Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

The most recent post on the Britannica blog (worth pursuing if you haven't) talks about ten ways to test facts. It seems to me that the list would make a wonderful curriculum on the high school level and lower, as well as in the higher ed field.
It was more than a bit scary to read in Debra J. Saunders' column today this quote from Justice Thomas from his concurring opinion in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case: "'the Constitution does not afford students a right to free speech in public schools.' Thomas cited Justice Hugo Black's dissent in the 1969 Tinker armband decision: 'Taxpayers send children to school on the premise, that at their age[!], they need to learn, not teach.'"
Without double checking the quotes (which may get me in some trouble) I think there is only one response to such Neanderthal thinking.
It seems to me that in this day and age students need to learn AND teach. And teachers need to learn AND teach as well. Certainly the premise which we are currently following in education seems to be heading in this direction. That's not to say that teachers and students don't have different roles in this dynamic but to baldly say students "need to learn, not teach" flies in the face of what is happening in education today. And to base Supreme Court freedom of speech decisions on such a premise is treading on very thin ice indeed.
I really can't believe that the principal and school district prevailed in this case given the fact that whatever the student did was off campus and was only done to attract attention. I definitely think we're going backwards here, folks, and Debra (not known as a raving liberal) seems to agree. At least California provides some protection from such an outcome here.

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