Needed: Civics and History Remedial Education

A few months ago, there was a big stir about Texas changing its social studies curriculum.   Historians were not pleased by the changes, among them:

The curriculum plays down the role of Thomas Jefferson among the founding fathers, questions the separation of church and state,

For a number of reasons, this set off a firestorm of criticism from various groups.   There was a lot of criticism about the potential decline in history studies because of this, some of which I agree with.  I think the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence is a big deal, but that’s just my personal opinion. There was also the usual political critics.

But more recently, I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of people who need remedial education on the Constitution and its history.  What triggered this realization was when I was in the comments on another blog, and the person was insisting that we should read the Federalist Papers to understand what the Founding Fathers had thought about the 14’th Amendment.   I have read them, as part of a history course in college, and although it’s been a while, I didn’t recall any discussion of the 14’th Amendment in them.  That’s because there isn’t.  The Federalist Papers were published between 1787 and 1788.  The 14’th Amendment was passed in 1868.  I seriously doubt that the authors had discussed an Amendment which wouldn’t exist for some 80 years.   They may have been ahead of their time in many ways, but they were not clairvoyant.

The more I look around, the more I realize that there are a lot of people who claim the Constitution supports their particular viewpoint, when in fact it doesn’t. They claim they’re doing what the founding fathers of this country intended – when a study of history shows something quite different.  There are others who claim to want to “restore the Constitution,” while never quite explaining why it was done away with, because the last time I looked, it was still in operation.   Then there are those who swore to support it, who seem to have forgotten that oath.

As I said in a previous post, the Constitution is a most inconvenient document.  But if you want to argue about what it says, what the authors meant, and how it applies, then you should actually read it and study the history surrounding it.  Because what I’m seeing is telling me that a lot of people haven’t.  Which means that besides teaching our children about it, we need to have some serious remedial education for adults on it.


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