Civic Virtue And National Standards

HR1/S1 (also known as "No Child Left Behind") grants "such sums as are necessary" to a non-governmental organization (NGO) called the Center for Civics Education (CCE) so that they may "enhance student attainment of challenging academic content standards in civics and government" and "provide a course of instruction on the basic principles" of our country. (HR1: Title II, Part C, Sec. 2205, (b)(1)(A)(ii & iii).)

With that in mind, it is worth noting that the CCE begins its "National Standards for Civics and Government" by quoting Goal three of Goals 2000, "All students will be involved in activities that demonstrate... good citizenship, community service and personal responsibility." (Emphasis added.)

What most Americans mean by good citizenship and personal responsibility, however, is not at all what the CCE means by those words, as we will see later.

Government defining and directing personal activities, attitudes and responsibilities is the hallmark of tyranny. Throughout our land, schools are requiring "voluntary" community service of students as a requirement to graduate, usually during school hours. This is Goal 3 of Goals 2000 at work. (Home School Legal Defense Association, please note: Goals 2000 is repealed in name only. Every Goals 2000 mandate is reauthorized in No Child Left Behind.)

Along those lines, the CCE defines "civic virtue" in this way: "Civic virtue requires the citizen to place the public or common good above private interest." (Emphasis added.) (See their document, p.6)

Is this consistent with "inalienable rights" of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?" No, it is not. Our country was founded on the principle of the freedom of individual people. It was, and remains today, a revolutionary idea. The freedom of the individual, the sanctity of human life, is what made our country the land of liberty.

What does "liberty" mean when it is subjected to the common good? Marxist governments have always used the "common good" to justify every manner of violence and oppression against its own citizens. There is no limit to what can be justified in the name of the common good, as history has demonstrated through the generations.

Yet our five-year federal education funding law (HR1) authorizes this NGO (the CCE) to define for all America that civic virtue requires us to abandon the very foundation of our freedom.

For whom are these standards intended? The CCE tell us:

CCE documents are dripping with patriotic propaganda but riddled with redefining our constitution. Here is one more example for us to consider as we ponder this "official truth" now being mandated upon our teachers and our children in every school in our country (is this what is meant by "local control?").

In addressing our nation's system of divided powers representing the checks and balances of three co-equal branches of government (Executive, Legislative and Judicial) with their clearly defined and limited powers for each, the CCE defines it this way:

"Although the political system of the United States has traditionally been called a presidential system or system of separated powers, these terms do not reflect the reality of the complex system of dispersed powers created by the Constitution. It is inaccurate to say, for example, that the power to make laws has been separated and given solely to the legislature.

"Although powers are separated among the different branches of national, state, and local governments, they also are shared. Each branch shares some of the powers and functions of the other branches. For example, although Congress may pass laws, the president may veto them. Some law, administrative law, is created by the executive branch. Finally, Congress passes laws, but the Supreme Court may review their constitutionality.

"Contemporary students of government increasingly refer to the United States and nations with similar arrangements for the distribution, sharing, and limitation of powers as 'systems of shared powers,' because this phrase is a more accurate description than the term 'separation of powers.' It is therefore being used in these standards." (See their document, p. 6-7)

The national standards simply redefine the U.S. Constitution to mean whatever they decide it means. In their view, legislating from the courts is not "unconstitutional," just part of "shared powers," a concept foreign to our constitution.

Do not be deceived: when the powers of government have the power to define truth and to enforce it upon our schools, our teachers and our students, academic freedom ceases to exist.

Julie Quist
MREdCo, Vice President