The tea party’s “action plan” for schools for Constitution Day

This message is from the national tea party website. It illustrates the group’s tactics — in this case an “action plan” for schools for Constitution Day: It involves a form-letter writing campaign to the schools and media, preconceived notions about how “awful” the public school system has become, protests and a rally at the school if needed. It also suggests a curriculum the schools can purchase. The curriculum includes celebrating “a love of Christopher Columbus and Pocahontas.” (See link below). For background, Mark Meckler’s 40-year plan for the tea party is here.

An Action Plan for Constitution Week, Sept. 17-23, 2011

Patriots across the country are justifiably concerned that students in the public schools are not being taught about the founding documents which created our nation. In 2004, Congress passed a law which requires an educational program on the Constitution be taught in all public schools during Constitution Week.

In 2010, a Patriot in Florida brought the requirement to the attention of his local school district and asked what program would be offered. He was stunned to learn the school district was unaware of the law and no plans had been made to comply with it.

He suggested Tea Party Patriots mount a national campaign for 2011 Constitution Week to pressure our public schools to comply with the law. The response from local coordinators was uniformly positive: We must pressure the public schools to teach the Constitution!

Patriots should not have to remind schools to teach the history of the most important document in our country. That we have to do so is an indication of how awful the public school system has become with regard to teaching U.S. history.

We have designed a simple plan to achieve this goal. It will be most effective if we can launch a national campaign in all 50 states.

How it Works: We ask that you send a series of 3 letters to the superintendent of schools, school board and local media in your community. Letters can be mailed, emailed, or faxed.

May 2011 – Send Letter #1: This letter asks the superintendent and school board if they have plans to teach the Constitution as required by law. It lets the district know we are aware of the law and we expect it to be followed. It also suggests a curriculum the schools can purchase from the National Center for Constitutional Studies which can be used to meet the requirements. The NCCS program also meets standards for historical accuracy.

Watch the Series
The Making of America
from NCCS

Download the
Companion Guide
(pdf file)
Download the Adopt-A-School Flyer
Download Letter #1 as a Word document and fill in the blanks with the name of your district, superintendent, etc.

August 2011 – Send Letter #2:
This letter is a follow-up to the May message. It is similar to the first letter, but it asks the superintendent to let you know what specific plans the district has in place.

Download Letter #2 as a Word document and fill in the blanks with the name of your district, superintendent, etc.

First week of September – Letter #3 to local media: This letter should be sent to the media in your community. It informs them of the law and describes our efforts to be sure it is observed appropriately during Constitution Week. It asks the media to contact the schools to see what plans they have in place, and if not, why not?

Download Letter #3 as a Word document and fill in the blanks with the name of your district, superintendent, etc.

These letters can be personalized for use in your community. We need to contact as many school districts as possible to let them know we are serious about educating our children in the principles of the Founders. We expect districts to observe the law.

If you find resistance from your district superintendent or administrators toward implementing the program, please let your Tea Party group know, and then contact the media in your community.

If some schools in your district refuse to comply with law, then consider doing what Tea Partiers do best: Protest! Organize a rally at the school, with a clear message: We demand that students be taught the meaning and significance of the fundamental documents that created our incomparable nation.

Order the Constitution Week Educational Package from NCCS. Includes DVD, poster, pocket Constitutions & more!
The store is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

64 thoughts on “The tea party’s “action plan” for schools for Constitution Day”

  1. Too bad the NCCS action plan does not include Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” This is another great document which writes about the promises of the Constitution, Natural Rights, and the nature of justice in the United States. It would make great reading during Constitution Week.

      1. Funny, when I teach “The Letter….” at Chico State, the only students who have read the real thing went to Catholic schools. However, so far as I know, it is not taught at the more conservative evangelical private schools which tend to highlight different portions of The Constitution than MLK did.

        “The Letter…” should make a lot of us nervous for various reasons, including those of us who might be put into the category of the white liberal pastors to whom it was addressed. That is one of the strengths of “The Letter…” it is written from a loving perspective (not really “calling out” anyone, nor does it engage in name-calling), but also pulls few punches.


