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At the time of this writing, legislation has passed in seventeen US states that prohibits or restricts instruction on a widespread array of topics and pedagogical approaches. Nine additional states have legislation proposed or pending. The prohibitions range from bans on the teaching of critical race theory, restrictions on the adoption of pedagogical practices like social emotional learning and culturally responsive pedagogy, and the inclusion of classroom topics related to LGBTQIA+ communities, gender studies, and gender identity.
These laws and regulations are not just rhetoric. In addition to being the basis for queries about the content of our titles, they have created an environment in high schools and at colleges and universities in which course materials are evaluated not solely on their educational merit, but through a political lens. These laws have resulted in a reduction in transparency into how K-12 titles are evaluated and approved by state boards and agencies and a lack of guidance on how community reviews influence the decision-making process. This is even true for titles developed for high school Advanced Placement courses that had been previously taught in classrooms by school districts without complaint and which strictly align to national standards developed by the College Board.
Despite these most recent infusions of politics into the evaluation of course materials, we remain committed to a publishing process that does not compromise the educational value of what we produce. The recent legislation affects the way we conduct business and makes it harder for us to support our educational mission – we oppose these and other legislative acts that create a political barrier between us and the classrooms we serve.
Macmillan Learning: Diverse Views United To Support An Educational Mission
Our company’s mission is to improve lives through learning.
At Macmillan Learning and BFW Publishers, we participate in students’ lives through our publications and digital tools. Our employees and the authors we work with take pride in the learning materials we produce and our contributions to better student outcomes for communities, schools, and universities around the world. To value these things means we also value the right of each employee and author at Macmillan Learning to have a political view of their own and to bring their lived experience to bear in the work we do in partnership every day; it is that very diversity of thought that adds to the quality of our materials and to the betterment of our company.
The breadth of our authors and our publications, our commitment to inclusivity, and the effectiveness of our digital products provide educators with choices and builds equity for every learner in the classroom. You need to look no further than our economics list to see the diversity of viewpoints that we support. From ardent defenders of free market capitalism to proponents of the value of government regulation and intervention in the economy, our authors present a diversity of views and we are proud that several of them have put those views into practice in public service to U.S. presidents from both sides of the aisle.
Our commitment to free speech and diversity of perspectives in the classroom provides a foundation for our stance from which we will not waver: We believe classrooms must be places where ideas are fostered, engaged with, and critiqued – not banned. We believe it is essential for every learner to have a secure classroom environment where an individual’s identity is respected, the inherent human dignity of every person is acknowledged, and their lived experience is valued. We believe that educators and students should see themselves in their learning materials, and our content is written and our digital programs are developed in ways that support that belief. We promote the free exchange of ideas, oppose censorship, and denounce efforts that place politics ahead of pedagogy.
Our Values Are The Lens Through Which We Make Decisions
Our values help us navigate this difficult political climate. We are first and foremost an education company. We agree with PEN America and the American Association of Colleges and Universities that the principle of academic freedom undergirds all academic environments. And further, that “any legislative effort to circumscribe freedom of inquiry and expression in order to hew to political directives and agendas denies students essential opportunities for intellectual growth and development.”
We will meet this evolving political environment head-on by continuing to support free speech and academic freedom, and we will defend our publishing process and our right to publish. We will not compromise the integrity of our content, our values, or the relationships with our authors and each other that bind us through our common mission. We hold to these promises because these principles are encapsulated in our mission, and being a privately held, family owned company, we measure our success by each student we serve more than the next dollar we earn.
We know that what we do makes a difference, and we work everyday to meet our responsibility to unlock the potential of each learner. There are more voices still to be heard, more students still to be reached; as we listen to and learn from them and each other, we are energized by our mission and our role as a positive force in education.