Free Speech and Education

Authored by: Sigal Ben-Porath , Dustin Webster

Handbook of Philosophy of Education

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032000053
eBook ISBN: 9781003172246
Adobe ISBN:


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What is the value of free speech for education, at the K-12 and higher levels? What boundaries should be imposed on the right to free speech in these institutional contexts, for students and for teachers? Free speech is a right with both epistemic and civic value in education, both anchored in the core mission of schools and universities. Like all rights it has boundaries, set by law and practice. This chapter critically discusses the legal history of speech restrictions in schools and emphasizes the role of free inquiry and academic freedom. It concludes that in higher education, recognizing evidentiary practices as setting flexible boundaries to open expression is essential, and the boundaries of speech rely on inviting all participants to contribute to the development and dissemination of knowledge.

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