  2. One of my absolute “go to” documents Tony.Writings about our constitutional freedoms from jail. Rare and wondrous. And humbling. Kate

    1. Tony– Swarthmore College, Philadelphia, PA.
      Long history of Christian “calling out” on things…

  3. Tony,
    That is one of the annual pieces of literature we read in January as a family. Near MLK day we listen to his recorded speeches and read the Letter from Birmingham Jail. My kids (16 and 18) are tired of it but at some point everything will finally sink in, I hope.

    As for the TP, they are organized but their interpretation of the US Constitution is a very unique one to say the least. I was glad to find someone else agrees with me on the TP and the USC, the organization is called Constitutional Accountability Center.

    ” “I defy the Tea Party Patriots to find one credible historian willing to support their view of the Constitution’s history,” said Constitutional Accountability Center President Doug Kendall. “Before the Tea Party gets to go into school and teach our children about the Constitution, they need to find a tenured professor on the history faculty on one of any of the 50 highest-rated universities in the United States who will vouch for the accuracy of their teachings. To qualify to teach America’s children about the Constitution you need to do more than dress up like James Madison,” Kendall said.”

  4. From Facebook:
    Jesse King commented on your post.
    Jesse wrote: “Tea Party folks are spearheading a treasonous movement to destroy American values of freedom and justice and pave the way for theocratic corporatism (fascism). A sad part of it is most of them are unwitting participants, and their anger and malcontent is easily understandable. However, not much is more dangerous to a nation than power in the angry and ignorant.”

    1. I visited Rebane’s Rumination site in the hope of finding a meditation or pondering of ideas as the name implies. I was disappointed to watch essentially a food fight. I don’t think any good comes out of those types of insult fests and am disapppointed that some regular posters from this site participated in it.

      1. Really Greg, you are surprised? You were hoping for meditation? I think we have done more than enough to expose George’s thinking here.

        Here is how and why I participate in George’s nonsense: he is a religious bigot and needs to exposed as one as a matter of conscience because he uses a high profile public platform in our community to spread his bigotry.

      2. Steven,

        What would be your definition of a “religious bigot?”

        If it is the standard definition of bigot, which is “bigot – a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own.” applied to religion are we not all in danger of being religious bigots?

        The question is always, how are we handling our prejudices and our intolerance: If I begin a discussion with a Mormon, I know in advance that they deny the Trinity and would bring that to the discussion as a proper prejudice. If I meet someone with long hair and assume they are a left-wing environmental idolater I would be acting improperly by falsely prejudging a person who may hold very similar views to my own.

        The same is true of how I tolerate differing views: Ben and I have had several lengthy discussions where we have been honest with each other, obviously don’t agree with each other in the area of religion and salvation, but both have properly tolerated the views of the other in the hopes of convincing them of the truthfulness of our position. Dare I say that there are some others on this list who may have prejudged where I am coming from in some of my beliefs or actions and been a bit intolerant?

        If in the course of discussion issues with someone I realize they are an Islamic radical or a member of the Aryan Nation or Army of God that Ben loves to quote, then I am going to become very intolerant of their views.

        Just some food for thought about these labels that we all love to use.


      3. What you describe was in fact simply a food fight. If you want to expose Rebane and company don’t play that game with him. Bigots only look like bigots around sensible people.

      4. Calling out bigotry and hatred is wholly different than participating in it Zaller. Left to that standard Mississippi would still be riddled with and controlled by klansmembers. As far as religious “tolerance”–criminal, illegal, hateful behavior is often dressed up in religious robes and guises–including “non-profit” ones. Take a look at Warren Jeff right now. He impregnated 12 year olds because “God” told him to do it. Not to mention the Duggard and Smart cases. And enriching themselves by destroying women. And Jeff cursing the Texas female judge for questioning him. Frisch is right. Bent religious and bigoted dogma needs to be called out as not okay. Not. O-Kay. Kate

      5. Hello Kate, Martin Luther King proved a different way to approach bigotry than you espouse. Please explain why he would endorse your ideas.

        Actually “calling out bigotry and hatred” can be participating in it. It is a form of bigotry to deride bigots.

      6. Greg,
        There is a difference between MLK example and the one here. The southern racism/ prejudices were overt and oppressive. Pure racism comes from having power over others. What Steve and Kate are talking about is a blog of people who have a tendency to make statements of inferiority about others based on ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Kate and Steve are talking about challenging them on their statements.

        So for using the MLK theory in this circumstance wouldn’t work since there is no power struggle to expose the unfair behavior/ actions of the oppressor.

