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Education in Two Worlds: Politicians Tell Educators, “Shut Up! You Have No Freedom of Speech.”

Audrey Amrein Beardsley has reported how the New Mexico state secretary of education has told teachers to keep their mouths shut and say nothing to disparage the state's Common Core testing. As Amrein Beardsley reports, "Rumor also has it that Hanna Skandera [state secretary and former Jeb Bush protege] has requested the names and license numbers of any teachers who have helped or encouraged students to protest the state’s 'new' PARCC test(s). As per one teacher, 'this is a quelling of free speech and professional communication.'"

But New Mexico can never wrest the crown of Most Backward State Government from Arizona. In the 2015 legislative session, the AZ House passed an amendment to Senate Bill 1172 that places a gag order on any school employee who publicly protests legislative action. The bill "prohibits an employee of a school district or charter school, acting on the district's or charter school's behalf, from distributing electronic materials to influence the outcome of an election or to advocate support for or opposition to pending or proposed legislation."

It is always amazing to see how fragile the First Amendment truly is. There is no need to enjoin speech with which everyone agrees. But disagree with politicians in power, and you'll find out quickly how little regard they have for the Constitution.

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Gene V Glass

Gene V Glass is a lecturer in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education of San José State University. He is also currently a Senior Researcher at the National Educ...