The Attack on Information: SC efforts to protect schools & libraries

The Attack on Information: SC efforts to protect schools & libraries

Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 5:00pm

Who defines "woke?" Who says your child can't read that? 

Let’s talk with Josh Malkin, Legislative and Policy Advocate, Legal Fellow, ACLU of South Carolina, about authoritarian “culture war” tactics and the efforts to weaponize censorship in South Carolina.

Webinar recording

Webinar recording: The Attack on Information 

Webinar follow-up

Thank you for your interest in “The Attack on Information: SC Efforts to Protect Schools and Libraries” on March 22, 2023. We invite you to join our efforts to empower voters and defend democracy! Here’s the follow-up information we promised you.

How you can help…

Joshua Malkin Legislative and Policy Advocate Legal Fellow ACLU of South Carolina jmalkin [at]

It was great to be with everyone on Wednesday! I'd like to share one additional suggestion for how you can take a stand against censorship.

The majority of South Carolinians are likely unaware of the radical attacks on information, educators, and students. Once informed, many will likely see these efforts for the dangerous attempts at erasure that they are, and join the fight.

Others may be aware of the attacks and need more information to form their opinion. Book banners are working actively to show folks how "dangerous" books can be. These same people need to be hearing from us, South Carolinians who believe it is imperative for our students to have access to diverse and inclusive curriculum and literature.

Please take the time to let your friends and neighbors know that students' freedom to access information is under relentless attack. For sample talking points, visit Thank you for taking a stand!

Privatizing schools as a hidden agenda….

Janelle L. Rivers, Ph.D. LWVSC Education Advocacy Specialist rivers12 [at]

The big picture is becoming clearer. Dark money funders seek to privatize the schools. Coordinated culture-war attacks on multiple fronts include:

• Attempts to ban books and censor content in public libraries and school libraries
• Attempts to restrict curriculum and censor historical content in public schools
• Attempts to intimidate teachers and school administrators who support inclusivity
• Attempts to divert public funds to pay for a variety of expenses related to private schools
• Attempts to impose the religious views of a vocal and well-organized minority on those who do not share their views

All of these tactics have the potential to inflict serious long-term damage on public schools. Do you see a connection between the culture-war tactics against teachers and school districts and the fact that there are three bills in play in the General Assembly that seek to divert public funds to private schools?

South Carolina’s public schools have made outstanding progress in my lifetime. That fact is hidden by rankings in the popular media, which often include factors that are within the control of the General Assembly.

Assessment experts will tell you that the only valid way to compare student achievement from state to state is via the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). If you check the NAEP results for 2022, you’ll see that South Carolina ranks near the national average for fourth graders, while South Carolina’s eighth -grade students didn’t perform as well. Here's the link to that data: .

There’s always a strong correlation between family income and student achievement. The variability among schools within South Carolina is clear proof of that income-achievement relationship. I invite you to study that relationship by examining the school and district report card results at the following link: .

Below is the promised list of resources from our webinar.

League of Women Voters of South Carolina home page:

Freedom to Read SC Coalition Page:

Talking points for opposing book bans:

Merchants of Deception: Parent Props and Their Funders by Maurice T. Cunningham.


Link to H.3728 “South Carolina Transparency and Integrity in Education Act

Link to League’s Senate testimony re H.3728:

LWVSC Education Advocacy resources
Go to or and explore:
Click Advocacy at the top.
Look down the left side of the page and click Legislative Advocacy and then click Human Rights, Services
You’ll find
• a list of bills that the League is following.
• the League’s position on relevant issues
• copies of the League’s testimony on various bills
• a link to the Freedom to Read page that the League is hosting for the Freedom to Read SC Coalition


About our presenter

Joshua Malkin 

Legislative and Policy Advocate, Legal Fellow, ACLU of South Carolina

Josh Malkin joined the ACLU of South Carolina as a Legal Fellow in the fall of 2021. He has since transitioned to become the affiliate's Legislative Advocate. He comes to the ACLU deeply committed to advocating for racial and educational equity and protecting the rights of children.

A graduate of  Columbia Law School, Josh interned for Orleans Public Defenders, the Mississippi Center for Justice, the New York City Civilian Review Board, and completed an externship with the NAACP LDF.

Before law school, Josh spent five years teaching math in New Orleans East. There, he saw how American systems work in concert to maintain a racial hierarchy.

Event Minutes: 
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