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Teaching the Constitution and Bill of Rights

It is ironic that our nation, founded on a Constitution and given life by the Sons of Liberty – organizers of the tax protest known as the Boston Tea Party – finds the modern tax collector targeting groups that seek to educate people about the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is outrageous that the IRS would target groups based on ideology but this goes so much further. It is deeply unsettling that anyone is targeted for educating Americans about their founding document and their rights.

Should not this be an important subject throughout K-12 public education? My experience as a parent of three elementary school children has proved to me their formal learning about history is deficient when it comes to understanding the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is not a deficiency in the teachers. Some teachers bolster their lessons on this topic but our state leaders in education have let us down by not fully investing in teaching our children about their own history and rights. It should be noted that this deficiency exists with Georgia’s current standards for learning and the Common Core does not appear to fix this. My own opinion is that our elementary schools should have far more focus on the philosophical origins of our nation and the documents that bind us to them. By the end of 5th grade, our children should be able to enumerate their rights, with full understanding as to their meaning. If our children are not fully educated about the origins of our Republic, we should all worry about the continuity of their rights and freedom in the future. I want our children to inherit a world where they are secure in their rights and freedom. This latest scandal gives me pause to wonder if those in government bureaucracies are now either uneducated about our history or truly believe that our rights and freedoms are an existential threat to them, or some of both. Whatever the case may be, it is Leviathan Government, which is antithetical to government of the people, by the people, for the people.


(2) comments
  1. As the parent of a son who is very interested in history, I could not agree more. However, let’s not forget to teach a well rounded history of our founding: This country was founded on the blood and sweat of true and dedicated patriots fighting against a distant and tyrannical monarchy. They were common people who performed extraordinary deeds against impossible odds. But this country was also founded on the blood and sweat of African slaves who’s forced labor paid for the war and backed loans from foreign monarchies, and who themselves were regularly used as payment to patriot soldiers for service. And we should not forget to teach about the often bloody approriation of land from the native Americans who were already here. The collective philosphy of our founders for the future of our country was noble and good, and they were some of the greatest thinkers of their time. But their deeds were often at odds with their words and professed beliefs: Over half of those in attendance at the constitutional convention were slave holders; women had few rights; during the first few decades of this nation’s existence, no less than a dozen treaties with native Americans were broken by the new republic. We must teach that our current government of the people by the people, for the people was hard won through struggle with outside forces, but also through struggle with ourselves. We must teach that we are better people today thanks to our founders – but also in spite of them.

  2. […] Perhaps the better question is why the entire Bill of Rights is not taught under Common Core standards. Here’s what Nancy Jester says should be taught. […]

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