Freedom of Teaching

August 15, 1936

Report Outline
The Controversy Over Academic Freedom
Fight for Academic Freedom in Colleges
Legislative Restrictions on Lower Schools
Teachers' Loyalty Oath Laws
Role of Education in a Democracy

The Controversy Over Academic Freedom

Controversy over freedom of teaching—generated by the adoption of teachers' oath laws in one-fourth of the states during the last five years, by legislative investigations of radical teachings in colleges, and by dismissals of teachers for their political and economic beliefs—has reached an intensity matched only in the agitation over restrictions applied in the field of education during and immediately after the World War.

Mrs. William A. Becker, president-general of the Daughters of the American Revolution, announced on August 8, that her organization would undertake a campaign at the opening of the 1936–37 school term for strict enforcement of teachers' oath laws in the dozen states in which they exist and would seek the enactment of similar laws in all other states.

No patriotic teacher should object to taking the oath of allegiance [Mrs. Becker said]. It, is an honor, not a reflection upon character…. We are not trying to raise any “red scare,” but do maintain our position is sound. Our one purpose in insisting on this pledge is to weed out, as far as possible, the un-American teacher engaged in planting subversive doctrines in the minds of future citizens.

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