Academic Freedom. By Amy Miller. Academic Freedom. Academic freedom is a concept upheld in American universities that supports the freedom of inquiry (freedom to learn) by both students and faculty members, and the freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts .
By Amy Miller
*Public employment was a privilege, not a right.
*Earlier cases held that contract provisions between the board and the teacher could prohibit the exercise of various rights and freedoms.
*If the teacher violated the terms of the contract, though they were repressive of teachers’ rights, the teacher could be dismissed.
*Teachers could be dismissed for marriage, absence from school for childbirth, or discussion of politics in the classroom.
*The courts based their conclusions on common law reasonableness, not constitutional rights and freedoms.
*School boards could dismiss teachers for “valid reasons,” or at the pleasure of the board, which many times bore little relationship on their ability to teach.
*This balance does not remove all state restraint on teachers.
*The courts have a strong belief that teachers are in a sensitive position and must be held accountable for certain activities both in and out of the school.
Pappas v. Giuliani (2002) 290 F. 3d. 143.
*First, the initial inquiry is whether the speech is a matter of public or private concern.
*Second, if the speech is found to be a matter of public concern, the court must then apply the Pickering balance test.
*can be reasonably believed to undermine authority
*harms working relationships