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U.S. Kids Don't Understand First Amendment

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the more-than-a-little-scary dept.

Education 2124

l4m3z0r writes "This rather alarming article discusses a study of high-school students in which they were asked about censorship, protected speech, and other aspects of the first amendment. The results are extremely worrisome: "Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories." and this "Three in four students said flag burning is illegal. It's not. About half the students said the government can restrict any indecent material on the Internet. It can't.".."

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Accuracy (5, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531673)

Are all/most surveyed students born and brought up in America?

And does the First Amendment still feel the same after newly introduced Bills like PATRIOT ACT?

For instance, some countries have this Internal Security Act which allows government to imprison anyone for a couple of years without trial, and with that shadowing above your head, does it still matter if you're protected by another ancient right?

It's like a F1 driver still feels safe driving on slicks after it starts raining.

Re:Accuracy (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531714)




The government wants people to give up their rights, either voluntarily or through attrition. "Terrorism" is today what "Communism" was in the 50's. Smarten up, kids. You'll be living in a corporate controlled country when you grow up.

Re:Accuracy (1)

damian cosmas (853143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531763)

That's great and all, but how does it relate to the first amendment?

Re:Accuracy (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531784)

Are all/most surveyed students born and brought up in America?

That was my first thought when I read the summary too, particularly after having lived in another country for a few years. A lot of things we take for granted are quite illegal in other countries (Latin America was where I lived).

I also agree with you on the PATRIOT ACT.

I'm not surprised (3, Insightful)

gaylenek (456348) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531811)

With USA schools today being so wrapped up in socalizing children, following the "A is for Average" and the Politically Correct mantra, I'm not surprised to hear that student's don't know much about the First Amendmentm much less other important documents that are the cornerstone of the USA. Heck, schools today are re-writing US history to be overly zealous about being politically correct to the point the text has lost the original reason why a group of people moved from England to Holland to the land now called the United States of America.

Re:Accuracy (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531844)

Some countries... like the USA, one might add. Yeah, there's not a specific *law* there that allows that, but hey, all you need to do is be ruthless enough to do it, offer a story based on FUD and lies to the general public why you have to do it and why it is for their security, and hardly anybody will complain.

Of course they don't know, we don't allow them to! (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531676)

The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, is billed as the largest of its kind. More than 100,000 students, nearly 8,000 teachers and more than 500 administrators at 544 public and private high schools took part in early 2004.

Now this is NOT an insignificant study. 100k students and only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories? Excuse me? This misinformation must be coming from somewhere... Are these kids skipping American History/Civics and moving into Psychology and Sociology courses instead?

About half the students said the government can restrict any indecent material on the Internet. It can't.

Well, unfortunately it HAS been restricting indecent material. Forcing various institutions to enable filters on content. Yeah, it can't stop ALL the content out there but it is getting closer and closer to that. With the scare tactics and every parent believing that every sensationalist news "story" on the TV is GOING TO AFFECT THEIR CHILDREN they are pushing this crap through without thinking about the consequences.

The study suggests that students embrace First Amendment freedoms if they are taught about them and given a chance to practice them, but schools don't make the matter a priority.

Of course they don't. Going through high-school English classes I was told repeatedly how I was to respond when it came time for essay exams. If you did not give the teacher what they wanted you were given a poor grade. It wasn't until college (and I remember our second semester English professor being appalled) that I was able to write how I felt about a topic and back it up with real information. The professor would grade you on your research and your proof and not how he/she particularly felt the topic should be supported.

How can we expect high-school aged kids to think that they should be given a chance to practice their First Amendment rights when they are under the constant force feeding of information?

More than one in five schools offer no student media opportunities; of the high schools that do not offer student newspapers, 40 percent have eliminated them in the last five years.

That's because the government and consolidated media doesn't want free thinkers. They want people who follow the status quo. Why stir the pot when you can just report the silly rumors, scare tactics and sensationalism, and car chases above California?

Re:Of course they don't know, we don't allow them (5, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531735)

In high school I was on the newspaper staff for a while. We had a major part of an issue planned for addressing sex in high school, with various stories and features.

The principal vetoed the whole deal.

Something similar recently came up at another, and the students just left an entire page blank as a protest.

How can we teach kids about 1st amendment freedoms when principals have 100% editorial control over school papers?

