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We The People Competition

January 4, 2005

We the People competition
People frequently ask about the connection between We the People competition and We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curriculum. WTP competition is a high school program funded by the Department of Education through the National Endowment for the Humanities. WTP curriculum is based on a radical set of National Standards for Civics and Government funded by the Department of Education through the Center for Civic Education (CCE) in California.

While WTP competition is not necessarily built on WTP curriculum (see FedEd: The New Federal Curriculum and How  It’s Enforced), it stands to reason that the standards of the federally funded WTP curriculum might commonly be used as the basis for preparing students for WTP competition. The Indianapolis Star newspaper made that connection clear last month, by stating that WTP textbook would be used as a study manual. One alert citizen wrote this letter to The Indianapolis Star in response:

25 December 2004
To the Editor
The Indianapolis Star
Dear Sir:
It was with great interest that I noted in your newspaper of December 23 that two local teams won a “We the People” competition and were headed to Washington, D. C. to compete in the national contest for state high school “civics savvy” winners. I was particularly surprised that the textbook “We the People” as used as a study manual. Let me give you a few examples of its shortcomings.
This textbook’s view of the Bill of Rights is decidedly lukewarm, and Unit 5 it does not even mention the Second Amendment, the Ninth Amendment or the Tenth Amendment. Yet this section is titled “What Rights does the Bill of Rights Protect?”
Elsewhere the text teaches there is no right of the private citizens to own or bear arms. Yet only recently the Justice Department issued a long paper detailing that the right to bear arms is a fundamental individual liberty. The Ninth and Tenth amendments describe those rights reserved to the states and that those rights not specifically delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. Textbooks have historically separated between those powers delegated to the central government and those reserved to the states. This textbook doesn’t even mention the words “reserved rights.”
The Declaration of Independence begins with a statement of national sovereignty, yet this book “We the People” not once mentions the concept of “National Sovereignty”. Without these basic facts, these students are not prepared for any contest in Washington and are certainly not prepared to assume leadership positions in our sovereign country. Its worldview is hostile to national sovereignty.
May I quote from its We the People textbook pages? It states “…Issues of economic competition, the environment, and the movement of peoples around the world require an awareness of political associations that are larger in scope than the nation-state.” (p 202) that is, We the People strongly suggests that the U.N. is more important than the United States.
The citizens of Indiana should be informed of what these supposedly “best-educated” students have been taught and are being taught in our school system. What is shocking is that the judges, 36 professionals in law-related fields, acted as congressional representatives and did not comprehend that these students were not qualified to present the story of this sovereign nation to anyone. This book We the People should not be in the Indiana school system.
Ed Sparks

This update continues under the heading of Multiculturalism Update, January 2005.