Over the past year, school districts in 26 states have banned more than 1,100 books, according to a report by PEN America. At the same time, state legislators have introduced educational gag order bills to restrict teachers’ speech. At least 12 of these proposals have become law in 10 states.
Against this backdrop, students in the “Gender and Education” spring course at Washington University in St. Louis are examining issues surrounding gender and sexuality in education — issues like representation in curriculum, experiences of LGBTQ students and teachers and disciplinary policies ranging from dress codes to Title IX compliance.
“In many ways, these are perennial issues in education,” said course instructor Lisa Gilbert, a lecturer in education in Arts & Sciences. “However, they’ve taken on increased urgency given the political activism on both sides of the issue in our current moment.”
Students say the course has been eye opening.