Teaching Hard History. Southern Poverty Law Center. 2018.

Balancing Perceptions of Historical Truth in Schools

Living in a post-fact or “fake news” society poses significant challenges to educators, particularly when it comes to history learning standards. Do you know who creates standards in your state? Debates over historical truths, biased distortions, and unpatriotic historical interpretations open the door for political influence in learning standards, directly impacting the historical and civic educations of today’s students.

Obscene Content rubber stamp

Proposed Censorship Bill Voted Down in Maine

Whether or not it contained the criminalization aspect, this bill, had it been voted into law, would essentially be red flagging books that contained potentially obscene content. Who would be responsible for policing which books are considered obscene? The decisions would be purely subjective, based on the opinions of parents and community members. And how obscene would it need to be to require consent/legal action?

Cover of The Kingdom by Emmanuel Carrere

Franciscan University’s Book Ban at Odds with the Catholic Pursuit of Truth

Each article in the Library Bill of Rights is important, but I’m always drawn to this particular article for that phrase. “To provide information and enlightenment”. It is essential that parents and educators understand that to be fully informed, enlightened citizens in our society, our children must be exposed to a diverse array of viewpoints and ideas, not just those that fit within a certain ideology.

To Kill a Mockingbird cover art

Banned Book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is America’s ‘Best-Loved’ Novel

Part of the reason that the novel is so well loved, I think, is because it challenged so many of us to think about difficult issues. Whether we continue to teach Mockingbird or choose to move on to another, more modern book, one important lesson from Mockingbird will live on – we will continue to read, and love, our banned books.

To Kill a Mockingbird

(When) Should curriculum changes be called censorship?

There are no easy answers in these scenarios, and often, the label of censorship thrown about in the media serves more to politicize and enflame than to move toward solutions and greater intellectual freedom for all. Instead of relying on the label of censorship to discourage curricular changes guided by politics, power, or lack of transparency, we need to rely on rigorous analysis of the curriculum choices themselves and the institutions that create and implement them.  And that is a much harder task than writing a provocative headline.

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Dispatches from the Houghton Library, Part Two: Who’s In and Who’s Out?

Are admissions policies at the world’s most exclusive colleges fair? How do they even determine what “fair” is? And does this presence or absence of fairness affect our intellectual freedom?