      7. Ben, How do you explain the statement, ” Pure racism comes from having power over others” and then why do you assume that Rebane’s blog has no power over others and therefore a “food fight” is proper?

        I personally believe that anything we say or do has power over others. I also believe that the interaction on Rebane’s site encouraged him to continue rather than curtail.

      8. Greg,
        Explianation of pure racism.
        Lets say your ethnic/ race group has been oppressed by those who sit in power for generations. Those in power deem your ethnic/ race group less than human to justify laws and social structure they put in place. Without the ability to have control over lives the prejudices are opinions but with the power of control it becomes racist/ oppression.

        If you read any of my comments at RR you will see that I don’t throw any food or attack people personally. I do have to admit there is one exception to this statement on some occasions.

      9. Greg, with all due respect, and I do respect your work and ideas, your interpretation of Martin Luther King’s teachings are way off.

        MLK, and many others including Mahatma Gandhi, perfected an technique know as Satyagraha, meaning “truth force’. This practice of Satyagraha is beyond non-violent resistance, it couples the force of insisting on the truth with resistance:

        “I have drawn the distinction between passive resistance as understood and practised in the West and satyagraha before I had evolved the doctrine of the latter to its full logical and spiritual extent. I often used “passive resistance” and “satyagraha” as synonymous terms: but as the doctrine of satyagraha developed, the expression “passive resistance” ceases even to be synonymous, as passive resistance has admitted of violence as in the case of suffragettes and has been universally acknowledged to be a weapon of the weak. Moreover, passive resistance does not necessarily involve complete adherence to truth under every circumstance. Therefore it is different from satyagraha in three essentials: Satyagraha is a weapon of the strong; it admits of no violence under any circumstance whatsoever; and it ever insists upon truth. I think I have now made the distinction perfectly clear.” Gandhi

        MLK was successful because he exposed racism and bigotry for what they were, a form of violence; and he did it by naming it, explaining it, and confronting it every single day.

        To say that bigotry does not exist if we do not recognize it is akin to saying that reality is nonexistent. It may fly in an existential philosophy class, but it is not grounded in the world, where rights are fought for or extinguished by the strong.

      10. I think this is a good discussion to have.

        It is going to take some time for me to reply to Steve’s comment from a study of Ghandi and MLK.

        My point was more intuitive about the interactions on the Rebane site. My feeling is that they tended to solidify polarity about racism because of the personal attacks. MLK did not have this result.

        It is certainly valid to speak truth to power, but mixing in almost childish insults to the discussion, as I saw on the Rebane site, is counter productive.It reminded me of a Jerry Springer show.

    2. Well John, perhaps I should start a list:

      If one defines the USA as ‘Christian Nation” they are a religious bigot, because they deny the national identity on non-Christians.

      If one establishes one set of rights for one religion and another set of rights for another, or none, they are a religious bigot.

      If one enforces laws more strenuously against one religion as opposed to another they are a religious bigot.

      If one acts on the assumption that their culture based on religion is superior to another, they are a religious bigot.

      If one demonizes other religions, instead of critiquing individuals, by stating that they are inherently violent, they are a religious bigot.

      If one engages in stereotyping practioners of religion by repeating false stories that would cause others to demean them they area religious bigot (think Jews poisoning wells or drinking the blood of Christian babies or Muslims worshiping Jihad under a western definition)

      If one engages in character assassination of member of a religion because of that membership they are a religious bigot.

      I guess could go on, but you get the point…….

      1. Steven,

        I think you just made my point, so let me start by saying that I think we are more in agreement than opposed here:

        On the first three, you are assuming that some would argue that we established a Christian nation, which we did not: Now with that said, I use that term because our nation was founded on Christian principles. Technically a Christian nation would have to explicitly acknowledge Jesus as the sovereign which we do not. In either case what you imply about the application of laws and rights would be wrong under either because it is the very fact that Christians appeal to God-given rights that protect the rights of the minorities.

        This goes to the heart of your fourth point: Is it wrongly bigoted to say that our culture is superior to that of the Nazi or Communists of the 20th Century? Is it wrongly bigoted to say that our culture that believes we have a God-given right to life is superior to those who sanctioned and practiced human sacrifices. For that matter, is it wrongly bigoted to say that our 21st Century culture of inclusion is superior to the Antebellum South that held that blacks could be held as chattel property? I hope we would be in agreement with all of those ratings of culture.

