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ERIC Number: ED355540
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Nov
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Teachers Making Decisions When We Know the Censors Are Watching.
Napier, Minta
Attempts to suppress and even censor various texts used by English teachers often are led by members of fundamentalist Christian groups. These activists charge educators with depreciating Christian moral values and instigating a religion of "secular humanism" in the schools. Various examples of recent legal cases show how prominent the fundamentalist activists are in the text censorship controversy. Censorship cases, though they have tended to be decided in favor of school districts, are disruptive to the schools nonetheless and often are concluded only after numerous appeals. Violence has even erupted in several cases of strong public reaction. Although it has been estimated that fundamentalist and Christian organizations only account for 25% of all cases, much of their effect stems from teachers who do not use certain texts or strategies because they fear public objection or even legal actions against them. The overall agenda of Christian groups dealing with educational issues involves attacks on a wide array of techniques, themes, and topics currently being used or developed. It also appears that many of these groups work interdependently and have devised a sophisticated network to advance their objectives. For teachers to ward off these grassroots attacks, three steps should be taken: (1) contractual agreements should be made giving teachers the right to select and use materials relevant and appropriate to their students; (2) teachers and school boards should write rationales for the classroom materials they select and define methods for handling complaints; and (3) entire communities must keep lines of communication open and remain alert for fundamentalist candidates for school boards. A "Selection Rationale for Classroom Materials" form developed by Ellen Brinkley for teachers and a "Citizen's Request for Reconsideration of a Work" form developed for school districts by the National Council of Teachers of English are included. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A