Resources for Teachers and Students
FOR THE WEEK OF FEB. 13, 2017
High school students value First Amendment safeguards on speech and media, survey shows
Look for a constitutional issue or legal dispute in the news and summarize what's at stake.
Read about government officials anywhere and tell which branch they're in -- executive, legislative or judicial.
Find coverage from a country with fewer freedoms and citizen rights. Give its name and region of the world.
High school student support for the First Amendment is the highest it has been in 12 years, a new study shows. The finding comes amid national discussions about free speech, censorship and public trust in media. Ninety-one percent of high school students now agree that "people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions," compared with 83 percent in 2004. Teens who more frequently consume news and actively engage with it on social media are most supportive of First Amendment rights, the research suggests.
The nationwide study of nearly 12,000 high school students and 726 teachers, released last week, is the sixth survey of its type commissioned by the Miami-based Knight Foundation since 2004. It also found that 65 percent of respondents think everyone has the same rights as professional journalists to document and publish information. Sixty-four percent said they'd be very or somewhat likely to record a potentially newsworthy event with a phone or iPad for social media sharing if they saw it. By contrast, just 27 percent of teachers said they’d probably do so.
In a generational divide, a majority of educators feel First Amendment rights should not apply to school activities. For example, 61 percent of teachers believe reports on controversial issues in student newspapers should require an OK from school authorities and 66 percent say students shouldn't be allowed to express opinions about teachers and administrators on Facebook without penalty.
Study author says: "What we’ve seen since 2004 is a slow but steady increase in support. . . . Today's high school students are more supportive of free expression rights than any we've surveyed." -- Kenneth Dautrich, University of Connecticut associate professor
Social media as news source: 51 percent of high school students say they use social media to get news. Only 18 percent of adults do, a Pew Research report says
Foundation official says: "To safeguard First Amendment freedoms, it is essential that we understand the views of the future guardians of our rights and laws." -- Jon Sotsky, Knight Foundation director for strategy and assessment
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