Professor David Bloomfield, a professor of education leadership, law, and policy at Brooklyn College and a member of the Urban Education faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center, joins The Thought Project podcast to discuss what’s ahead for K-12 education in a time of deep political division.

Schools have long been places for students to learn and to learn how to become citizens. What happens, though, when parents and lawmakers on the right and left disagree about fundamental rights and freedoms and what it means to be a citizen?

Recently, the Burbank Unified School District banned the novels To Kill a Mockingbird, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, from school reading lists. Approximately 33 states have introduced anti-transgender legislation that disproportionately targets transgender youth and restricts their access to sports, health care, even bathrooms. Bloomfield asserts that the attacks on LGBTQ youth could be curbed by the application of Title IX, which the Biden administration is currently rewriting.

Education has made headlines in New York, too. A New York Times investigative story sparked a recent ruling from the state department of education ordering the city to work with a large yeshiva in Brooklyn to ensure that it introduced secular instruction and complied with state standards, which it was failing to meet. Bloomfield has commented on the issue over the past several years, calling it a classic case of “education rights.”

Bloomfield also weighs in on the contentious reductions of the New York City Department of Education budget. He calls the cuts a “green eyeshade decision” that essentially ignored schools as community hubs that served multiple purposes during the height of the pandemic.