August 25, 2003
"The American History and Civics Education Act of 2003"-- H.R. 1078On July 11th, we sent out an "Urgent Alert on the New Civics" On August 11th we alerted you that we were planning a National Call-in to Congress Day for early September when Congress comes back from their August recess.
Now, we are here to tell you that the "New Civics" bill, H.R. 1078 is essentially dead. H.R. 1078 will not be coming up for action!
Once again, we want to thank you for your action on this legislation. It's hard to believe that legislation that passed the Senate 90 - 0, with no dissenting testimony, with support from conservative and liberal Senators alike, is crippled. It's hard to believe that legislation that had 220 co-sponsors in the House, with support from conservatives and liberals alike, is now crippled.
In late July, it failed to get onto the "consent calendar." Being on the consent calendar would have allowed a simple voice vote with no House hearings, no amendments and no debate. Instead, H.R.1078 was left hanging for action after the August break. We were grateful.
Only last week, however, we discovered just how dead H.R.1078 really is. It is very unlikely that it will be brought up for a hearing or a vote! Therefore, we will not schedule our National Call-in to Congress Day.
The death of H.R.1078 demonstrates the power of the truth. Some good solid information to some very good Members of Congress made a world of difference. Once they knew what it was, the bill was crippled. And none too soon!
This also demonstrates the effectiveness of individuals who are equipped with facts and a clear, specific goal, working in unison of purpose.
Congratulations. This is a very significant victory. This marks the first time that the purveyors of the "New Civics" have experienced a defeat in Congress.
We will delay our Call-in Day to Congress for another time when our calling will need to make a decisive difference.
You may want to call your Member of Congress anyway, to reinforce your position. If the Congressional staff tells you, "This bill is going nowhere," remind them that dead bills sometimes are resurrected when we least expect it.
The Next Step:
It is time for Congress to take a serious look at the content of the Civics and Government standards and textbooks that are being promoted and supported by our tax dollars as the standard for good teaching. Members of Congress in both the House and the Senate need to look closely at the Center for Civic Education (CCE) and their "We the People" curriculum. They need to address the fact that the CCE is writing the framework for Civics in the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP).
Quotes from the federal "We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution" textbook (high school level):
"As fundamental and lasting as its guarantees have been, the U.S. Bill of Rights is a document of the eighteenth century, reflecting the issues and concerns of the age in which it was written...They express a fear of government power." (p. 207)
"It is doubtful that these Founders had in mind an uncritical acceptance of the 'wisdom of the past'...each generation must examine and evaluate them anew. Indeed, it is probable that the Founders would be somewhat surprised at the reverence in which they and their writings have been held by subsequent generations of Americans.
The Founders, themselves were vigorous critics of the ...principles in which they believed...They would expect no less of you." (p. 214)
There go the principle of self-evident truth and unalienable rights! The Founders didn't take them all that seriously, according to the federal Civics Standards that form the foundation of the textbooks, the testing and the teaching in our country today.
We need a Civics framework that clearly identifies and promotes the founding principles as itemized in the Declaration of Independence. They are:
a) national sovereignty;
b) natural law;
c) self-evident truths;
d) equality of all people;
e) God-given, inherent, unalienable rights; including
f) the right to life;
g) the right of liberty; and
h) the right of private property;
i) the purpose of government to protect these rights;
j) popular sovereignty.
We need a Civics framework that does not elevate the "common good" to be the purpose of government. The Declaration never mentions the common good. The U.S. Constitution itemizes the purposes of the Constitution as
1) to form a more perfect Union;
2) to establish justice;
3) to insure domestic Tranquility;
4) to provide for the common defense;
5) to promote the general Welfare, and
6) to secure the Blessings of Liberty.
The "common good" is mentioned among other Constitutional purposes. It is never mentioned as the purpose of government. When "common good" supercedes the unalienable rights of citizens, then the rights of citizens are no longer unalienable.
We need a Civics framework that teaches the distinction between the rights of citizens and the responsibilities of citizens. Our founding documents never mention responsibilities. Does that mean that we have none? Of course not. It simply means that when the new civics elevates the responsibilities of citizens to the same level as the unalienable rights of citizens, it puts government in charge of what citizens will do with our freedom.
For a review of "We the People," go to "Inside the new Federal Curriculum*******
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