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Sharing your state law with others

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Lessons, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by John Bowen and Lori Keekley

Title

Sharing your state law with others

Description

State laws protecting student press rights mean nothing if students, administrators, school boards and others don’t know what they mean or how they impact the community. For this lesson, students will create an action plan for the various groups in their community about the state legislation.

Objectives

  • Students will evaluate what their state law covers and identify key points to share with others.
  • Students will research key points of their legislation, outline them and seek ways to effectively present them.
  • Students will synthesize these steps into Action Plans for sharing key points with various local communities.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1.D Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.D Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.

Length

50 minutes

Materials / resources

Computers

State Law (see list at the end of the lesson for state links)

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1. Warm up — 5 minutes

The teacher should ask the class if they had last minute questions about their state law. Discuss them as needed, or tell students they will move on create an Action Plan to sell the new state law to administrators, community and board of education.

Step 2. Large group — 5 minutes

Tell students they will create an Action Plan to convince groups, administrators, community and board of education, the value of the new state law. Students can refer to the State Law Sheet and the role play from the earlier lesson.

An Action Plan would be an outline of the arguments, process and rationale for each they would use to explain the importance of having the state law to discuss this with selected community groups. Its contents might well vary depending on the group being addressed.

Step 3. Small groups — 40 minutes

The teacher will divide the class into a group for each of the categories, administrators, community, school board, and ask students to choose one they feel most comfortable with. Remember, each group will target a different audience to inform.

Each group will appoint a team leader (a student with journalism experience or editor would be best) to lead discussion and to record role and process.

Suggested talking points would include:

  • A timeline for the presentation session and which students would present information
  • A plan for publicity to invite members of their target audience
  • Securing a place for the presentation
  • Presentation materials effective for each targeted audience
  • Research need and student responsibilities for that material
  • A script for the presentation
  • Arrangements for sound, lighting and visuals as needed
  • Plans to have publicity/reporting of the presentation

Each team would also plan for future meetings to create materials and finalize times and places. The class, with input from the teacher, would ultimately decide the timeline for presentations (most likely, though, the presentation to the board of education would come last).

Teacher note: Depending on the class composition, this lesson may take more than one day. The students may need an additional day to create the presentation.

State Laws and Codes:

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What’s in your state press law?

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Blog, Law and Ethics, Legal issues, Lessons, Scholastic Journalism | 0 comments

by John Bowen and Lori Keekley

Title

What’s in your state press law?

Description

State laws protecting student press rights mean nothing if students don’t know what they cover. For this lesson, students will examine what their state law protects and what its limitations are. Students will also create a dialogue with stakeholders in order to educate them about what the bill and its impact.

Objectives

  • Students will evaluate what their state law covers
  • Students will locate and quote from their state bill
  • Students will create a dialogue to help inform other stakeholders about the bill.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.8 Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.1.D Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.D Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.

Length

50 minutes

Materials / resources

State law (pick the applicable one from those available at the end of the lesson)

Handout: State law sheet

Rubric: State law rubric

Computer

Definitions of legal terms used in various bills

Lesson step-by-step

Step 1 — Introduction (5 minutes)

Thirteen states have now passed student free expression legislation or codes. While many are similar, no one is exactly like any other.

Have students guess what 13 states have this legislation or state code.

(Teacher note — the states in which legislation has passed include: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island.)

Is your state part of this? (If it is not, have students evaluate one of the other state laws and see Extension 2).

Step 2 — Small groups (20 minutes)

Place students into small groups. Each group will need to complete the “State Law Sheet.” Teachers may need to provide hints about where to find the information either by search or accessing the New Voices USA homepage.

The teacher would also explain why it is important students create a dialogue between a student and either an administrator, school board member, angry parent, angry student or adviser about the bill. The teacher should assign each group one of these people to educate about the significance, relevance and rationale behind the laws, especially as they apply to the stakeholders.

