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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Praise our teachers for important work

    By GERA SUMMERFORD
    Tennessee Education Association
    Public education reform has been a hot-button topic at both the state and federal levels for several years.  

    When the Bush Administration passed No Child Left Behind, the plan called for every student in every public school achieving specific learning goals by 2014.  

    Since its passage, we have seen an increase in standardized and high-stakes tests across the nation and here in Tennessee, since many reformers believe the only way to measure student achievement is through testing.

  • GUEST OPINION: Tragedies reshape news reporting effort

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Two national tragedies separated by six years and a day – the April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon and the April 16, 2007, mass shooting at Virginia Tech University – also are notable in marking how technology is reshaping our freedoms of speech and press.

  • GUEST OPINION: Flower refusal at gay wedding now legal issue

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Imagine Robert Ingersoll’s hurt and humiliation last month when his local florist refused to do the flower arrangements for his wedding to Curt Freed, his partner of nine years.

    As longtime customers of Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Wash., Ingersoll and Freed had mistakenly assumed that shop owner Barronelle Stutzman would be happy to provide the service.

    But also imagine the pain Stutzman felt at having to turn down a friend and neighbor.

  • GUEST OPINION: States’ Ag-Gag bill should make us all feel sick

    By KEN PAULSON
    President, First Amendment Center

    Imagine Upton Sinclair with an iPhone.

    Sinclair went undercover in 1904 to document squalid conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking plants, leading to his muckraking novel The Jungle.

    His reporting led to new public health laws two years later.

    In today’s social media world, Upton’s expose would have gone viral.

    Sure, we would have lost a classic book, but just consider the retweets.
    That possibility unsettles some in the agriculture industry.

  • GUEST OPINION: College should respect right to put out fliers

    A student at Des Moines Area Community College is challenging the school’s limits on leafleting on First Amendment grounds.

    Jacob Dagel has filed a lawsuit in federal court contending that the school’s restrictions on distributing fliers violates his free speech rights, according to the Des Moines Register.

    The college requires a 10-day notice and limits distribution of leaflets to a single hallway in the student services center.

  • GUEST OPINION: NC proposal does not protect religious liberty

    Here’s a quick primer on a recent proposal by two North Carolina legislators to permit the state to designate a state religion:
    First, the North Carolina Speaker of the House effectively killed the proposal one day after it was filed, saying it “will not advance” to a committee hearing.

    Second, even if enacted, it would not survive constitutional scrutiny under existing Supreme Court decisions.

  • GUEST OPINION: Reporter takes up shield; what will courts do?

    The judge in the Colorado movie theater shooting case has decided to buy some time.

    Colorado District Court Judge Carlos Samour  Jr. has postponed a decision on whether Fox News reporter Jana Winter will be required to reveal her anonymous sources.  

    Winter’s reporting revealed that shooting suspect James Holmes had mailed a notebook outlining  violent plans and depicting illustrations of a shooting attack to a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado, where he had gone to school.

  • OUR OPINION: Disappointment over rejection of ankle bracelets

    It’s a shame the Roane County Commission failed the taxpayers on a potential resource — ankle bracelets — to save taxpayers some revenue while expanding our arsenal to deal with nonviolent crime.

    We’d like to give a nod to the commissioners who voted Monday in favor of the measure, which would have allocated $25,000 for an ankle-bracelet monitoring program.

    The commissioners who stuck their necks out in an effort to save taxpayers some money were Copper Bacon, James Brummett, Randy Ellis, Jerry Goddard, Chris Johnson and Fred Tedder.

  • GUEST OPINION: Egypt doesn’t have political sense of humor

    Egypt has reportedly arrested a comedian for mocking President Mohamed Morsi, prompting criticism by the U.S. State Department.

    The State Department said the arrest of television personality Bassem Youssef  was “evidence of a disturbing trend of growing restrictions on freedom of expression,” according to Voice of America News.

    The incident stands in contrast to the robust nature of freedom of expression through humor and satire in the United States.

  • Price for SROs in every school much too steep

    The tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., prompted many, if not most, schools systems across the country to re-evaluate their safety plans.
    It also has prompted calls from some — including people in Roane County — to dedicate a school resource officer at every school.
    Resource is a key word here. If resources were no object, it would be fine to assign an officer to every one of Roane County’s 17 elementary, middle and high schools.
    We could be even safer and assign an officer to each and every classroom.