Fighting Censorship in the Art Classroom
Anderson, Albert A., Garoian, Charles R., School Arts
This is the third in a series of articles examining issues surrounding the censorship and suppression of learning and expression in the art classroom. The first article (January 1996) discussed examples of censorship reported and documented in annual reports by People for the American Way, which kindly permitted us use of their materials. The second article (March 1996) discussed the different faces of censorship and their consequences for art teachers and students, and their respective communities. This third and final article identifies strategies and procedures for helping art teachers, administrators, and parents counter censorship and other attacks on art learning.
When censorship or the threat of it occurs in the art classroom what recourse do students, teachers, and parents have? Should they respond and, if so, how? What strategies and tactics are most effective How can attention be brought to bear on attempts to suppress art materials and visual images? The following suggestions constitute a small sampling of ways art educators can challenge censorship and attacks on the freedom to learn. For the purposes of our discussion, we have organized our suggestions into three basic groups: preventive strategies, responsive strategies, and proactive strategies.
Preventive strategies can be helpful in inhibiting attempts to censor or suppress classroom expressions by developing and putting into place strategies and procedures for responding to incidents before they occur. They can help school districts act in well thought out, systematic, and reasonable ways, and prevent hasty and poorly thought out decisions by school officials when such incidents actually do occur.
1 Initiate the development and adoption of formal selection and consideration policies for your school district if they are not already in place. Selection and reconsideration policies represent the systematic means by which school districts adopt educational materials for classroom use and review should these materials be questioned for their appropriateness. If such policies do not exist in your school district, work together with members of the school's student body, faculty, administration, and parents to initiate selection and reconsideration policies that represent the cultural and political diversity of the school's community.
If such policies exist in your school district, learn about their provisions. Make certain that you clearly understand their limitations and whether or not there is room for discussion that involves …
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Publication information: Article title: Fighting Censorship in the Art Classroom. Contributors: Anderson, Albert A. - Author, Garoian, Charles R. - Author. Magazine title: School Arts. Volume: 96. Issue: 4 Publication date: December 1996. Page number: 31+. © 1999 Davis Publications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.
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