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American Education Policy

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1 American Education Policy
PF Topics Series Lynne Coyne Harvard 2011

2 Lecture History of American public education Current legislation: NCLB
Potential areas of debate and research

3 Colonial America purpose of American schools is to produce good, hardworking, successful Christian citizens Wealthy, male, geography determines curric Mass School Law 1642 all children to read and write … first women teachers of good character 1647 any town 50+ families must school 100+ Latin Grammar Schools Spare the rod, spoil the child!

4 1780-1820 Thomas Jefferson… all children 3 years of an education
Removes religion, secular curriculum and languages Benjamin Franklin … education should be vocational

5 Pre-Civil War: The Great Awakening
Renaissance American culture More children in school, not just rich white males… double enrollment 30 years Teacher training begins “Normal Schools”, trained in subject matter, management skills, and ethical behavior Administrators for schools, Board of Education development Standardized tests

6 John Dewey: Progressivism
Democracy & Education, pragmatism rejects old methods Schools concerned with development of the whole child, not just academic skills Purpose: prepare useful, active citizens Problem-solving and critical skills, not rote Differentiated instruction Life long learning

7 Divergent Movements Progressives vs Essentialists
Testing Movement 1920s-1930s Result from WW I military recruit testing to evaluate officer material 1950s Brown v. Board of Education 1980s standards based reform-compare student v. student or vs. norm? student v. fixed standard

8 Funding Schools Local property taxes- McMansions base vs. poor neighborhoods reflected in schools State aid- federal trickledown, mandates without funding problem Access to ‘good schools’ question- vouchers and special programs, magnet schools, religion based schools (separation of church & state)

9 No Child Left Behind Standards Based Educational Reform
Aim to increase performance of US schools by increasing standards of accountability for states, schools districts, and schools Provide parents more flexibility in choosing schools, accountability, school choice Increased focus on reading and math Raise uniform standards for teachers Close gap minority student achievement

10 NCLB Adequate Yearly Progress or corrective action/takeover authorized, leaves definition of what proficiency is to the states- ex. Mississippi Requires access to military recruiters- school visits and records Teaching to the test? Questions of test reliability, Atlanta teachers Reward success or failure? Where is merit?

11 Standardized tests? Culture based questions Teaching to the test
High risk exit exams: content v. skills Social promotion Linking teacher pay to performance

12 Reinventing the American High School
Obama Race to the Top Redesign network reform… Comprehensive or small schools, vouchers/school choice Quality of teaching reforms…training, merit pay, tenure reform Evaluation reforms…ban grades Curricular reforms… purpose of HS? Differentiated or singular curriculum Legal/rights reform

13 Legal/Rights Reform: Issues of Race
Brown v. Board of Education – outlaws apartheid in the US 1956 Hope equal educational opportunity – not yet fulfilled Achievement gap…minorities, men v. women in math and sciences

14 Other Rights Cases Affirmative action Hate speech codes
Censorship of books Freedom of speech Censorship of publications Search and seizure Corporal punishment

15 Legal Issues-Corporal Punishment
Domestic law has gradually foresworn legalized "disciplinary" physical violence towards adults who once had been its victims, i.e., African Americans at the hands of slavemasters, wives at the mercy of husbands, and sailors and prisoners at the whim of their superiors. There is one group of people, however, many of the members of which have not yet been given such sanctuary by our laws - children. Legal corporal punishment is still routinely used on them in numerous twenty-first century American schoolhouses, among other venues. That corporal punishment remains standard operating procedure in so many of this nation's public schools is due, in no small part, to the single and singular 1977 Supreme Court decision in Ingraham v. Wright.

16 The case was precipitated by "exceptionally harsh" paddlings of two students at a Florida public junior high school. One boy, while being pinned atop a table in the principal's office, was given more than twenty whacks because he did not respond to his teacher's instructions with the desired alacrity. The paddling was "so severe" that the child suffered a hematoma requiring medical intervention and his absence from school for several days. The other boy was paddled multiple times for "minor infractions," with one of these sessions disabling him from the full use of his arm for a week.

17 The Court held, among other things, that the students had no viable claim under the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This is an extreme ruling; it means that the Eighth Amendment does not exist for children when they enter the schoolhouse. It means that no child in this country can seek the Amendment's protection against physical punishment meted out by schools, regardless of how grotesque or excruciating that punishment may be and though it could cause death.

18 Legal Cases-Speech Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 1969 Symbolic speech, wearing black armbands in protest of The Vietnam War Asked to remove, suspended Trial dismisses, appeal NO written decision

19 Tinker Justice Fortas “First Amendment rights…are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to free expression as the the schoolhouse gate.” No disruptive action, did not intrude upon the work or rights of other students, ‘material and substantial interference” standard In order to limit rights, officials must have more than a “mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompanies an unpopular view.”

20 Tinker Justice Stewart concurs BUT not that student rights are co-extensive with those of adults. Justice Black dissents: schools are not proper forum for exercising constitutional rights: “I have never believed that any person has the right to give speeches or engage in demonstrations where he pleased and when he pleased.” Kids will question school authority more and act out. Justice Harlan dissented-schools need discretion for discipline, wasn’t viewpoint discrimination

21 Bethel School District v Fraser,1986
Fraser, a HS student gave a Student Council nominating speech using elaborate sexual language. Warned, suspended, appealed. Wins at lower courts, loses Supreme

22 Opinions Justice Burger…”the undoubted freedom to advocate unpopular and controversial views in schools and classrooms must be balanced against society’s countervailing interest in teaching students the boundaries of socially acceptable behavior.” Speech rules, similar Congress Justice Blackmun concurs-civil discourse must be maintained Justice Marshall dissents-no evidence disruptive Justice Stevens dissents-due process, not know severity of punishment, speech not improper to time,place or manner

23 Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 1988
Spectrum, school paper, published with school board funds, co-curricular with journalism classes. Required to submit to principal before pages sent to publisher. Takes issue with 2 articles, too late to change since last edition, sends off without 2 pages. Lower court no violation, Appeals reversed-is forum

24 Opinions Justice White- rejects using Tinker. “public schools do not possess all the attributes of streets, parks, and other traditional public forums”. School need not promote particular student speech-question of emotional maturity of audience, “reasonably related” Justice Brennan dissents-only speech that is materially and substantially interfering.

