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    McCarthyism Fought Against in Vintage Movie about Education

    Freedom to Learn explores the implications of 1950's communist witch hunts through the story of Mrs. Orin, a high school social studies teacher. When a parent notices that her daughter’s notes contain information about communism, she confronts Mrs. Orin and eventually takes the issue all the way to the school board. Mrs. Orin must defend herself in front of the angry mob by explaining that she doesn’t teach communism, but teaches about communism. She claims that her students must know about communism in order to understand current events and to make informed decisions about their own government. She also notes the irony of her being questioned about what she’s teaching in a country that espouses educational freedom. The film's conclusion is a chilling representation of the times - Mrs. Orin may not prevail in her quest for freedom of speech and ideas.