Put away that umbrella or snow shovel, because this week is Sunshine Week! Sunshine Week has a goal for governments to be transparent and open to all, and the week is brought to you by the American Society of News Editors and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Gridiron Club and Foundation.
This week, and particularly on March 16, we celebrate Freedom of Information Day, set on the birthday of James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, advocate of free speech and open government, and often known as the Father of the Constitution. The Day also celebrates the passage of the Freedom of Information Act in 1966.
Important to your students, as the quote above the title of this blog notes, intellectual freedom is the basis of the US democracy. We expect our citizens and would-be citizens to have access to information, to be knowledgeable, and, yes, to use that information to form and bolster their beliefs and arguments. Intellectual freedom is the basis for The Students’ Right to Read , for NCTE Beliefs about the Students’ Right to Write, and for the rest of students’ academic freedoms.
The NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center works to protect those freedoms, and to help teachers ensure their students have access to all the information they need and want to learn. As the NCTE Position Statement on Academic Freedom notes,
All students have the right to materials and educational experiences that promote open inquiry, critical thinking, diversity in thought and expression, and respect for others.