculum that is “essentially equivalent” to education in public schools.

State education officials have struggled for years to come up with regulations amid protests from the Hasidic community. A judge nullified a series of proposals on a procedural matter in 2019. The state withdrew another in 2020 after Hasidic leaders once again voiced their objections.

The proposed rules now before the Regents detail the requirements less. The state has not outlined clear consequences for schools that fail to comply with guidelines that provide basic curriculum in English, math, science, and civics. The proposed rules also do not set a minimum amount of time that schools must devote to non-religious instruction.

After the proposals were made public in March, Hasidic leaders stopped them, sending yeshiva students home with leaflets urging parents to attack officials with letters related to offer.

Last week, after The Times sent schools a summary of their findings, a number of Hasidic groups defended the education schools provide in articles and statements of views and refuted some. Findings of The Times.

Warnings about yeshivas have long gone viral, and The Times found that three employees of the state education ministry raised concerns that they believe their superiors have ignored; A department spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. And the politicians who may have pressed for change have appeased the Hasidic community, which Evan Stavissky, a longtime political consultant, calls “part of the New York political fabric.”


Dear Diary:

During my 20s, I lived alone in Manhattan. I have two cats, which my siblings and I adopted as kittens. Between work and play schedules, I know there will be times when they need each other to work together.

One night, when I got home late, it wasn’t until I was sitting in the taxi that I realized that I had forgotten to get my very special cats’ favorite food. I asked the taxi driver to stop at the next open bodega we passed so I could buy some.

He refused my request, saying there was no need to stop.

I’m not arguing, thinking I’ll just walk to the local late-night spot a few blocks away when I get home.

After stopping in front of my building, I got out of the car and so did the driver. He opened the box and there it was: a container full of cat food. He gave me two cans.

“No charge,” he said.

It’s my cats’ favorite brand.

Robin Hoffmann

Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and Read more Metropolitan Diary here.

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