Re:Of course they don't know, we don't allow them (4, Insightful)

Mr Guy (547690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531834)

I think that's an excellent lesson in the difference between the first amendment and sponsered speech. You'll notice in your example the principal exercised prior restraint in a publication he controls the funding for in a venue he controls the discipline for. A similiar example would be "Air America" where the government controls the funds and employees. This is not covered by the "freedom of press".

If a policeman, acting as an agent of the government, had come in and insisted you not publish an article on sex, that would be a free press issue.

Sounds like you had a learning opportunity and you failed the lesson.

Re:Of course they don't know, we don't allow them (5, Insightful)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531849)

In high school I was on the newspaper staff for a while. We had a major part of an issue planned... The principal vetoed the whole deal.

the thing that everyone is forgetting is this: high school is not now nor has it ever been anything like "real life".

witness: in school, teachers routinely punish the entire class until the party guilty of a particular offense comes forward. in real life, we would call this sort of activity by authorities "terrorism". in school, the mantra of maintaining order is "i don't care who started it." in the real world, we spend billions of dollars on a justice system to figure out "who started it."

since the dawn of the formal state educational system we have been creatinga purly artificial environment for our children with values, mores and codes of conduct that bear no resemblence to the real world whatsoever.

so... why should these results be a surprise?

Re:Of course they don't know, we don't allow them (5, Interesting)

mikesmind (689651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531746)

That's because the government and consolidated media doesn't want free thinkers. They want people who follow the status quo.

The role of public schools isn't to produce free thinkers and speakers. It is to get the masses to submit to the government.

Re:Of course they don't know, we don't allow them (2, Insightful)

Homology (639438) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531766)

Now this is NOT an insignificant study. 100k students and only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories? Excuse me? This misinformation must be coming from somewhere... Are these kids skipping American History/Civics and moving into Psychology and Sociology courses instead?

They are just watching too much American "news", and in particular Fox "news". Heck, the majority of the US population believe that Iraq was behind 9/11. Go figure.

To an extent the students have it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531773)

Things like libel in the printed media and slander on TV and in public does suggest that the press cannot freely print anything.

Re:Of course they don't know, we don't allow them (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531818)

I don't know where you went to school, but in my HS the essay writing was more like your college profs. expectations. As long as we could back up what we were saying from the book (essays usually were about the book we were reading), you got a good grade.

Do have to agree the rest of your post though..

Re:Of course they don't know, we don't allow them (5, Insightful)

log0n (18224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531843)

Just an FYI, civics classes (basing from your id #) like we had in high school haven't been around in nearly a decade. In fact, my junior year of HS (94 iirc) was the year civics was entirely phased out (and I went to good HS, properly sized classes, music and art programs in good check, etc). (I work in a public school system and I just checked the 2004-05 HS Catalog of classes just to make sure I wasn't misinforming)

American History is still taught, but it's basically as a timeline of events. Civics used to cover everything from your responsibilities as a US citizen to the goals and purpose of the amendments, Bill of Rights, etc.

Basically, everything being taught now comes from a point of view of no judgement calls. If there is something open to interpretation, either it's not taught, or it's taught from a historical context as opposed to the 'meaning' or 'message' of said lesson.

It's how you can teach a religious studies class in a HS. You can learn the history, you just can't preach the subject matter. The same rules now apply to 'preaching US citizenship'.

Just FYI.

FIRST MEXICAN POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531677)

FIRST MEXICAN POST

put yourself in thier shoes (5, Interesting)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531681)

How should students understand the first amendment right when they yet do not have those rights in public schools? (and I am not saying that they should have them.) for example; "Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories." That is not surprising as they in thier school newspaper do not have the ability to pubilsh without teacher approval and "About half the students said the government can restrict any indecent material on the Internet. It can't" That is not surprising as thier internet use at school is severly restricted in what they can see. Anouther example is with only 83% of the students saying that expression of unpopular views is acceptible, coming from a very nondemocratic enviorment in schoolI can see how that is easily the situation. Students are under the heel of school officials. although, I am a while out of high school and this was just my experience.

Blame where blame is due (0, Troll)

HMA2000 (728266) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531683)

I blame Bush and Neocons. Also, Halliburton... I blame them for everything that is wrong everywhere. If only Redstaters were such dumb walmart shopping, nascar watching dummies.

