Academic Freedom

The concept of academic freedom, based on First Amendment freedom of speech, applies generally to all levels of education. As the Fifth Circuit wrote in Edwards v. Aguillard (1985), a case that eventually made its way to the Supreme Court on the issue of creation science, academic freedom is “the principle that individual instructors are at liberty to teach that which they deem to be appropriate in the exercise of their professional judgment (p. 1257).”

Disputes over classroom content and methodology typically pit a teacher's claim of academic freedom against an educational institution's clearly established, though not absolute, authority to prescribe the curriculum in its schools. Such struggles to determine what will be taught, and in what manner it will be presented, turn school districts, colleges, ...

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