June 11, 2006

Constitution Day and academic freedom

On my union's activist e-mail list this weekend is a thread on the Constitution Day mandate starting last year. Some are miffed by it, but there's more than one interpretation of that requirement. From section 111(b) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 comes the following threat to our nation's students, at least if you're David Horowitz:

Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution.

(See the Notice of Implementation for additional information about implementation.)

What this does, of course, is give cover to all teachers to violate their academic responsibilities by inserting all sorts of irrelevant material into their classes. Biology and philosophy teachers now have a "a bulletproof excuse" (to quote my colleague Roy Weatherford) to discuss the constitutionality of the current war's constitutionality, wiretapping, etc. Careless for Congress to give all of my irresponsible colleagues an ironclad alibi for their politicization of classes.

Unfortunately, those of us who teach history, government, political science, etc., can't use Constitution Day for these purposes, but, heck, it's our subject anyway.

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Posted in Academic freedom on June 11, 2006 7:18 AM |