Re:Blame where blame is due (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531742)

yawn

Re:Blame where blame is due (-1, Flamebait)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531761)

Wow. The only thing more upsetting than the poll is a post like this.

What a moron.

Re:Blame where blame is due (1)

Adams4President (849082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531815)

I'd like to think the parent poster is making a subtle social statement about the quickness to blame conservatives for everything.

Re:Blame where blame is due (3, Funny)

sleepnmojo (658421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531821)

I thought it was Bill Clinton's fault. Now I'm confused.

Interesting. (1)

Kill all Muslims (845937) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531687)

Yes, but where do they stand on the very important issues of killing all Muslims?

Is it getting better, or worse? (4, Insightful)

Gob Blesh It (847837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531688)

"Only half the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories"? Yikes.

Inside me is a kneejerk activist who wants to point to this as evidence that growing up, as children have since 9/11/01, surrounded by authority figures who casually restrict freedom of speech in the name of guarding against terrorism, encourages children to pattern their thoughts and behavior along similar unfortunate lines.

But actually, I'd like to know what similar studies have been conducted in years past. If this is the way young adults have always thought, then things probably won't get any worse. What would be disturbing is a trend showing young adults finding restrictions on free speech increasingly acceptable.

So, (1)

The Slashdot Guy (793685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531689)

They probably don't understand any of the others, either.

sad day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531690)

Just goes to show that the public edumacation in America sucks. (I'm a product of that, so no flame war please.

U.S. Adults Don't Understand First Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531691)

either, I bet.

The Constitution (1, Interesting)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531693)

The constitution also doesn't say "separation of church and state" .... but I wish it did.

No right to privacy. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531704)

The same goes for a right to privacy. Wish it was there, but it is not.

Re:No right to privacy. (2, Informative)

Politburo (640618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531806)

Yes, but just because it is not there does not mean you do not have the right. Check out the 9th amendment.

Re:The Constitution (5, Informative)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531790)

>The constitution also doesn't say "separation of
> church and state" .... but I wish it did.

It does. Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

That is the very essence of the doctrine of separation of church and state, and goes much further to protect this fundamental right of the people than your wished-for clause would.

In related news... (2, Funny)

True Freak (57805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531694)

Studies show that US schools produce idiots like me. It's a wonder that fast food chains of the nation are still standing.

This just in: American teens ignorant, apathetic (2, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531697)

Pictures at eleven.

Re:This just in: American teens ignorant, apatheti (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531722)

> Pictures at eleven.

But only if the government approves of the news article!

Re:This just in: American teens ignorant, apatheti (1)

aaron240 (618080) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531801)

Heh, funny, but the apathy thing was a 90's phenomenon. Now, the kids are *actively* seeking restricted rights and are simply not equipped to feel safe and remain free. Damn kids.

Two things (-1, Flamebait)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531700)

1. Where's the link to the actual study.

2. If the study was done correctly, and the results are accurate, is it really surprising to people that government-educated children think so "highly" of the government?

High School surveys... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531703)

I loved High school surveys! I always put "Yes" and the highest number availible for everything.

Differences between understanding and opinion (4, Interesting)

The Grey Clone (770110) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531706)

Isn't there a fairly large difference between students unterstanding that newspapers are allowed to publish anything and the opinion that they should (or shouldn't) be allowed to basically publish anything? It seems to me more like we have children who are growing up to be facists, rather than we have stupid kids.

Not just studends (0, Flamebait)

thundergeek (808819) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531709)

I think less than half of the adults understand the 1st amendment.

Freedom of speech, sure, speak your mind. But remember, I can't turn my ears off, but YOU can shut up.

When you have something stupid to say, keep it to your self. That is freedom of speech. You are free to shut up.

Re:Not just studends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531829)

U.S. Kids??!!

How about U.S. Attorney General

Re:Not just studends (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531846)

I think less than half of the adults understand the 1st amendment.

You include yourself in this group, I hope.

well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531710)

that sucks...

Ironic (5, Insightful)

shreevatsa (845645) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531711)

If everyone except the kids understands the FA so well, why does the article have to clear up things like "...thought flag-burning is illegal. It's not", etc.
Looks like the kids are not the only ones in need of education about the First Amendment?

Re:Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531781)

"Looks like the kids are not the only ones in need of education about the First Amendment?"

