With little fanfare and almost no media coverage, Congress recently passed House Resolution 3077, which threatens academic freedom by imposing rules on what professors can and can't teach. HR 3077 focuses in particular on "area studies" (university programs that study international culture and politics in specific regions of the world).
The student editor of the California Patriot, a right-wing student newspaper at the University of California-Berkeley, claims that conservatives are the true heirs to the university's free speech movement of the 1960s. "The conservatives on Berkeley's campus have employed various strategies in order to insert their views -- whether they're wanted or not -- into campus debates," writes Michael Gaworecki.
"Civic Progress, a St. Louis-based group made up of the heads of the region's largest corporations, is paying Jay Lawrence, who is co-chairman of Fleishman-Hillard's corporate reputation management unit, to play a behind-the-scenes role in the city school reform effort," O'Dwyer's PR reports.
The venerable Parent-Teachers Association has begun seeking corporate funding partnerships with companies including Coca-Cola Enterprises, Disney Interactive and Microsoft. "I know the PTA may need money, but when they accept money from whomever, it loses its independence," says parent Loretta Pleasant-Jones. "How can a PTA now turn and say, 'We want the Coke machines out of our schools?' "
Several high school teachers in New Mexico have been suspended or fired after refusing to enforce pro-war views in their classrooms. Geoff Barrett, a teacher at Albuquerque's Highland High School, was suspended after refusing to remove student-made artwork expressing views on the recent U.S. war against Iraq.
At the Jesse Helms Center in North Carolina, more than a dozen earnest college students gathered for training in how to start their own conservative newspapers and opinion journals and how to pick fights with lefty bogeymen on the faculty and in student government. "By the end of the day, the student journalists were fired up for battle," writes John Johnson, "determined not only to change the tenor of notoriously liberal campus dialogues, but also, in the long run, to alter the basic makeup of the nation's professional news outlets. ...
Front page attention in the New York Times is priceless publicity. Heavy-handed censorship at UC Berkeley has backfired, landing a fundraising appeal by the school's Emma Goldman Papers Project on the Times front page. "Goldman died in 1940, more than two decades after being
deported to Russia with other anarchists in the United
States who opposed World War I. Now her words are the
source of deep consternation once again, this time at the
University of California, which has housed Goldman's papers
"McTeacher's Night" has drawn criticism from some elementary school teachers in South San Francisco according to the San Francisco Chronicle. During the fast-food chain's PR event, teachers volunteer to work a three-hour shift at a McDonald's, preparing and serving food. Then the restaurant donates 20 percent of the profits to the teachers' school. "This is exploiting teachers for a real, live McDonald's commercial," one first-grade teacher told the Chronicle.
"The myth that the National Educational Association told teachers not to blame Sept. 11 on al-Qaida continues to unravel," reports Brendan Nyhan. "It's now clear that Washington Times reporter Ellen Sorokin based her original myth-creating article on a preliminary NEA Web site that clearly wasn't complete, misconstruing quotations from a recommended sample essay allegedly written by a professor named Brian Lippincott and attributing them to the NEA.