I am being lazy today but since only nine of you read this the first time I decided to reblog.
WE THE PEOPLE….
I hear variations of the same question, “What are our kids being taught in schools today? Why don’t we know MORE about ‘THE LAW’?” I will be honest, after spending over forty years in the profession, most of those years as a social studies teacher, I must answer, “I don’t know.” I would also point out from what I have seen, MANY OF THE PEOPLE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT DON’T KNOW THE LAW either…nor do they know the history behind the law…and they are my age. I do believe we are getting exactly what someone has asked for…A LESS THAN AWARE ELECTORIATE. How else do you explain continuing to elect and re-elect the same idiots…on both sides of the aisle? How else do you explain allowing our constitutional democracy to turn into an oligarchy…not that most of us can even define it. Let’s keep education on the back burner why don’t we. Pay now or pay later I guess…and continue to add to the profit lines of the already very, very rich and corrupt. All righty, that’s the wrong soapbox.
Remember Civics? It was a course I took in junior high school. Now, in my part of the world, we don’t teach it anymore. Instead of Civics, a little Constitution is taught along with South Carolina History in the eighth grade. In high school, US History and Constitution is required in the junior year along with Government and Economics in the senior year. A total of less than a year devoted to the laws and rights we enjoy and Economics taught when Seniors are afflicted with the nearing graduation disease, Senioritis. Why don’t we donate a little more time to our own Constitution? Do we really need to teach World History before the Renaissance again and why DID we get rid of recess?
I have to admit, constitutional law in the eighth grade or during middle school is probably not a good idea. Were it left to me, middle schoolers would be locked up and not let out until high school. From my own remembrances I learned more about the little brunette girl and her rapidly expanding chest than anything about the First Amendment. From my middle school teaching experiences, I would say this hasn’t changed…LAWD HAVE MERCY THE RAGING HORMONES! My junior year? I did a little better with US History and but again learned very little about the Constitution. This time it wasn’t the fault of the much more mature brunette girl. I CAN remember my teacher telling us about dropping an “Atomic Bum” on Hiroshima. “Bum” was the way he pronounced it, “Bum” instead of “Bomb.” I admit to having a vision of a “glowing hobo” falling from the bomb bay a B-29. Not any remembrances about Constitution though.
Kidding aside, may be, I admit Civics in the Sixties was a little akin to “indoctrination.” Despite being taught otherwise in primary school George Washington could not have thrown a silver dollar across the Potomac. It would be several years before I came to that realization as I stood at the edge of the Potomac gazing at Washington a mile or more on the other side. I don’t know about the cherry tree either but have my doubts.
I believe our laws and rights should be taught with an emphasis on how our government really works rather than how it is supposed to work. Maybe this time with a little less emphasis on “my government right or wrong” along with “I’d rather be dead than red,” and more about truth “warts and all.” When I took Civics it was still about “American Exceptionalism” and defeating the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Viet Nam and Watergate changed those dynamics. Maybe we should try to get over Viet Nam and Watergate, not forget them…actually learn from them. Maybe when the politicians and our government learn.
In some ways social studies has become an afterthought in today’s educational environment…along with “related arts.” English, along with the math and sciences, are considered more important because they are what we test on. Despite this and other limitations, if I were to find myself back in the classroom teaching again, SHUTTER-SHUTTER, I would teach US History and Constitution outside of the box. I would start, not at the beginning but, where we are now and work backwards to understand how we arrived at where we are now. War, Social Issues, Civil Rights, and a myriad of other issues, in no particular order, along with a heavy dose of the Constitution would be themes that I would attempt to help the students come to grips with…and possibly myself.
Don Miller has written three books which may be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM
Inspirational true stories in WINNING WAS NEVER THE ONLY THING can be downloaded for $1.99.
“STUPID MAN TRICKS” explained in FLOPPY PARTS for $.99.
“Southern Stories of the Fifties and Sixties…” in PATHWAYS for $3.99.
All may be purchased in paperback.