You are too, apparently.

That is, in fact, a correct use of an apostrophe. The contraction "it's" is short for "it is". So without the contraction, that would read "It is not."

Now who feels like a dumbass?

Re:Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531851)

Dipshit. The guy has a valid point and all you can do is pick on grammar?

Obligatory Futurama... (1)

sirReal.83. (671912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531713)

And on a light note, illustrating the wisdom of teenagers:

"Teenagers all smoke, and they seem pretty on the ball..." -Zap Brannigan in Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch

The State of Affairs (1)

jackstraw2323 (730834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531715)

Not surprising, considering the morons I went to school with and the fact that we had one class about that sort of thing. We really ought to be failing more students don't you think?

Americans (1)

nukem996 (624036) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531716)

Most Americans do believe all of that. Schools just enforce it by blocking everything they don't feel is appropriate and not letting you speak your mind. America keeps getting more and more oppressive.

This shouldn't be surprising... (5, Interesting)

damian cosmas (853143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531718)

...after all, most adults don't know the first amendment, either, when they go off about how parties other than the government are "violating their first amendment rights."

In related findings... (4, Funny)

kzinti (9651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531719)

...eighty percent of the same group, when asked to locate the USA on a map of North America, pointed to Canada.

Re:In related findings... (1)

JLavezzo (161308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531785)

Did that group include the people conducting the study? Could be ...

How Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531720)

About half the students said the government can restrict any indecent material on the Internet.

And these are the same kids visiting the sites that post indecent material ;)

Yes, but.. (2, Insightful)

modifried (605582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531729)

How accurate can you consider the results to be? They're highschool kids. I remember when we had to fill out quizzes for things like this in my highschool (mostly smoking related ones). The idea of the quiz for us was to see who could make the best picture while only filling in dots, who can go the fastest, who can make the best use of the "Do not write in this space" area, and so forth.

Yuk (1)

mistersooreams (811324) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531731)

This will be making some people very happy. Why make censorship laws when people are happy to censor themselves?

Here in the UK, there was recently a story that flag burning was indeed to be made illegal, because it was are common expression of anti-British sentiment. What better way to resolve dislike of Britain than to make any expression of it illegal! Of course, Britain has no First Amendment.

Re:Normally the other way around (2, Interesting)

texwtf (558874) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531732)

> Only half of the students said newspapers should
> be allowed to publish freely without government
> approval of stories

Maybe the kids thought the question was whether or not newspapers could publish without _corporate_ approval of stories.

Re:Normally the other way around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531769)

What's the difference?

Not a surprise (2, Insightful)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531738)

I see it in kids today all the time.

This is most certainly due to living in the post-Napster, post-9/11, political & legal environment.

Duh (2, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531739)

I choose to interpret this as (hopefully) students are smarter than we give them credit for.

Take this one: "Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories."

Is there anybody who think that newspapers should be able to publish ANYTHING? Say, a list of witness protection program participants? The fact that you are a convicted child molestor, complete with picture, even if you're not? Hey, it's "freedom of speech", right?

Considering that many Slashdotter's knee-jerk reaction is that "all censorship is bad", I find this quite refreshing.

News Flash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531741)

American children found to be ignorant.

Film at 11.

Sad, for sure. (1)

Second_Infinity (810308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531749)

That is not saying that the student's don't understand the 1st ammendment. You can understand something but realize it needs fine tuning. You can understand but disagree with, as well. While I may not like how certain companies (CBS) address certain stories (forged documents) I also realize that it's part of the greatness of this country in being able to say what you want, when you want. I may disagree with certain things that are said, but at least we get to have discussions about whether it was right or wrong. Filtering news through the government is a VERY bad idea, no matter how you look at it. Yes, there's sometimes a reason to stifle a story because of a matter of national security, but those are so few and far between that they shouldn't even be an issue.

U.S. *Adults* Don't Understand the 1st either... (5, Interesting)

VE3ECM (818278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531751)

Seriously, I wonder what the results would be if this study were stretched out to include adults as well as teenagers?

I'd bet dollars-to-donuts the results would be almost identical.

The problem isn't with the kids; it's the system that allows these kids to develop ideas like these that's the problem.
No child left behind, indeed. Does it count when they've *all* been left behind?

