Making the Case for Patriotic Education in American Schools
By Katy Grimes, California Globe
President Donald Trump signed an executive order recently establishing a 1776 Commission to create a curriculum that teaches “patriotic education” in schools.
This is not only necessary because of the lack of Civics taught in schools, but in answer to the New York Times’ 1619 Project, a fictional accounting of America’s beginning which “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of [the United States’] national narrative.”
President Trump has been vocal about his objections to the 1619 Project, which led to his 1776 Commission order.
From his Executive Order, Trump explains why:
The recent attacks on our founding have highlighted America’s history related to race. These one-sided and divisive accounts too often ignore or fail to properly honor and recollect the great legacy of the American national experience ‑- our country’s valiant and successful effort to shake off the curse of slavery and to use the lessons of that struggle to guide our work toward equal rights for all citizens in the present. Viewing America as an irredeemably and systemically racist country cannot account for the extraordinary role of the great heroes of the American movement against slavery and for civil rights — a great moral endeavor that, from Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King, Jr., was marked by religious fellowship, good will, generosity of heart, an emphasis on our shared principles, and an inclusive vision for the future.
As these heroes demonstrated, the path to a renewed and confident national unity is through a rediscovery of a shared identity rooted in our founding principles.
Lance Izumi and McKenzie Richards recently addressed the importance of Patriotic education in an op ed.
Izumi, senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute, and Richards, a development associate at PRI, said when Trump’s commission gets down to work, there are numerous examples of successful curricula that both celebrate and critically analyze America’s past.
“John Adams Academy, a public charter school located outside Sacramento, California, uses an American Classical Leadership curriculum, which engages students ‘with the uniquely American ideals and statesmen that have shaped the truly great American democratic heritage’ and highlights ‘principles of liberty, virtue, morality, entrepreneurship, and democracy,’” Izumi and Richards wrote.
They noted that John Adams employs the classical education model, based on grammar, logic, and rhetoric, and uses primary sources and the great books of the Western tradition to instruct students, including original documents such as Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, as well as great classic works such as Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.”Teachers at John Adams use the Socratic method of questioning and discussion to promote critical thinking and deeper understanding of issues.”
As a student, Richards attended American Heritage Academy, a private school in Las Vegas, Nevada, which uses a curriculum emphasizing the providential forces of history and the lives of great men and women who paved the way for America’s founding.
“By ‘providing a principle-based education that develops the mind and heart’ American Heritage Academy creates scholars who will be become leaders of the country,” they wrote. Students are called “scholars” because American Heritage Academy teaches that independent thinkers and future statesmen must learn how to think and not what to think.
“There is growing demand for the type of education offered by John Adams and American Heritage,” Izumi and Richards said.
To that end, in an interview last week with Izumi about the importance of patriotic education, and about the possible outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election, he had some valid concerns and thoughts.
According to Izumi, if President Trump wins reelection:
“If President Trump wins a second term, I believe that, in addition to promoting school choice for parents and their children, one of his most important education priorities should be following through on his promise to ensure that all children in America have access to a balanced patriotic curriculum that both celebrates and critically analyzes America’s past and present. Currently, too many schools are using one-sided leftist curricula that focuses on denigrating or ignoring America’s achievements, narrowly highlighting America’s faults, and making students feel ashamed of their American heritage and being American. While biased leftist curricula, like the New York Times’ 1619 Project, have penetrated many schools, there are important examples of successful balanced patriotic curricula that schools across the country are using to teach our young people about our nation’s founding and American ideals, America’s many accomplishments, and how our country has evolved to address its faults. The Trump administration should look at these examples of successful patriotic curricula, which teach real facts and critical thinking rather than ideological indoctrination, to inform their actions over the next four years.”
If Joe Biden wins:
“With a Joe Biden victory, the need for patriotic curricula in our classrooms is more important than ever. An incoming Biden administration will undoubtedly promote biased leftist curricula, such as the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which focus on denigrating or ignoring America’s achievements, narrowly highlighting America’s faults, and making students feel ashamed of their American heritage and being American. States and local school districts need to provide a balanced patriotic curriculum that both celebrates and critically analyzes America’s past and present. There are important examples of successful balanced patriotic curricula that schools across the country are using to teach our young people about our nation’s founding and American ideals, America’s many accomplishments, and how our country has evolved to address its faults. It is therefore critical that parents demand that their children are taught real facts rather than ideology and instructed to think critically rather than be indoctrinated in a biased narrative.”
In a recent Rasmussen survey, nearly six out 10 likely voters agreed with President Trump that patriotic education needs to be restored in schools.
You can read their entire op ed at Pacific Research Institute.
Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California’s War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?