Click here to read the NCTE Council Chronicle review of At the Schoolhouse Gate: Lessons in Intellectual Freedom!
"It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." With this pronouncement in 1969, Justice Abe Fortas laid down the law. But this has by no means meant that intellectual freedom reigns supreme. Far from it-American public schools can be the worst offenders, as Gloria Pipkin and ReLeah Cossett Lent make clear in this extraordinary account of courage, commitment, and caring for the teaching profession.
Over the last two decades Pipkin and Lent have worked together to build a tradition of intellectual freedom within public schools. Their book describes their struggles as cultural workers, the pedagogical and legal strategies they employed, the resistance they encountered, the lessons they learned, and the impact that they've seen on the lives of the students they serve. Their story brings vividly to life some of the most important questions in public education today:
Do First Amendment protections apply to teachers and students in K-12?
Who controls what we can read and write in schools?
Is inquiry or indoctrination at the heart of schooling?
Can critical literacy survive the machinations of shortsighted bureaucrats and board members?
Through two intertwined stories spanning nearly two decades, the authors address these questions. They also provide specific strategies for teachers trapped in similar circumstances. Emotionally intense, yet practical, At the Schoolhouse Gate provides for every teacher what every good teacher wants for his or her students: inspiration and elevation.