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First Amendment Literacy

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Most students aren’t familiar with Constitution Day and have a limited awareness of the First Amendment, even though a federal law passed three years ago began requiring schools to teach students about the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment every year on Sept. 17, a survey shows.

It found that more than half of all high school students said they hadn’t even heard of Constitution Day and just one in 10 could remember how their high school celebrated the day last year.

The survey of students at 40 high schools also found that they had a limited awareness of the First Amendment, with three-quarters of students saying they take First Amendment freedoms for granted or didn’t know how they felt about the provision.

The survey, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and conducted by University of Connecticut researchers, also found that parents, not teachers, had the greatest impact on students’ choice of news sources.

Vol. 27, Issue 05, Page 5

Published in Print: September 26, 2007, as First Amendment Literacy

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