Step 3 — Assessment (25 minutes)

Students will act out the dialogue they created concerning educating someone about the bill. Please see the rubric for point breakdown.

Differentiation

If you have advanced students, you could have students compare their state legislation with another state’s bill. Then they could write a blogpost about whether their legislation needs any changes and why.

We also recommend more than additional class or assignment time for students to work on applying what they learned about their state legislation.

Assessment

The teacher will use the assessment form to evaluate student participation.

Extension Activities

Extension 1:

Have students (in small groups) research the following court cases and reflect upon why they might be used as precedent in a New Voices law:

Tinker v. Des Moines

Bethel v. Fraser

Dean v. Utica

Miller v. California

Morse v. Frederick

The students should present background information about why the court cases laws are relevant and why precise legal language is essential for any such legislation to succeed.

Extension 2:

If your state is not included in the list of 13 states with laws, the teacher might have students use the lesson to focus on differences between two of the state’s legislation is and what should be in students’ state legislation when developed.

Students could also access the New Voices U.S. site and see their state’s status in the New Voices movement and see who to contact if they are interested in helping to pass the bill.

State Laws and Codes:

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Nevada makes 12. Who will be next?

Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Nevada became the latest state to pass New Voices legislation when Gov. Brian Sandoval signed SB 420 into law June 2. The law goes into effect Oct. 1.

Nevada’s signing  followed a similar signing a week earlier in Vermont, making 12 states protecting state legislation.

Supporters of Nevada’s New Voices Facebook page posted, “Thank you, followers and supporters, for making history and giving real meaning back to Justice Fortas’ reminder that neither students nor their advisers ‘shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.’ You have helped ensure that student journalism in Nevada can be, as Justice Brennan famously said, uninhibited, robust, and wide open.'”

As Dan Brown had main character Robert Langdon say in The Lost Symbol, “We are builders. We are creators…” Creating state protection for student free expression is one of the best ways to ensure a long-term foundation for democracy.

Advocating free expression is not a decision to rush into lightly,  but there are a plethora of resources available, and people ready to explain them and assist you. And results creates achieve are immensely worthwhile.

Here are some key links:

• Center of Scholastic Journalism video of its 2016 Legislation Conference

• New Voices  website or Facebook pages

• SPRC’s Blueprint for state legislation

• Individual states seeking to pass legislation  have online sites and Facebook links.

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Why society needs New Voices legislation

Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

Arizona Gov. Ducey shows why
we need journalists who
question those in power

by Lori Keekley, MJE
The idea any New Voices bill would result in students being unsupervised or teachers not mentoring students is preposterous.

That’s the excuse Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey gave for vetoing the Arizona New Voices legislation. The New Voices bill clarifies the roles of advisers, students and administrators; it empowers student voices; it doesn’t protect speech that is libelous, obscene, etc.

The governor did say in the Arizona Capitol Times article these are the next group of journalists “who will hold our government and leaders accountable.”

If students first learn only the news a school administrator deems appropriate is accepted, then we will have fewer journalists who question authority. We should teach students how to question authority — including requesting Freedom of Information Act requests.

We’ve seen how legislation similar to the current New Voices campaign has fostered this authority check Ducey would like to see. In Kansas, students were the only ones who questioned the incoming principal’s credentials.

Additionally, the SPRC has helped students whose administrators try to censor stories on types of birth control, cost of a stadium, coverage of rape culture.

This censorship may impact girls more than boys. According  to the SPLC’s The Active Voice  campaign, girls make ups a majority in high school media. When girls try to cover topics administrators attempt to censor, they may not re-engage.

The fact that Ducey said if this had been college students, he would have signed the bill into law. Too bad for many of our students, they may be too defeated by college to question authority.

It’s time for students’ voices to be empowered and not stifled.

 

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New Voices: Learning the lessons

Posted by on May 9, 2017 in Blog, News, Scholastic Journalism, Teaching | 0 comments

by Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE
There’s good news . . . and then there’s news when it comes to New Voices bills to protect student journalists.