        I largely agree with your 5th point, but as with the case of the Nazis above, there is also a place to say that a certainly world view is wrong.

        We are in agreement on numbers six and seven and you are quite right to say that the list can go on and on.


      2. John,
        You might think twice on that last point–it is consistent with the very secular sociology of Emile Durkheim who wrote that all society/culture are rooted in religious beliefs about what is good, bad, right, wrong, etc. In Durkheim’s sociology, such beliefs (be they called culture, religion, morals, etc.) are the glue that holds any society together.

        In sum, you are starting to sound like a relativistic sociologist, who is somewhere to the left of Steve, at least on this point!


      3. Tony,

        I think I am on pretty safe ground, Think about it this way:

        The Bible declares that Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of kings: It does not say Lord of pretend lords or King of pretend kings. The nations and religions of the world have real lords and real kings and must as this sociologicalist rightly points out base their rule on some religion.

        This declaration is what gets Christians in so much trouble 🙂 It is the religious equivalent of Dr. Einstein’s statement that nothing is more relative than his theory of relativity.


      4. “The Bible declares that Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of kings:”…….Host of hosts, Buddy of buddies, Dude of dudes, Homie of all homies! Sorry couldn’t resist;)

        In regards to this Einstein quote “Einstein’s statement that nothing is more relative than his theory of relativity.”

        Where did you find this? I’ve read quite a bit of Einstein and have never come across this. I just wasted a half hour of my life searching for this quote and can’t find it. Are you making this up?

      5. John,
        Ok, let me get this all straight.

        –You are a political relativist, and something of a left-wing sociologist
        –You are against funding various wars
        –You want to cut the military budget
        –You want to vote for Ben Emery when he runs against Doris Matsui
        –You like the idea of means testing Social Security and Medicare
        –You want to eliminate corporate tax loopholes of all kinds
        –You want to decriminalize various drugs

        Have you ever considered supporting Ralph Nader?


      6. Tony,

        Why should I go with Nader and all his baggage on the social issues when I can have the whole package with Congressman Paul?


      7. Chris,

        Sorry for the confusion and loss of time: I should have said position instead of statement. He rejected those who tried to use his theory as a basis for all things being relative. Here is the actual quote where he addresses this which is interesting because he had little use for a personal God: ““I cannot believe that God plays dice with the cosmos.” [Albert Einstein on quantum mechanics, published in the London Observer, April 5, 1964; also quoted as “God does not play dice with the world.” in Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, New York: World Publishing Co., 1971, p. 19.]

        In layman’s terms he believed that the speed of light was constant in all of the universe and that nothing would be less relative or constant than that. I picked up a copy of his book on relativity in Ashland last week and so far I am still following him after five chapters!


      8. John,
        Now, those quotes I recognize. He rejected Quantum Mechanics and refused to participate in it. He couldn’t get over the idea that the best we could do in particle location was a probability. He felt that we just hadn’t found the missing piece yet: It was out there, yet to be discovered. He spent the rest of his life trying to unify the theories of the very large (relativity) with the very small (Quantum). It’s still being worked on today (M-Theory).

        Quantum still isn’t completely understood, but it works. There has never been a prediction from Quantum Mechanics that has not been experimentally verified. Or, let me rephrase. All the attempts to falsify QM have failed and QM always works in explaining observation. In short, QM has never failed scientifically.

        As you study Einstein further, you’ll find that he was basically an outcast in Physics for the last 30+ years of his life. He’s been described as an “excellent cavalry man charging machine guns”.

  5. This looks like its out of the “Constitution for Dummies” textbook combined with “The No Child Left Intellectually Intact” lesson plan. Kate

  6. In my minds eye I keep seeing a picture of wily Tom Sawyer just happily whitewarshin that ole fence;) Kate

  7. They should also include a copy of the Treaty of Tripoli that contains the following language: “As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion…” (thanks for that Great x5 Grandfather).

  8. I believe California required a six months course in “Civics” for which the classic text book was, “Our Rugged Constitution.” It went through the Constitution, article by article, section by section, offering both the original text and an interpretation. I still have a copy somewhere.

    I suspect this is stilla state requirement.