From the vote half of ADULTS dislike 1st rights (0, Flamebait)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531754)

(might be my flamebait post for the week)

Based on November's vote, 51% of Americans don't believe in the First Ammendment anymore anyway- and think the second is far more important. Why should we be surprised that our kids follow suit

Re:From the vote half of ADULTS dislike 1st rights (1)

Wubby (56755) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531778)

Where are my mod points when I need them.... This one goes UP!

Re:From the vote half of ADULTS dislike 1st rights (1)

Cosmos_7 (128549) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531839)

Without the 2nd, how can the people truely defend the 1st?

most *adults* forget about 2nd amendment too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531755)

I find that most *adults* also fail to realize what the 2nd amendment actually states. I believe all amendments carry equally the same amount of weight and it's a damn shame that people don't really take ALL of them too heart, not just one or two of them.

http://www.packing.org/ [packing.org] has some really useful info on the 2nd amendment.

No Child Left Behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531756)

It's working! The "Leave the First Amendment Behind" act is succesful beyond the Administration's wildest dreams.

flag burning? (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531759)

i don't live in the states, but i was always told that flag burning was illegal for americans...

it's not?
news to me.

can anyone tell me the exact law on this? i'm just curious..

They aren't confused / misunderstanding completely (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531760)

The ammendment says Congress shall pass no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press...

This statement is inaccurate:

"Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories"

BUT

Everyone thinks this means the press have the right or even the responsibility to report everything without impunity from libel/slander or trade theft. Wrong! It says the government can't take your right away to speak - but does NOT any WAY protect the press from having free reign from civil litigation.

I also would like to add that foreign press seems to think they have 1st ammendment rights in the US as well and bastardize our law on a day to day basis.

If you're not taught this... (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531764)

...there is little reason to believe that you should know it. Knowledge of what the 1st Amendment really means is not born with you. You must be taught it. And if those classes are lacking in the school, and/or you have a crappy teacher...
Also, just as obviously, the teacher and school shouldn't be the sole place to impart this knowledge. Start at home.

And on a related note...this is why teenagers shouldn't vote. There are the very few extremely intelligent ones that do understand the ramifications, but most need a little bit of maturity first.

Re:If you're not taught this... (1)

The Grey Clone (770110) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531847)

[b]this is why teenagers shouldn't vote. There are the very few extremely intelligent ones that do understand the ramifications, but most need a little bit of maturity first.[/b] Basically what I got from the Slashdot blurb was that about half the kids knew about the freedom of speech, et cetera. What you fail to look at is that the fact that these teenagers are going to be voting in the next election, and they still won't know anything about it.

'Tis True (3, Informative)

TekMonkey (649444) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531765)

I am a high school student. In one of my classes, we have bi-monthly discussions about current events that last the entire period. It amazes me how little some students know about our government. And to be honest, I can't blame them. The only time we ever studied the government was in 8th grade civics. Sure you can take Government class, but there are no other mandatory classes that teach students about our government in my school district.

Re:'Tis True (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531845)

No, the classes deamed important are basket making and fingerpainting, while children are not taught skills that will get them through their whole lives, such as government and finances. Yeah basketweaving is nice to know, but it is something you can do on your own time.

School shouldn't be fun, it should be a place where you learn what you need to get you through your life. Litercy in the 1600-1700's was ~90-95%, higher than what it is now.

Student Newspapers and the FA (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531770)

To quote some text on student newspapers and the first amendment.. ..the First Amendment rights of students in the public schools are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings, and must be applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment. A school need not tolerate student speech that is inconsistent with its basic educational mission, even though the government could not censor similar speech outside the school..

Prioities priorities... (1)

bizmark22 (823743) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531776)

ask any one of them students what birth control, stds and sex are all about, and they can probably mop the floor with your average /. crowd.

Re:Prioities priorities... (1)

TekMonkey (649444) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531838)

That's very true. Every year since the fifth grade, they've shoved it down our throats. My first class about government was 8th grade Civics. It is the only time you are every required to know it.

Separation of Church and State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531777)

These would be high-school kids from high-schools that teach creationism in science classes? It's no wonder they don't understand the 1st amendment if their schools casually violate it by ignoring the separation of church and state.

Re:Separation of Church and State (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531812)

Tell us where in the constitution or the Bill Of Rights there are the words:

"Separation of Church & State"

Also tell us why people such as yourself commonly leave out the OTHER words ... or free exercise thereof.

