February 01, 2005


Would you like to get really, really depressed about the future of our nominal democracy? Well, a new, two-year, $1 million survey across US schools - in which 100,000 students and 8000 teachers were interviewed - suggests a helluva lot of teen students don't understand the First Amendment, and are more censorious than their elders.

Commissioned by the John S and James L Knight Foundation,and conducted by the University of Connecticut,  the survey found that over a third of the 100,000 students questioned felt the First Amendment went "too far" in guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, worship and assembly.

Only half felt newspapers should be allowed to publish stories that did not have the government's approval. Roughly half the students polled wrongly believed the US government had the right to censor the internet, while two-thirds believed it was illegal to burn the US flag - another misconception.

There are also findings on the decline in school newspapers and in school opportunities for teens to participate in media training that might sensitize them to the Bill of Rights. You can read the complete survey--and find suggestions from the Knight Foundation on what should be done in light of its dreadful findings--by clicking here.

Posted by Direland at 01:55 PM | Permalink


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Tracked on Feb 1, 2005 11:21:48 PM


This is very scary news. I am 15 years old and have memorized the Bill of Rights. It is unbelievable that kids these days care more about who is dating who than what this country is built on. I really hope they get a wake-up call before it is to late.

Posted by: Kat | Sep 23, 2005 5:39:34 PM

I think it is a natural consequence of "Political Correctness" and "Sensitivity to Others". Those teens have been hammered with "You can't say that..." or "Thinking like that is wrong!" and that kind of nonsense comes from the Left and the Right. That is the price of social engineering. Every one of you wanting to silence Rush is contributing to this (from the left) or the incessant complaining about lefty bias in the mainstream media (from the right).

Posted by: AWolf | Feb 3, 2005 7:44:05 PM

I wonder how much of this stems from the constant barrage of negative messages like "Just say no" and abstinence-only HIV prevention that teens are subjected to. After a while, being denied the right to do anything must seem like the normal state of affairs.

Recall that when Gingrich was Squeaker of the House, he called Democrats "Counter-cultural McGoverniks" and derided "the permissive society" of the 60s. The opposite of that, of course, is the repressive society.

Posted by: Richard Bellikoff | Feb 2, 2005 3:39:17 PM

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