  9. I did not find a specific course on the Constitution, however, even as young as 5th grade students are being made aware of the Constitution and it’s role in daily life. By 12th grade, the content standards of the CA Dept of Ed lists:

    “Principles of American Democracy
    12.1 Students explain the fundamental principles and moral values of American democracy as expressed in the U.S. Constitution and other essential documents of American democracy.
    1. Analyze the influence of ancient Greek, Roman, English, and leading European political thinkers such as John Locke, Charles-Louis Montesquieu, Niccolò Machiavelli, and William Blackstone on the development of American government.
    2. Discuss the character of American democracy and its promise and perils as articulated by Alexis de Tocqueville.
    3. Explain how the U.S. Constitution reflects a balance between the classical republican concern with promotion of the public good and the classical liberal concern with protecting individual rights; and discuss how the basic premises of liberal constitutionalism and democracy are joined in the Declaration of Independence as “self-evident truths.”
    4. Explain how the Founding Fathers’ realistic view of human nature led directly to the establishment of a constitutional system that limited the power of the governors and the governed as articulated in the Federalist Papers.
    5. Describe the systems of separated and shared powers, the role of organized interests (Federalist Paper Number 10), checks and balances (Federalist Paper Number 51), the importance of an independent judiciary (Federalist Paper Number 78), enumerated powers, rule of law, federalism, and civilian control of the military.
    6. Understand that the Bill of Rights limits the powers of the federal government and state governments.

    12.2 Students evaluate and take and defend positions on the scope and limits of rights and obligations as democratic citizens, the relationships among them, and how they are secured.
    1. Discuss the meaning and importance of each of the rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights and how each is secured (e.g., freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, petition, privacy).
    2. Explain how economic rights are secured and their importance to the individual and to society (e.g., the right to acquire, use, transfer, and dispose of property; right to choose one’s work; right to join or not join labor unions; copyright and patent).
    3. Discuss the individual’s legal obligations to obey the law, serve as a juror, and pay taxes.
    4. Understand the obligations of civic-mindedness, including voting, being informed on civic issues, volunteering and performing public service, and serving in the military or alternative service.
    5. Describe the reciprocity between rights and obligations; that is, why enjoyment of one’s rights entails respect for the rights of others.
    6. Explain how one becomes a citizen of the United States, including the process of naturalization (e.g., literacy, language, and other requirements).
    12.3 Students evaluate and take and defend positions on what the fundamental values and principles of civil society are (i.e., the autonomous sphere of voluntary personal, social, and economic relations that are not part of government), their interdependence, and the meaning and importance of those values and principles for a free society.
    1. Explain how civil society provides opportunities for individuals to associate for social, cultural, religious, economic, and political purposes.
    2. Explain how civil society makes it possible for people, individually or in association with others, to bring their influence to bear on government in ways other than voting and elections.
    3. Discuss the historical role of religion and religious diversity.
    4. Compare the relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracies to the relationship of government and civil society in authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.
    12.4 Students analyze the unique roles and responsibilities of the three branches of government as established by the U.S. Constitution.
    1. Discuss Article I of the Constitution as it relates to the legislative branch, including eligibility for office and lengths of terms of representatives and senators; election to office; the roles of the House and Senate in impeachment proceedings; the role of the vice president; the enumerated legislative powers; and the process by which a bill becomes a law.
    2. Explain the process through which the Constitution can be amended.
    3. Identify their current representatives in the legislative branch of the national government.
    4. Discuss Article II of the Constitution as it relates to the executive branch, including eligibility for office and length of term, election to and removal from office, the oath of office, and the enumerated executive powers.
    5. Discuss Article III of the Constitution as it relates to judicial power, including the length of terms of judges and the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
    6. Explain the processes of selection and confirmation of Supreme Court justices.

