Why Does This Topic Matter: Thinking About the Big Issues

Issues of contuining relevance

This page describes some of the general ideas that the Oregon School Case website can illuminate in the classroom.

The Oregon School Case raises a number of issues that persist to the present day:

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Direct Democracy

  • Does the Oregon School Case tell us anything about the strengths and weaknesses of direct democracy?
  • Is direct democracy better or worse than representative democracy? Use a specific example to support your answer.
  • Should there be limits on direct democracy? If so, what should they be?

What is an American and how to "make" one?

  • What does it mean to be an American?
  • How did the definition of American differ between those who supported and opposed the Compulsory Education Law? Did they share any elements of their definition?
  • What do we, as Americans today, need to have in common? Do we need to share ideas, laws, language, religion, customs? Why? Do we need to have anything in common?
  • Should immigrants be forced to be "Americanized?" Should they be "Americanized" by the government, family, church, employers? By what method or means should this be done?

Parental Rights versus the Powers and Duties of the State to Educate

  • Are there limits to parents' rights over their children? What are those limits? Who should determine them? How?
  • Are there limits to what parents can teach their children? Are there limits to the religious beliefs and practices that they can teach?
  • Does the state have an obligation, a duty, and the power to educate children? What are the limits to what it can require?
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