How do we assist teachers about
understanding the First Amendment?
The Knight Foundation’s recently released 2016 study of student and teacher beliefs, Future of the First Amendment, reported teacher responses that raise First Amendment concerns.
Teacher results showed:
• When asked if high school students should be allowed to report on controversial issues in their student newspapers without the approval of school authorities, 66 percent of students strongly or mildly agreed. Teachers had a 61 percent disapproval rate.
• When asked whether students should be allowed to express their opinions about teachers and school administrators on Facebook or other social media without worrying about being punished by teachers or school administrators for what they say, 33 percent of teachers strongly or mildly agreed while 54 percent of students did.
• When asked whether schools should be allowed to discipline students who post material on social media outside of school that school officials say is offensive, 28 percent of students strongly or mildly agree while 52 percent of teachers did.
To get a better idea of how journalism education organizations can react to these findings, we would appreciate your thoughts:
• How can journalism teachers reach out to their peers who don’t understand journalistic freedoms or the importance of those freedoms?
• How can journalism teachers reach out to their non-journalism peers who don’t support journalistic freedoms for scholastic media about the importance of those freedoms?
• What types of materials should JEA develop to assist these teachers?
• How can journalism teachers and media advisers support other journalism teachers who face prior review and restraint of student media (especially those who do not or cannot attend JEA conventions)?
• How can journalism teachers and media advisers support other journalism teachers who don’t support freedom of expression for scholastic media (especially those who do not or cannot attend JEA conventions)?
• What additional resources or materials should JEA develop to support journalism and non-journalism teachers (especially those who do not or cannot attend JEA conventions)?
• Other comments or suggestions?
Please use the comment section below or contact SPRC current director John Bowen or committee member Lori Keekley with your thoughts.
The Knight Foundation survey, compiled by Kenneth Dautrich of the Stats Group, polled 11,998 high students and 726 teachers. It is the sixth Knight FoundationFuture of the First Amendment since 2004. Past results can be found here.