Findings from the high-profile John S. and James L. Knight Foundation-sponsored surveys of over 100,000 high school students in 2004 and 2006 provided a wake-up call to those interested in preserving the future of free expression rights in America. These studies documented the current lack of appreciation for free expression rights among the nation's high school students, and thus raised serious questions about the vitality of those rights as this generation reaches adulthood. In The Future of the First Amendment, the scholars who conducted the Knight studies identify a number of important connections and relationships that education reformers should account for as they seek to raise the status of the First Amendment among the nation's youth. This book documents and explores the ramifications of First Amendment education and student media activities—both traditional and digital—on student support for free expression rights. Linking these curricular and extra-curricular activities to the next generation's tolerance for free expression rights, it provides guidance to educators and policy-makers on methods of improving the next generation's appreciation for these rights which are so central to the health of American democracy.
The Future of the First Amendment should quickly become a primary guide for educators committed to reviving the civic mission of schools. Building on landmark research sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the book moves beyond sounding alarms to offer practical advice on how appreciation of free expression rights can be fostered in our nation's schools. Nurturing such appreciation is vital to the continued health of our Constitution.
This book is alarming because it shows that the freedom of expression is as vulnerable to atrophy and ignorance today as it ever was. But it is also a hopeful book in that the authors show that there are effective things we can do to promote constitutional understanding and patriotism among young Americans. And so we should.
December 2008 CHOICE
The authors provide a clarion call to people interested in the future of our liberty. The appendices are eye-opening (they contain the results of surveys as well as the surveys themselves). Highly recommended.
Virginia B. Edwards
The Future of the First Amendment makes a tremendously powerful case for renewed attention to the media literacy skills of our nation's young people. Freedom of expression sits at the base of our democracy; without the skills to discern meaning from messages, justice and liberty are threatened.
Kenneth Dautrich is associate professor of public policy at the University of Connecticut and senior partner at Validata Research and Consulting. David A. Yalof is associate professor of political science and director of curriculum development and assessment at the University of Connecticut. Mark Hugo Lopez is research assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland.
Chapter 1. Introduction Chapter 2. The American Public, Students, and Free Expression Rights Chapter 3. Educating Students about Free Expressions Rights Chapter 4. The School Curriculum, Student Media, and Attitudes about Freedom of Expression Chapter 5. Invasion of the Bloggers . . . Coming to a High School Near You Chapter 6. The Digital Media and Attitudes about Free Expression Rights Chapter 7. Putting the First Amendment First: Policy Implications and the Future of Freedom of Expression Chapter 8 Appendix A. Knight "Future of the First Amendment" 2006 (and 2004) Student Questionnaire Chapter 9 Appendix B. Future of the First Amendment Survey Sampling Methodology Chapter 10 Appendix C. Full Multivariate Model Results