25 Morse v. Frederick, 2007 At school supervised event to watch the Olympic Torch pass, Joseph Frederick, brings banner, Principal says inappropriate message, unfurls anyway. 10 days suspension for supporting illegal drug use. Punishment affirmed on appeal, district court says, “authority if not the obligation to stop this illegal message”

26 Opinions Chief Justice Roberts delivers opinion that principal was within acceptable authority, drug abuse is a major problem among American school children, need not tolerate expression that would contribute to the dangers of illegal drug use. Justice Thomas separately to reject Tinker, children do not have speech rights. “I think the better approach is to dispense with Tinker altogether, and given the opportunity I would do so”. Justice Alito joins-no on drugs but must allow commenting on political or social issues

27 Opinions Justice Stevens dissents…not message, perhaps would stimulate discussion and less drug use. CONTENT restriction…”if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

28 Discussion The Court has consistently rolled back First Amendment free speech protections by creating tests to apply to different categories of speech. Frederick was an entirely new content test Amy Gutmann, Princeton University, “educators should give students more freedom of speech as they mature intellectually and emotionally, and laws governing free speech in schools should increasingly respect the free speech rights of students varied by age”…new consequentialist justification

29 Discussion “Admittedly, some high school students (including those who use drugs) are dumb. Most students, however, do not shed their brains at the schoolhouse gate, and most students know dumb advocacy when they see it.” Justice Stevens in Frederick dissent

30 Speech Codes America's colleges and universities have historically been treated as havens for free speech, laboratories of thought where diverse viewpoints and ideas can be discussed and debated in an endless search for truth and knowledge. The Supreme Court has long recognized that our institutions of higher education serve an important societal purpose beyond classroom instruction, that the modem university campus "is peculiarly the 'marketplace of ideas.'" Therefore, the Court has traditionally held that college students are entitled to robust speech rights so that they may speak freely and contribute to the exchange of ideas.

31 However, a major threat to this model of the American university has presented itself: Colleges and universities across the country have enacted "speech codes" broadly regulating how students are allowed to speak on campus. Speech codes are "university regulations prohibiting expression that would be constitutionally protected in society at large,” or "any campus regulation that punishes, forbids, heavily regulates, or restricts a substantial amount of protected speech."

32 Courts have uniformly invalidated speech codes facing a constitutional challenge, with the Third Circuit's 2008 decision in DeJohn v. Temple University being the most significant among the recent decisions Currently, however, speech codes are commonplace on college campuses, and they severely restrict the ability of students to participate in, and contribute to, a true marketplace of ideas.

33 Speech codes were a nationwide response to violent episodes of racial and other intolerance which took place on many college campuses in the 1980s creating a generally unreceptive environment for racial and ethnic minorities, female students, and other historically disadvantaged groups. Commentators espousing this theory start with the backdrop of increased enrollment and access to education for minority groups over the previous decades. As these groups gained an increased presence on campus and diversified the educational environment, some students began to exhibit their resentment, leading to an "increase in racial, ethnic, religious, sexist and homophobic incidents."

34 One study from the early 1990s found that 71 percent of schools surveyed had had at least one reported incident of "ethnoviolence" during the past year, defined as "acts motivated by prejudice intended to cause physical or psychological harm to persons because of their actual or perceived membership in a group.” Therefore, due to the increasing tensions on campus, and in order to protect students from more of these incidents, many schools drafted speech codes aimed at racist, sexist, and sometimes merely offensive speech.

35 Protected speech? 1. the argument from truth
2. the argument from tolerance 3. the argument to self-realize 4. the argument from distrust 5. the argument from democracy 6. the safety valve argument 7. the argument for autonomy

36 Search & Seizure New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985) was a case involving the search of a high school student for contraband after she was caught smoking. A subsequent search of her purse revealed drug paraphernalia, marijuana, and documentation of drug sales. She was charged as a juvenile for the drugs and paraphernalia found in the search. She fought the search, claiming it violated her Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling, held that the search was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

37 Opinion Concurrence In a separate, concurring opinion, Justice Powell(joined by Justice O'Connor) stated that while he agreed with the Court's opinion, he felt that students in primary and secondary educational settings should not be afforded the same level of protection for search and seizures as adults and juveniles in non-school settings.

38 Opinion Justice Brennan, joined by Justice Marshall, agreed with the majority's reasoning regarding a balancing approach to school searches. He disagreed, however, with the new standard set down by the Court, which he felt was a departure from the traditional "probable cause" approach. He explained: "Today's decision sanctions school officials to conduct fullscale searches on a 'reasonableness' standard whose only definite content is that it is not the same test as the 'probable cause' standard found in the text of the Fourth Amendment. In adopting this unclear, unprecedented, and unnecessary departure from generally applicable Fourth Amendment standards, the Court carves out a broad exception to standards that this Court has developed over years of considering Fourth Amendment problems.

39 Debating your Rights Resolved: students should be afforded the same speech rights as adults in schools. Resolved: the use of corporal punishment in American schools should be abolished. Resolved: students should be afforded the same search and seizure protections in school as adults. Resolved: the use of speech codes by American colleges and universities should be discontinued.

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