It is appropriate to announce the launch of the National Constitutional Literacy Campaign in a special section of The Washington Times, because it was The Washington Times that brought us together.
Sustaining Our Freedom: Launching a campaign for Constitutional literacy
Sustaining Our Freedom: Launching a campaign for Constitutional literacy is a Sponsored Report prepared by The Washington Times Advocacy Department and Essentials in Education (EIE).
If you pick up a newspaper, magazine, or academic journal around Constitution Day, you are very likely to read about the troubling decline in civic knowledge and engagement in this country. The statistics I discussed in the introduction to this special section are startling.
A decade ago, Senator Robert Byrd spearheaded the designation of September 17th as Constitution Day. The holiday commemorates the momentous day in 1787 when 39 delegates in Philadelphia signed the Constitution.
In 1788, James Madison wrote in Federalist 45: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."
Constitution Day on September 17th is a uniquely American holiday, far more unique than the Fourth of July.
While initially penned on parchment paper, the Constitution transcends time and technology to remain one of the most influential and inspirational documents in the history of the world.
Six eleventh graders bang their fists on the desks in unison setting up the background beat for what's to come.
We have a saying here at the National Constitution Center: we are not here to teach lawyers, we are here to teach citizens. This is our rallying cry--one we need because making a 228-year document relevant to a 21st-century audience isn't easy. Now, after years of planning, we have found a way to take this 18th-century document into every classroom in America.
In order for us to preserve our system of ordered liberty, American society must rely on the knowledge, skills, and virtue of its citizens and those we elect to public office.
The United States is exceptional not because of what it has achieved—independence, power, wealth, or status—but for what it stands for: liberty, equal rights, popular consent, the rule of law, constitutional self-government. To transmit this knowledge from one generation of citizens to the next is the most important requisite for American democracy.
Educators throughout the country have long understood the value of teaching about the United States Constitution. State education leaders have enhanced the significance of that instruction by giving it a prominent place in the key documents that guide teachers in public schools—learning standards.
Words have power. Ideas stir the soul, but until ideas are embodied with words they are only dreams that fade away when the bright sun of reality dawns. What the brave men and women of 1776 did was face the sun and boldly declare what they knew to be true, knowing that the probability of such ideas surviving was at best a dream.
As a naive young boy seeking my own happiness, it was second nature for me to believe that most people were the same way. I believed that attaining personal happiness was more than enough of a challenge for people, without adding other people into the mix. I thought that this was the natural state of affairs.
The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation's Report Card, recently released the 2014 testing results of a representative sampling of 29,000 eighth graders across the country in the subjects of history, geography, and civics. The results were disappointing, yet not surprising.
America has a crisis in history and civic education. As previous articles in this special section have detailed, the evidence abounds.
How did America as a fledgling nation 239 years ago grow into a superpower standing for human freedom across the globe?
This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institution at Princeton University, a program that in the words of its founder, Prof. Robert George, "celebrates the founding principles that have made America great."
The National Constitutional Literacy Campaign is a good idea, and donors to get behind this effort to make it a great outreach for all Americans.