AACTE President & CEO Discusses Academic Freedom at #SpeechMatters Conference
AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone recently joined other leaders from higher education, politics, media, and civil society in exploring ways for institutions of higher education to protect democratic freedoms during the fifth annual #SpeechMatters conference. Themed “Fighting for our Democratic Freedoms,” the conference was held virtually in March to respond to the increasing number of state legislation aimed at censoring curriculum and democratic values significantly weakened by political polarization and misinformation.
Gangone was a featured speaker on the panel that addressed the question: Are Attacks on Academic Freedom a Threat to Democracy? During her opening remarks, she said, “In the words of Derek W. Black, author of Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy, ‘… Placing education above normal politics and expecting courts to serve as a check, are in the service of something larger — the original idea that education is the foundation of our constitutional democracy, [that] education is the means by which citizens preserve their other rights. It gives citizens the tools they need to hold their political leaders accountable. It allows children from all stations of life a fair shot at the American dream. Education, when provided for all, embodies the idea that America is a land of opportunity where individuals can become self-made and set their own destiny. Democracy simply does not work well without educated citizens.’”
To hear Gangone’s full panel discussion, please watch the recorded session (begin at 1:39:44).