EDUCATION FOR A FREE NATION
105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
January 25, 2006
By Henry Lamb
Why did the federal government give $25,511,064 to a non-government
organization last year to prepare the textbooks for teaching civics to
schoolchildren? Since 1997, the Center for Civic Education has received
at least $110,418,717 from the government and has succeeded in
essentially taking over the supply of materials for teaching civics in
Of the many questions that surround this program, the first to be
addressed must be the appropriateness of government funding of any
textbook. Public education is not among the enumerated powers of the
federal government. But, of course, the feds long ago discarded the
notion that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the
States respectively, or to the people."
President Bush eliminated this funding in his 2006 budget, but 38
senators, led by Arlen Specter, R-Penn., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, joined
98 representatives, led by Ralph Regula, R-Ohio, and David Obey, D-Wis.,
to have this funding restored.
Public education has historically been a responsibility of state and
local government. In recent years, however, the federal government has
Proponents of the CCE program agree that the federal funding is, indeed,
appropriate and necessary. Even if there were universal agreement on the
appropriateness of federal funding, should there not be competitive
bidding? Should local school boards not be able to choose from among
several possible texts? Government funding of textbooks is bad enough,
but when the money is specified to go to a single non-government
organization without competition or bids to produce materials for a
subject as important as civics education, it causes a very bad smell to
surround the entire project.
One might suspect CCE gets this special funding treatment because
someone, somewhere, wants to be sure that the content of the material
says what the funding source wants said.
The content of the material raises another set of questions. CCE provides
basic textbooks, "We the People: the Citizens and the
Constitution," in three versions, for early grades, for middle
school and for high school. The organization also maintains a nationwide
network of supporters who conduct seminars for teachers to encourage the
use of CCE's materials. Many people believe the government is perfectly
justified using tax money for this purpose, because the material teaches
about the Constitution and the foundations of freedom.
Or does it? The material titles sound impressive. All would agree that
students should learn about the Constitution and the foundations of
freedom. CCE's literature sounds as if it does just that. But a growing
number of critics who actually read the literature are crying foul.
One very thorough reviewer is Allen Quist, adjunct professor of political
science at Bethany Lutheran College. He is a former three-term member of
the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota House Education
Committee. He is author of three books and numerous articles on education
Among Quist's books, is "FedEd: The New Federal Curriculum and How
It's Enforced." Quist analyzes the material in CCE textbooks. Here
is a sample:
"In the past century, the civic mission of schools was education for
democracy in a sovereign state. In this century, by contrast, education
will become everywhere more global. And, we ought to improve our
curricular frameworks and standards for a world transformation by
globally accepted and internationally transcendent principles."
Quist and many other reviewers are convinced that CCE's educational
materials strive to transform American students into "global
citizens." American principles of government, such as the Bill of
Rights, are minimized, and global values are promoted. CCE's material
diminishes the notion of "inalienable rights" and suggests that
rights guaranteed by the Constitution reflect 18th century ideas, which
should change with time to reflect global values.
Why is the federal government spending so much money to have this
material published and pushed in American schools? By subsidizing the
publication costs, these materials can be made available to schools free
of charge. School boards that may wish to use other material are forced
to pay market prices for it.
EdWatch, of Minnesota, Eagle Forum, Gun Owners of America, the American
Policy Center and other groups are working to get the "We the
People" textbook out of the public classroom and stop the globalist
These groups are promoting legislation called "The Freedom in
Education Act," which clearly states:
... [N]o federal funds shall be used to develop, publish,
advertise, promote, support, or distribute textbooks or curriculum; that
competitive bidding shall be required for all education-related federal
grants to non-governmental organizations; all questions in federally
funded education assessments shall be released to the public within three
years of being administered; and no federal funds shall be used for
cooperative education activities between the Department of Education and
Enactment of this bill will end federally funded textbooks.
Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental
Conservation Organization and chairman of Sovereignty International.
Reprinted with permission of the author.
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