This fall, students are returning to school in the middle of yet another culture war attack on civil rights, liberties, and learning.

As activists and lawmakers bully local school districts and libraries into banning books about LGBTQ people, racism, history, and other subjects, the value of these subjects to students has gotten little to no attention.

So this week in OtherWords, Robin Savannah Carver writes about what having access to these books would have meant for her as a young trans person growing up in conservative military communities. Censorship didn’t prevent her from living as a trans person, she writes — but it did make it more difficult and cruel.

Meanwhile, Jim Hightower writes about how political attacks are making school libarians’ jobs miserable. He compares it to another once-secure but now immiserating profession: long-haul trucking.

For more back to school op-eds, if you missed last week’s offerings — including Olivia Alperstein’s account of living with student debt, Chase Brown’s plea for policy makers to respect students, and Rebekah Entralgo and Bella DeVaan’s case for better teacher pay — give them a look today!

Finally this week, Rebecca Karpen reports on “baby bonds,” government-funded investment accounts for kids that are being considered from New York and California to Iowa and Wisconsin.

New This Week…

The Human Cost of LGBTQ Book Bans | Robin Savannah Carver
Banning kids from learning about themselves and each other isn’t just ineffective — it’s cruel.

Opportunity Shouldn’t Be About Luck | Rebecca Karpen
Cities and states are experimenting with “baby bonds” to narrow America’s yawning opportunity divide.

What Do Truckers and Librarians Have In Common? | Jim Hightower
Both used to be good jobs, but attacks by ideologues and greedy corporate bosses have pulled the rug out.

Nuclear Power: A Panacea? | Khalil Bendib
The war in Ukraine is blurring the lines between civilian and military nuclear programs.

In Case You Missed It…

Biden’s Student Debt Relief Is a Big Deal | Olivia Alperstein
I borrowed modestly, worked on campus, and still had to skip meals to make loan payments — and I was one of the lucky ones.

Schools Won’t Be Safe Until Lawmakers Respect Students | Chase Brown
Lawmakers are filling schools with police and viciously targeting students and teachers. How are kids supposed to learn?

Want More Teachers? Start Valuing Education | Bella DeVaan and Rebekah Entralgo
Too many lawmakers are happy to dole out subsidies for the rich and corporations while resisting pay increases for educators.

Pass the MAT Act to Defeat Overdoses | Sherri Ham
In football families like mine, the game means pain — and all too often, addiction to painkillers. Lawmakers can help.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute

OtherWords commentaries are free to re-publish in print and online — all it takes is a simple attribution to OtherWords.org. To get a roundup of our work each Wednesday, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.