On July 1, 2017, Gov. Rick Scott (R) of Florida signed into law House Bill 989, which revised district school board responsibilities related to reviewing and adopting public K-12 instructional materials.
On June 26, 2017, hearings began in the U.S. District Court for Arizona to decide the fate of Tucson’s Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies program. It has been seven years for this educational program to get its day in court. That’s at least two generations of high-school students, who because of narrow minded political concerns, were denied the right to study their own origins.
On this day 20 years ago, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion striking down the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”). This statute constituted the first attempt by Congress to regulate the content of material on the Internet. The CDA made it a crime to place content on the Internet that was ‘indecent’ or ‘patently offensive’ if that content would be accessed by minors under the age of 18.
More than 500 librarians and library supporters attended Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C. on May 1-2. With the Institute of Library and Museum Services threatened for elimination with President Trump’s ‘skinny budget,’ this year’s event saw more attendees at Library Legislative Day than any previous year. This year, I was fortunate to attend as a member of the New Mexico delegation.
The biggest questions concerning Intellectual Freedom in this country have always revolved around the right to speak, write, or otherwise express dissent on any given topic; most importantly on political or social issues.
The Florida legislature is well on its way to approving a bill that could have dramatic consequences for Florida students’ and teachers’ intellectual freedom. Proponents of HB 989 / SB 1210 claim that the bill improves transparency and gives parents a stronger voice in their children’s education. But we have to ask questions about these claims.
ALA’s 2017 Annual Conference is in Windy City Chicago and the Office for Intellectual Freedom will be there staffing the different committee meetings and programs. Committee meetings and programs are open to any attendee, and they’re often a good way to learn about the business of ALA and its intellectual freedom initiatives.
This current battle, in 2017 for the integrity of the classroom isn’t new for Oklahoma or the nation, but this particular bill feels like a retread. The author of Senate Bill 393 is State Senator Josh Brecheen. Brecheen has authored similar bills (six in fact) since 2011. This is his seventh attempt.
This week Congress, voting along party lines, passed a resolution that repealed the groundbreaking privacy rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission last October under the Obama administration.
At a Des Moines Public Schools School Board meeting last month, board members wore black armbands to honor the legacy of students’ right to free expression, including the right to peaceful political protest. The armbands were a visual link from the recent student walkouts and protests in Des Moines and around the country back to the landmark 1969 Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent School District Supreme Court decision that has forever tied Des Moines to the issue of students’ rights.