Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Could ABoR expand to high schools? 

As I've noted in the past, the Academic Bill of Rights proposed in Minnesota and elsewhere have focused on colleges, not high schools. But the Christian Science Monitor reports that David Horowitz and others have decided to expand their field of operations.

"The last six months [have] been kind of a watershed for the academic-freedom movement," says Bradley Shipp, national field director for Students for Academic Freedom, a group founded by conservative activist David Horowitz in 2003. "It is going to filter itself down to the K-12 level."

It's an important battle front, proponents say, because younger students are more impressionable. They are concerned about multicultural lesson plans that go into detail about the Muslim faith, and cite incidents such as a young child being reprimanded by a teacher for writing about wanting to become a soldier.

The usual handwringing over silencing teachers ensues. One should ask, however, why academic freedom is granted to teachers? They are not to engage in cutting-edge research and create knowledge; they are working with minors who are more susceptible to misrepresentation of opinion as fact. If a teacher doesn't have academic freedom to teach intelligent design creationism, she probably also doesn't have it to teach that "it's all about oooooooooil."

Interested readers should take a look at the bill of rights for high school students in this group's pamphlet.