Friday, January 12, 2007

Patriotism and History In Our Schools

There was a time when everyone just accepted that patriotism and pro-American sentiments would be taught in our public schools. Even the NEA published a pamphlet during WWII that talked about "the Japs"--they were certainly on board with wanting us to win that war.

How far we've fallen when New Jersey proposes to relieve schools of the burden of teaching the meanings of Veteran's Day and Memorial Day, as well as other holidays. I'm not a proponent of unvarnished, rose-colored history, but we don't need to insist that our students should hate their country, either.

Other holidays about which schools no longer would be required to teach include Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, Arbor Day and Commodore Barry Day, which commemorates Revolutionary War hero John Barry.

New Jersey schools must observe the holidays under a 1967 law designed to promote "the development of a higher spirit of patriotism." Florida, Nebraska and Washington are among states with similar laws.

What possible valuable, worthy reason could someone have for not wanting children to learn about these holidays? I anxiously await the anti-Columbus crowd (yawn) and the Hate America First crowd, among others.


Bob said...

"It's simply time and flexibility," so says Mike Yaple as he is obviously yapping on about something else that is more important at NJ School Boards Ass meetings. Why bother teaching anything at all at school?

We are very seriously wrong here ...

I would say thanks, Darren, for highlighting these idiocies but sooner or later the whole country is just going to check out with the attitude of why do we continually have to suffer these indignities that are thrust upon us every day.

Sign me, haven't given up yet.

Anonymous said...

I think it's interesting how the politics of PC history have pushed the general facts of our national history off the page and replaced it with the histories of small groups. It plays into the Salad Bowl vs. The Melting Pot theory and lies behind much of the push for people to be able to enter our country at will without documentation. Once again, without common beliefs, culture and language, we will end up as the Romans did with a sputtering economy and a corrupt government. Are we there yet?

allen said...

You might want to rethink your choice of example, EllenK. The Roman empire was around for quite a while and if longevity's the measure then we've got a long way to go yet to compete.

Whether we outlive the Roman empire though I believe we've established our national credentials as a milepost in human history and the reason can be found in the first line of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...

Democracy's a rare enough phenomenon in history and today that the study of American history and the establishment of the nation would be a worthwhile pursuit. But it's the explicitness of the assertion of equality of individuals and the subordination of the group to the individual that makes the American Constitution unique, important and worthy of study.