First, the exciting part. Chris Evans, from the University of Vermont and chairman of College Media Association’s First Amendment Advocacy, posted Friday, May 5 on the New Voices USA Facebook page: “Today, Vermont’s New Voices legislation passed BOTH the Senate and House of Representatives. Student free-speech activism FTW!”

And a win it is. As Frank LoMonte reported on the SPLC website, “After months of back-and-forth, student press protections are on their way to the governor’s desk in Vermont.”

The article explains that this was part of “an omnibus education bill” and will now move to Gov. Phil Scott, “who is expected to sign it into law,” SPLC.org reports.

The fourth New Voices bill to get this far since North Dakota started the momentum in 2015, Vermont’s law would give protection to student journalists in K-12 schools and public colleges plus protection to faculty advisers who refuse to censor the legally protected work of their students.

But the other news demonstrates some of the challenges for those attempting to pass similar legislation in their states. Nevada and Michigan both have active bills at the time, but for varied reasons, they are still in process.

Patrick File, a media law professor at University of Nevada, Reno and former SPLC intern, said the way Nevada’s legislature operates creates a couple of challenges. First, the Senate and Assembly meet only every other year. “It’s an absolute sprint for 120 days from February to June,” File said.

File worked with LoMonte, plus a UNLV associate professor, the executive director of the Nevada Press Association and an attorney from the SPLC attorney network to find Senator Nicole Cannizzaro, who was willing and able to sponsor the bill.

File found support from high school advisers in both Reno and Las Vegas. Casandra Workman, CJE, spoke at a Senate committee hearing in Las Vegas, where she teaches, to “address some of the concerns” that had come up. Liz Walsh, MJE from Reno, wrote testimony and Christy Briggs, MJE, also from Reno, took students to the Senate session..

Senate Bill 420 was drafted, as all Nevada’s bills are, by the Legislative Counsel Bureau, a group of lawyers working for the legislators. Although the original bill had been patterned after the successful one in Maryland, the LCB later added amendments its members thought would improve the bill.

Not so, said File and others. Included was language that essentially requires prior review and a disciplinary process for students and advisers (but not administrators) who would prohibit free press.

As of Monday, May 8, File indicated some confidence that LCB would remove the problematic amendments, and the bill could go to the Assembly.

“My takeaway,“ File said, “is the need to be the eyes and ears of the sponsor, who’s not always as knowledgeable about student media and has 20 or 30 bills to follow, but we only have one. We have to stay on top of the language.”

Jeremy Steele, Michigan Interscholastic Press Association executive director, said, “A lot things can happen during the legislative process, and every New Voices campaign will be thrown at least one curve ball. Expect a surprise. Plan for it as best you can.”

That state currently has a bill in the House, sponsored by a Democrat, Rep. Darrin Camilleri, a former high school social studies teacher, “so this bill speaks to issues that he’s passionate about,” Steele said.

The challenge here? Republicans far outnumber Democrats in the Michigan House, 100 to 63.

But Steele and those in Michigan working on New Voices say they appreciate Camilleri’s interest and “look forward to finding ways to work with him.”

Meanwhile, Steele said they have a good record from last year with bipartisan support in the Senate. The previous sponsor, Sen. Rick Jones, chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now working with them on a new version of the bill to “address many of the concerns we heard from stakeholders last session,” Steele said.

Sharing lessons learned like these seems to be one thing that’s helping current legislation move forward. Steve Listopad, then from North Dakota and the driving force between the first New Voices legislation, maintains a website that also contains helpful content from the SPLC.

Other useful tips come in videos from a November 2016 symposium hosted by Kent State University’s Center for Scholastic Journalism. Student media advisers at both the high school and college levels, scholastic press association leaders, lobbyists and others concerned with student voices from 17 states and the District of Columbia, participated. Videos captured all the panels, including one sponsored in part by JEA: “Part 6: Getting Advisers/Students/Scholastic Press Associations Engaged.”

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