There’s a lot of buzz lately about how a study has shown that students in high school do not know of or value their first amendment rights.
This is largely the Republicans’ fault, of course. No Child Left Behind makes test scores a matter of panicked necessity for schools — everything else has to drop by the wayside. That includes student journalism. And the study demonstrates that participation in student media is one of the things that cures the ignorance and apathy about first amendment rights. Besides the specific outrage of No Child Left Behind, there is the general Grover “I hope a state goes bankrupt” Norquist strategy to cause the states as much financial hardship as possible, in the hopes of forcing cuts in social programs which are anathema to Republicans; intentionally or unintentionally this has ravaged American education.
But blame must also be apportioned the “fear the children!” mindset that was aggravated by the Columbine tragedy, which brought a level of paranoia and authoritarianism in dealing with students, which had been in place in inner city schools for some time, out to the suburban schools as well. Authoritarian schools produce students who expect and accept an authoritarian government.
Interesting comments on this from high schoolers in the updates to this boingboing post.