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Volume V, Issue # 266, November 3, 2003
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor
Government Committed to & Acting in Accord with Conservative Principles
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By Tom DeWeese

The Declaration of Independence is quite clear about where governmental power is sup- posed to come from. It says: “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” In other words, the people of the United States of America give power to the government. Government does not have the power to “grant” our rights. Where, according to The Declaration, does such an idea come from? According to the Declaration, such ideas are “Self-Evident.” Or, in the language of today’s youth, “DUH!”

So, given that the Declaration Of Independence is one of the two most important docu- ments in the history of the United States of America, one would expect that such con- cepts would be the very foundation of the civics curriculum in our nation’s public schools. Well, DUH! Not if the Center for Civics Education (CCE) succeeds in bamboozling Con- gress into passing H.R. 1078, the “American History and Civics Education Act of 2003” to establish the “Presidential Academies to Teach the New Civics.”

“New Civics.” Look out! Get ready for some more “newspeak.” According to CCE doc- uments promoting the New Civics, the “Old Civics” consists of a “heavy-handed, mind- numbing” indoctrination of “uncontested political loyalty to the state and society….” In other words, the Old Civics suggested loyalty to our sovereign nation, the United States of America.

So what is “New Civics”? Well CCE provides a wonderful answer for that question: “In this century, by contrast with the past, we may reasonably speculate that education for citizenship in a democracy will, with each decade, become everywhere more global, in- ternational, and comparative in curricular content and processes of teaching and learn- ing. And we ought to think now about how to improve our current curricular frameworks and standards for a world transformed by globally accepted and internationally tran- scendent principles and processes of democracy.”

Now for those of you who are constantly puzzled by current events and wonder why to- day’s school kids lack understanding of and loyalty to our great nation, now is your op- portunity to catch up. In case you missed the paragraph above, New Civics is a proposed public school curricula advocating global government and global citizenship in which GOVERNMENT grants our rights. New Civics is opposed to sovereign nations and limited government under the control of the people.

Such ideas do not come from America’s founding documents. To the contrary, our Con- stitution was written to try to protect us from the globalist and authoritarian concepts presented in the New Civics.

Our Founding Fathers created a government that was controlled by the people, rather than the other way around. The rule of law was to be supreme over group whims and pop- ular fads and prejudices. Such concepts as those contained in the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were, and are, unique in a world ruled by dictators, kings, and potentates. That’s why it’s so important that American children and youth are taught the unique concepts of the American ideal of free markets, free minds, and a free society protected by concrete laws. What else should be discussed in civics class other than the tools needed to keep such a system in place?

These are the ideals that the CCE and its New Civics seek to deride. They have no in- terest in keeping the American Constitutional Democratic Republic in place. The New Civics teaches that the U.S. model of constitutional republican democracy, or constitu- tional democratic republicanism, is just a “long-standing American tradition,” unique to the U.S.A., but no more important than any other model of democracy.

The New Civics teaches that American classrooms would be doing a disservice to stu- dents by suggesting that America’s recognition of inalienable rights deserves any supe- rior place in the spectrum of world politics. Instead, they pack the genius of our Founding Fathers with every run-of-the-mill democracy on the globe, including those with no recog- nition of individual liberties. American students are now to learn that we’re nothing spe- cial.

Our Bill of Rights, so vital in the establishment of the American constitutional order, is now depicted as “negative rights.” The American model of rugged individualism, where citizens are free to pursue their own wants, needs and dreams, but without direct in- volvement of the government, is considered a “negative” in the New Civics. Never mind that it was the American constitutional and governmental system that made possible and facilitated creation of the greatest economy and standard of living the world has ever known, and never mind that our government, from the very beginning of the American nation, recognized that, under God-made natural law, as well as under the man-made law comprising our Constitution, we had unquestionable, undeniable rights from birth.

According to the New Civics curriculum, Socialist democracies like Estonia and Lithu- ania have “positive constitutionalism in regard to human rights.” That means that the government is required to provide a broad array of social and economic entitlements. “Human rights” is defined as an expansive social welfare state. The human rights model used in the New Civics is not the U.S. Bill of Rights, but the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which would put world government in charge of overseeing every aspect of our public, personal, and family lives. The UN’s document describes what its calls social, economic, and solidarity “rights,” socalled "rights" that are also called “positive rights.” Estonia, according to the new American civics standards, is a better model for the new century.