Those kids who put stickers on those books have the right to exercise their beliefs freely and they have the right to freedom of speech.

Even more scary.. (4, Insightful)

revscat (35618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531786)

From the CNN article:
Yet, when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes "too far" in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

People die to defend these rights, and some of our students don't even know what these rights are?

Hey conservatives! Maybe if instead of worrying about absitence only education and attacking Darwinism you spent your efforts in communicating why and how we are a free society, and why that is of tantamount importance, we could all get along here, hm? Cuz I'll be honest with you, I'll stand shoulder to shoulder with James "Spongebob Is Gay" Dobson if it means we get the message out loud and clear about the Bill of RIghts.

America is heading into a dark time... (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531788)

Education is falling through the floor, everywhere. More proof the education system is broken and needs massive intervention. It isn't working, standardized tests do nothing but dumb down curriculum. The education system is more based on making kids feel good about what they are doing, when it needs to teach them what they need to get by in life and do well. I feel cheated out of what I could have learned in school, we need to fix our system before it is to late.

Pointing out the problem is not causing problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531840)

' standardized tests do nothing but dumb down curriculum '

The standardized tests do nothing more than point out the problem of schools being too lazy to educate. They are not the cause of the problem. D not blame the messenger for the message.

Regarding flag burning (5, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531792)

The funny thing about flag burning and all those attempts to make it illegal (or the idea that it already is) is that when you ask a conservative who actually knows about these things, you'll find out that burning a flag is actually the only proper way to get rid of one when you have to - for example, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy. For some reason, those pushing for a law that would make burning flags illegal never seem to know about that.

Not that I myself care about what happens to a flag in the slightest, of course - if you're a soldier and in a fight, you probably have better things to do than worry about than a piece of cloth that probably was produced in a sweatshop in communist China, anyway.

It's funny how these neocons aren't actually conservative in the actual sense of the word, though.

I'm not surprised... (1)

baudilus (665036) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531793)

The general and trivial knowledge of the average high school student is pathetic, at best. Why? Anyone who grew up in public school can tell you, anyone with that kind of knowledge (along with other factors)is considered a "nerd" or "geek" and quickly becomes a social outcast. And they all want to be popular and accepted, so they either feign ignorance or they actually are. I'm inclined to believe the latter.

Hve you ever watched Street Smarts [studioaudiences.com] ? I once saw a college kid who couldn't name the current president of the U.S.

Who can blame them? (4, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531794)

After all, it's not like it means what it says. "Congress shall make no law..." has been reinterpreted and watered-down so much that it takes years of graduate study to understand.

The first amendment, after all, doesn't say that "Congress shall make no law except for laws barring child pornography, the exposure of military secrets, and naughty words on the radio."

Not that I don't favor barring child porn, but you know, if you want to do that, you need to change the amendment...

Yeah, yeah, I know all about our English Common Law system and all that. I'm just saying, you can't blame people for not understanding the law...and frankly, the law is always a mushy, malleable pile of goo if the Supreme Court can change the meaning of pretty plain words.

Coincidence? I think _not_... (1)

Bluesy21 (840772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531795)

This makes it nice and easy for the government to continue to trample peoples rights in the near future. They don't have to worry about young people getting together and protesting; these people probably won't even know they have rights within a few years....ok maybe thats a tad too ridiculous, but seriously these seems like its a little too convienent to just be 'kids aren't learning enough in schools.' So much of the daily cirriculum is forced upon teachers that there shouldn't be 'accidental' mishaps like this.

sooo sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531797)

The only way the same group knows where other countries are is if we have bombed them. angry about ebay fees -> http://www.powersellersunite.com

No one understands the Establishment Clause (2, Informative)

ikewillis (586793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531799)

The Establishment Clause is the very first line in the Bill of Rights and it surprises me that no one I talk to really seems to understand it.

Most Christians I talk to seem to assume that "seperation of church and state" is some made up popular conception which doesn't really exist as Constitutional precedent. "Show me where in the Constitution it says the words 'seperation of church and state'!" they scream. They forget that the Constitution was designed to be an evolving document interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, and here is what they had to say:

From The United States Supreme Court Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing decision:

The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect "a wall of separation between church and State."

