obrien at WVWC.EDU
Wed Mar 4 19:38:47 PST 1998
> Eugene Volokh <VOLOKH at LAW.UCLA.EDU> writes
> > Ed Darrell writes:
> > > I worry about the idea that it is a valid secular purpose to avoid
> > > controversial topics. Do we apply this same standard to history?
> > Yes, we do, and constitutionally so. Completely controversy-free
> > education is bad. So is education that focuses on topics that are so
> > controversial that large segments of the population become
> > disillusioned with the school system, or that class discussions are
> > practically excessively likely to turn into excessively religious or
> > political debates that may cause excessive acrimony or perceived
> > endorsement of one or another religious view (note the repeated focus
> > on "excessive"). Or so at least a reasonable legislator may
> > conclude.
Shortly after reading the above I came across the following footnote:
"The censorship of school text-books is outside the scope of this book, but
one may note in passing the excision from Victorian school readers in 1876
of all references to religious dogmas which may offend Protestants, Roman
Catholics, Jews, or 'the natives of China settled among us'. (See A.G.
Austin's _Australian Education, 1788-1900_, pages 230-31)." [All this is
on page 10 of Peter Coleman's _Obscenity, Blasphemy, Sedition_.Brisbane,
I should hope that, in this discussion, we would distinguish between
primary and secondary education, on the one hand, and higher education, on
the other. Although controversialness might be a legitimate concern in
primary and secondary education, it should be--and has been--excluded from
consideration in higher education.
Robert O'Brien West Virginia Wesleyan College
obrien at .wvwc.edu
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