The Children’s Internet Protection Act. Last week I gave a presentation at OLEMA (Ohio Library Educational Media Association) and was shocked to hear of the number of books and articles that are or have been either challenged or banned in libraries. The ALA (American Library Association) site in “Second Life” has some great exhibits on this subject. The assault on free speech is relentless. Librarians have been at the forefront of this battle from the very beginning; defending free speech risking their jobs and professional reputations, to do what they believe is right; often without any recognition or support.
In education many of us have passively watched as CIPA has been wrongly used to prevent educators (us) the access to good content. While one might argue that we ought to limit what children see (another discussion) teachers ought to be able to make professional (pedagogical) decisions regarding the content they show their kids. As educators, we need to stand up for our professional rights and protest loudly and publicly when we are blocked from a site such as this (Classroom 2.0) because the “content is questionable”.
Oliver August’s article “The Great Firewall: China’s Misguided – and Futile Attempt to Control What Happens Online”, in this months issue of “Wired Magazine” discusses firewalls, content filters and the notion of suppressing political ideas in China. It had a very familiar feel to it as I thought of all of the issues we are beginning to face in the U.S. If you are a teacher think about your own situation when reading this article. Besides CIPA, think about other issues such as Net Neutrality and the unintended consequences of the Patriot Act. Political and intellectual freedom should never be taken for granted, if you don’t believe me, ask a librarian.