Not just the first amendment (0)

rattler14 (459782) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531804)

Most people are unaware of the fact that there are 2 types of citizenship... US and State, and it makes a HELL of a lot of difference to understand the distinction

Why you are a US National [famguardian.org]

Also, the first 10 articles of the Bill or Rights are NOT amendments, they are declatory articles as stated in the preamble of the Bill of Rights.

"The conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution. "

So, just like the first amendment can't be altered or abolished, the 2nd, 5th, 9th, or 10th can't either. None of them can! They are not rights granted to you by a government, but rights that you were born with as a human being.

Get learned people
http://www.constitution.org/

I'm not trolling, hating, or being irritable... I'm just sick of hearing pundits, coworkers, and friends spout off what the constitution says... when they haven't even read the thing!

enjoy all

hmm... (1)

borawjm (747876) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531805)

then perhaps the new generations won't be shoving democracy down other peoples throats... /trolling

not bright (2, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531810)

Like most studies this one only provides one possible interpretation of the data collected. Another possible interpretation of this information is that students think the media is evil and manipulative, like we do. And they are naieve enough to think that the government interfering with this will make the media better. When I was in high school whenever I saw a problem my answer was always "the government should step in and do X". Only later did I realize how stupid this was. I know many others who had similar thought patterns.

Another brick in the wall (1)

dalamarian (741404) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531814)

We don't need no education...

2nd Amendment (2, Interesting)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531819)

I'm surprised at just how ignorant the students were about the 1st, but I have to wonder what they had to say about the 2nd. I'm not a 2nd Amendment zealot by any means (I don't own any guns and probably won't any time soon), but it has as much authority as the other Amendments do, yet is often discounted as "not really applying anymore" or something similar. What strikes me as interesting is that one of the main groups which pushed the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment as no longer being valid was the media- which owes sll of its protection to the 1st.

I downright shudder when I think about the average American's current understanding of our Constitution.

Hold up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531820)

You spend all your money on wars instead of a proper education system, then wonder why your kids are dumb as shit?

I guess they aren't the only ones who need a clue.

Generally (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531824)

This is the dumbing down of America folks. This is what No Child Left Behind has brought to bear. Granted, I'm one of those in-betweeners as in in between the Baby Boom and Gen-X but we had the Constitution drilled into us. And yes, I went to parochial schools from 1st through 12th.

Shocking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11531825)

Government schools fail to teach students on limited government, and much everything else.

shortchanged (1)

kernel_dan (850552) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531828)

When asked whether people should be allowed to express unpopular views, 97 percent of teachers and 99 percent of school principals said yes.

Why do I always get the extreme minority?

Pledge of Allegiance? (2, Interesting)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531841)

How many students understand the Pledge of Allegiance? They're swearing allegiance to a republic about which they understand very, very little, and do it gladly, because it's the Done Thing.
People shouldn't be pressured to say the thing until they're 18, at least, and have some inkling of what's going on. They shouldn't be *pressured* at all, in fact.

I was so resentful of having to say it when I was a kid (and only realized this in 6th grade), that I was consistently the only one NOT to stand for it in high school and beyond. One gets some strange evil eyes when you don't do the Done Thing.

hmm (1)

DarkLox (621089) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531842)

All your freedom are belong to us

In other news... (1)

FearUncertaintyDoubt (578295) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531848)

...78% of students surveyed were surprised that there was something called the "first amendment"

...64% went home to download mp3s

...81% thought that nudity and swearing should be allowed on network TV

The age/experience/maturity factor? (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11531852)

When asked whether people should be allowed to express unpopular views, 97 percent of teachers and 99 percent of school principals said yes. Only 83 percent of students did.

Instead of blindly attributing these figures wholly to decreasing awareness and lack of liberty in schools (I'm not denying these causes), I think that age and maturity (or lack thereof) are likely to skew the results. Most teenagers have "bigger" issues to worry about, personal problems, relationships, relationships, etc which take a higher priority in their lives than something as far removed (atleast at that age) as the constitution. Should it be this way? I don't know...but I certainly think the raging chemicals/hormones at that age certainly clouds up one's thinking.

It's likely that adults, who've pretty much settled down into a stable life (teachers/etc) and have been acquainted with politics, and other such "adult" topics for a while would be (atleast I hope so) more concerned about these issues.

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