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1 For All

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From H.L.Hall:

Most of you probably are already aware that in two days 1,100 news outlets across the country will participate in an educational campaign about the First Amendment called “1 For All.” If you haven’t heard about it, this posting will serve as an announcement. It’s too bad this campaign is starting in the summer months when most schools are no longer in session. I would hope, however, that when school starts you will continue the campaign in your classrooms, a campaign that several of you have been carrying on for years.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, participants in the “1 For All” campaign include Yahoo, Google, YouTube, Ellen Degeneres, John Mellencamp, LL Cool J and others. They will all be explaining how the First Amendment affects everyday lives.

Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center and the Newseum is the founder of “1 For All.”

“The truth is,” Paulson told the Tennessean, our schools don’t do a very good job of teaching the First Amendment. There are generations of Americans who don’t really have a good handle of what it says.”

Paulson’s comments should not be a surprise to any journalism teacher. JEA’s Student Press Rights Commission has been working for some time on ways to get students and advisers to learn the 42 words we all should value.

A 2008 First Amendment Center survey showed 40% of the respondents could not name even one freedom stated in the First Amendment. A majority knew about freedom of the press, but fewer than 20% could list freedom of the press, freedom of religion or the right to assemble. Even fewer knew about the freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

In a column in the Tennessean, Paulson said “1 For All” was the collaborative effort of educators, artists, journalists, lawyers, and librarians as well as others who believe the “American public would benefit from a greater understanding of the First Amendment and the need to protect all voices, views and faiths.

The campaign will feature ads that celebrate freedom in America and ways we exercise freedoms daily.

Paulson said in his column  the “1 For All” campaign is non-partisan. “It’s all about education,” he said. He indicated  “1 for All” will provide educational materials, course content and study guides for teachers in grades 1-12. He also said “1 For All” will be interactive.

“Students and others,” he said, “will be encouraged to submit photos, videos, songs and stories that reflect the value of freedom in America.”

The focus, Paulson said, would be on all five freedoms.

For more information go to www.1forall.us.

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