Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Why Is Teaching Civics Critical to a Strong America?

            Families, communities, and nations are stronger when individuals understand the laws of the locality, state, and nation. Knowing the correct history of America, what the Constitution says, and why America is great is essential to greater hope in the greatness of America.

            The United States is facing a two-prong problem. One prong is the fact that the teaching of civics and history is schools has declined. The other prong consists of the efforts to undermine the founding principles of America. According to Katie Gorka, two of those efforts are Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and The New York Times’ “1619 Project.”

            Numerous surveys show that civic history and love of country are declining. There are fewer Americans who “think that our nation is the best place of hope, opportunity, and community.” Many people have wondered how to bring back the level of “knowledge and understanding of America’s founding values and principles.” Lindsey Burke at The Heritage Foundation explained that this knowledge and understanding was the reason behind the establishment of the public-school system in America. 

Horace Mann, a leading advocate of public education in the mid-1800s, when America was still a young nation, said that a republic whose citizens were uneducated would be like an insane asylum. He believed that public education was essential to cultivating civic virtue and character in students.

That was the primary driver of tax-payer-funded public schools.

            The public-school system failed to do its job. Somewhere along the way, public educators decided that teaching civics and history was not necessary. A national assessment test results show that “only 24% of eighth-grade students performed proficiently on the civics exam.” One official said that students do not know important facts about the United States, but they do not believe America is a good country. “[T]hey do not have a deep understanding of what is right and true and good and beautiful about America.”

            Anyone who knows anything about the history of our nation knows that there are black marks against us. There is nothing right, true, good, or beautiful about slavery, racism, and racial segregation. There are people in our nation who have not seen fulfilment of the “promises of liberty and equality for all.” However, those promises in the Declaration of the Independence are what all the wars in America have been about for more than two centuries. Gorka explained how learning civics and American history can help to realize those blessings.

… Civics can equip young people – indeed, all Americans – to say we share in those promises, and we will not give up on them.

As a nation, we must be more intentional about reaffirming, illuminating, explaining, and disseminating the founding principles of freedom and individual liberty in compelling ways to prompt the next generation to safeguard our republic for generations to come.

That means going beyond the rudiments of civics. We must teach the next generations a deeper understanding of why our Founders risked their lives for the right to govern themselves, why they believed a Constitution and the Bill of Rights were necessary, and why they committed to equality for all, but then failed to codify that in the Constitution.

            Experts of all kinds suggest that “the solution lies in education, and in particular, in a return to primary sources.” They say that the founding documents are easy to read, and their ideas speak for themselves. Gorka suggested that students should be encouraged to read the words of the Founders and learn what they considered to be “right, true, good, and beautiful about America.” This type of study would strengthen families, communities, and our nation

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