The Importance Of Freedom In Education

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In rural America hundred years ago, teachers were often the only adult in a schoolhouse. Today, most teachers work in large communities in classrooms with colleagues and administrators right down the hall but some of these teachers still behave in a way that reflects a time in which teaching was viewed as service, teachers independently developed curriculum, and classrooms were private learning spaces. This outdated mentality has encouraged many teachers to expect academic freedom while technology is making academic choices more transparent. The following is advice to prevent teachers from making mistakes in pursuit of academic freedom. Teachers, Remember: Teaching is a job. Teachers sometimes forget that they are public employees who…show more content…
They are given many opportunities to make independent decisions. This autonomy is increasing as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are implemented since the standards focus on skills instead of information. However, this increased freedom may make it easy for teachers to expose students to materials that may offend members of the learning community. For example, in Lindros v. Governing Board of Torrance Unified School District, a probationary teacher was released after his administrators decided his decision to read a story containing the term “white mother-fuckin Pig” was inappropriate (Kermerer & Samson, 2013). The court ruled in favor of the teacher. This case and others support the rights of teachers to make independent decisions to support learning. As clearly stated in C.F. ex rel. Farnan v. Capistrano Unified School District, “we must be careful not to curb intellectual freedom by imposing dogmatic restrictions that chill teachers from adopting the pedagogical methods the believe are most…show more content…
The opinions teachers express are shared with parents, teachers, and administrators and may have negative consequences. For example, in Poleza v. Capistrano Unified School District, “the Ninth Circuit decided against a teacher who aggressively advance his religious beliefs to students in and out of class” (Kemerer & Samson, 2013). Teachers are not free to say whatever they want just because they are in their classrooms. As previously explained, teachers are employees and as determined by Pickering v. Board of Education, “ the school district has the authority to control what a teacher expresses in that setting” (Kemerer & Samson, 2013). Technology-especially personal devices and social media--is rapidly increasing classroom transparency. In online classes the classroom walls extend beyond just the learning management system; teacher communication and student interactions occur in private and public environments. Online teachers should remain aware that the classroom walls are
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