The term “national sovereignty” never appears in the textbook that accompanies the New Civics, called We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution. In lesson 37 of the textbook, the question is asked: “How may citizenship change in the Nation’s Third Century?” The answer is clearly revealed on page 202 of the textbook:

    “The achievements of modern technology are turning the world into a global vil- lage.”

    “National corporations are becoming international.”

    “The culture we live in is becoming cosmopolitan, that is, belonging to the whole world.”

    ”The issues confronting American citizens are increasingly international.”

    “Issues of economic competition, the environment, and the movement of peoples around the world require an awareness of political associations that are larger in scope than the nation-state.”

Now what could such an entity be? The United Nations perhaps? The section of the book ends with this question: “Do you think that world citizenship will be possible in your life- time?”

The fact is the Declaration of Independence was specifically a declaration of national sovereignty for the United States of America and an express recognition of the existence of God-given, natural rights inhering in the indivisual members of society--the inalien- able rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, rights which government could not justly deny the people, but was duty-bound to observe, protect, and preserve. It is also a fact that the United States Constitution confirmed these inherent, inalienable rights and established a federal union of autonomous or semi-authnomous states, creating a com- mon national government with effective governing powers, yet leaving in the hands of the states partial but substantial powers of regional or local home rule, or self-government. Still another fact is that the Declaration of Independence, as well as many of the Ameri- can state constitutions, expressly recognize that all just powers of government derive from the consent of the governed, that the legitimate powers of government flow from the people.

How can American public schools, authorized by American law and paid for by American taxpayers, conduct civics classes in which teachers and textbooks ignore American na- tional sovereignty, the inherent, inalienable rights of the individual, state and local self- government, and the people as the source of the legitimate powers of government?

Why is legislation to impose the New Civics curriculum on state and local public schools now being considered before Congress? Why is an attempt being made to force state- funded and locally-operated schools to adopt this curriculum? Because news reports have shown that American students are woefully ignorant of how our government works and those recent graduates already working in society show an alarming disinterest in the voting booth. So the drive is on to teach civics “better.”

It must be understood that, since 1994, America’s public schools have been forced to use the National Education Standards adopted to accompany the federal Goals 2000 curricu- lum. And education based on and in accord with the 1994 standards is the education re- ceived by those very students and young adults whose ignorance now alarms today’s of- ficials.

Worse, the 1994 standards for civics were written by the Center for Civic Education--the same CCE now authorized by Congress to create the enhanced version laid out in H.R. 1078. Under federal grant, the CCE creates the standards, creates the curriculum, and distributes it to schools by federal law and with federal money. The CCE also receives federal tax dollars to train teachers to teach the CCE's version of civics. At one such training class, a speaker diminished the meaning of the Declaration of Independence as simply a political declaration to justify a violent revolution. His comments were typical of the tone of the class.

Such curricula are the reasons for the growing public panic about education in our schools, as American students continue to fall behind students of other nations. Rather than learning about the American system of government, unique in comparison to gov- ernment anywhere else on earth, American students are being indoctrinated into accept- ing the UN’s version of global governance. And lest you think that President Bush has solved the problem, his “Leave No Child Behind Act,” supported by Ted Kennedy, re- authorized the Goals 2000 Standards, and provides nearly $100 million to pay for more curricula like the New Civics.

Congress, as usual, is clueless to the problem. Members have apparently only read the outline of H.R. 1078, which does specify that key events, individuals, and ideas involved in the founding of the American Republic be taught in the classrooms. They have failed to review the ideas being promoted by the organization they have authorized to carry out the implementation. That can be the only explanation as to why currently 216 members of the House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 1078.

However, there are signs that some members of Congress are starting to realize their mistake, as six members have recently removed their co-sponsorship from the bill. If enough members can be persuaded to look at the facts, instead of rubberstamping any- thing under the name of education, then H.R. 1078 can be stopped and American civics can be saved. Otherwise, the ideals of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin will eventually be obliterated from the nation they helped found.

More on Education & America'a Schools

A Practical Guide to Homeschooling

Tom DeWeese is the Publisher and Editor of The DeWeese Report and President of the American Policy Center, a grassroots activist think tank. Headquartered in War- renton, Virginia, the Center maintains an Internet site at Mailing Address: American Policy Center, 50-A South Third St. (#1), Warrenton, VA 20186. Telephone: (540) 341-8911.

Copyright 2003 Tom DeWeese

Published with Permission of Alan Caruba

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