Ep. 07: Should Classroom Discussions of Current Events and Controversial Topics be Restricted?
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Virtually everyone who has attended public school in America will remember class discussions of current events and controversial topics. These were opportunities to become knowledgeable about what was going on in the world, to hear opposing perspectives, and to formulate one’s own opinions. In the past few years, however, several states have begun to restrict discussions of issues that might cause students to feel anguish or discomfort. According to a 2022 study by Rand Corporation, “14 states had enacted some kind of state-level restriction on teachers’ ability to engage in classroom conversations about race, racism, and other forms of bias.” That study also found that a significant number of teachers oppose these restrictions and are experiencing high levels of stress because of fear over what might happen if they do not comply. In this fascinating conversation, a politically diverse panel discusses the role schools should play when discussing current events and controversial topics. The panel also weighs in on two related questions: Who should determine what’s taught in public schools? And, what role should parents play? One panelist is a Republican State Senator from Kentucky; another is a high school social studies teacher from Virginia; another is a senior fellow at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute; and the final guest is another high school social studies teacher from Texas.… continue reading