New education laws took effect this month. What’s in store for these 2 states?

July 1st marked the beginning of the new fiscal year in most states, bringing along with it new laws that will affect K12 and higher education. But for many teachers and students, they may prove to be disruptive to learning and instruction.

Across the country, new education policies took effect on July 1st, the beginning of the new fiscal year in most states. A handful of them tackle some of the most pressing issues K12 and higher education leaders face today, including school safety and inclusion. Others, however, mark the continuation of the wave of political intervention that has disrupted the traditional methods of teaching and cast a shadow on some of the most underrepresented student populations, who need more support than ever.

Over the past year, several states have already begun efforts to transform school systems and curricula to restrict the teaching of certain topics, including racism and history involving LGBTQ+ issues. But numerous studies point to censorship’s impact on instruction and student learning. For instance, in an article from The Conversation, two researchers discuss the importance of learning about systemic racism following recent efforts in Texas and other states to restrict such teaching. The scholars described the lives of Joshua Houston, an enslaved servant from Texas who later became the county’s first Black county commissioner, and Samuel Walker, his son, who founded one of the first county training schools for African Americans in the state.

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“Americans cannot appreciate the accomplishments of Joshua and Samuel Walker Houston without examining the vicious realities of Jim Crow society,” wrote Jeffrey Littlejohn, professor of History at Sam Houston State University and Zachary Montz, lecturer in the history department at SHSU. “The lesson of their lives, and of the Juneteenth holiday, is that freedom is a precious thing that requires constant work to make real.”

Despite such advocacy, lawmakers across the nation are enacting laws they feel will protect the integrity of K12 and higher education. Here’s a look at several states that are adopting restrictive education laws this school year:


More than 200 laws took effect in Florida on July 1, 2023, USA Today reports. Several directly target discussions and instruction in K12 education. Florida House Bill 1069 could prohibit the teaching of the menstrual cycle before the sixth grade. It also encourages sex education teachers to instruct students that abstinence until marriage is the “expected standard” and to explain the “benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage.”

Another law, which focuses on higher education, was implemented to restrict state universities from allocating federal or state funding toward programs that “advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion.”


House Bill 1376 will ban universities and employers from requiring training on “divisive concepts,” and its definition of divisiveness “could give conservative officials wide latitude to meddle with diversity, equity and inclusion programs,” Ja’han Jones wrote in a blog from MSNBC

John Ragan, the Tennessee state representative who proposed the bill, told The College Fix that he did so in response to complaints he had received from some of the state’s colleges.

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a University Business staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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