    12.5 Students summarize landmark U.S. Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution and its amendments.
    1. Understand the changing interpretations of the Bill of Rights over time, including interpretations of the basic freedoms (religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly) articulated in the First Amendment and the due process and equal-protection-of-the-law clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
    2. Analyze judicial activism and judicial restraint and the effects of each policy over the decades (e.g., the Warren and Rehnquist courts).
    3. Evaluate the effects of the Court’s interpretations of the Constitution in Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, and United States v. Nixon, with emphasis on the arguments espoused by each side in these cases.
    4. Explain the controversies that have resulted over changing interpretations of civil rights, including those in Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, and United States v. Virginia (VMI).
    12.6 Students evaluate issues regarding campaigns for national, state, and local elective offices.
    1. Analyze the origin, development, and role of political parties, noting those occasional periods in which there was only one major party or were more than two major parties.
    2. Discuss the history of the nomination process for presidential candidates and the increasing importance of primaries in general elections.
    3. Evaluate the roles of polls, campaign advertising, and the controversies over campaign funding.
    4. Describe the means that citizens use to participate in the political process (e.g., voting, campaigning, lobbying, filing a legal challenge, demonstrating, petitioning, picketing, running for political office).
    5. Discuss the features of direct democracy in numerous states (e.g., the process of referendums, recall elections).
    6. Analyze trends in voter turnout; the causes and effects of reapportionment and redistricting, with special attention to spatial districting and the rights of minorities; and the function of the Electoral College.
    12.7 Students analyze and compare the powers and procedures of the national, state, tribal, and local governments.
    1. Explain how conflicts between levels of government and branches of government are resolved.
    2. Identify the major responsibilities and sources of revenue for state and local governments.
    3. Discuss reserved powers and concurrent powers of state governments.
    4. Discuss the Ninth and Tenth Amendments and interpretations of the extent of the federal government’s power.
    5. Explain how public policy is formed, including the setting of the public agenda and implementation of it through regulations and executive orders.
    6. Compare the processes of lawmaking at each of the three levels of government, including the role of lobbying and the media.
    7. Identify the organization and jurisdiction of federal, state, and local (e.g., California) courts and the interrelationships among them.
    8. Understand the scope of presidential power and decision making through examination of case studies such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, passage of Great Society legislation, War Powers Act, Gulf War, and Bosnia.
    12.8 Students evaluate and take and defend positions on the influence of the media on American political life.
    1. Discuss the meaning and importance of a free and responsible press.
    2. Describe the roles of broadcast, print, and electronic media, including the Internet, as means of communication in American politics.
    3. Explain how public officials use the media to communicate with the citizenry and to shape public opinion.
    12.9 Students analyze the origins, characteristics, and development of different political systems across time, with emphasis on the quest for political democracy, its advances, and its obstacles.
    1. Explain how the different philosophies and structures of feudalism, mercantilism, socialism, fascism, communism, monarchies, parliamentary systems, and constitutional liberal democracies influence economic policies, social welfare policies, and human rights practices.
    2. Compare the various ways in which power is distributed, shared, and limited in systems of shared powers and in parliamentary systems, including the influence and role of parliamentary leaders (e.g., William Gladstone, Margaret Thatcher).
    3. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of federal, con federal, and unitary systems of government.
    4. Describe for at least two countries the consequences of conditions that gave rise to tyrannies during certain periods (e.g., Italy, Japan, Haiti, Nigeria, Cambodia).
    5. Identify the forms of illegitimate power that twentieth-century African, Asian, and Latin American dictators used to gain and hold office and the conditions and interests that supported them.
    6. Identify the ideologies, causes, stages, and outcomes of major Mexican, Central American, and South American revolutions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
    7. Describe the ideologies that give rise to Communism, methods of maintaining control, and the movements to overthrow such governments in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland, including the roles of individuals (e.g., Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Pope John Paul II, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel).
    8. Identify the successes of relatively new democracies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the ideas, leaders, and general societal conditions that have launched and sustained, or failed to sustain, them.
    12.10 Students formulate questions about and defend their analyses of tensions within our constitutional democracy and the importance of maintaining a balance between the following concepts: majority rule and individual rights; liberty and equality; state and national authority in a federal system; civil disobedience and the rule of law; freedom of the press and the right to a fair trial; the relationship of religion and government. “

    1. Ye gads, this is what they “learn” in K-12? I don’t know any adults who could do all this! I certainly can’t. But maybe that is because I don’t hang around tea partiers enough. Does TPP really know all this? John? Barry?

      1. SFUSD internal teacher observations and evaluations were based on a lesson presented to the students, while under the observation of an administrator, and that lesson had to be based on those standards. Thus a teacher of a given subject either had to know that stuff, or fail.

        There was always a pre-observation conference in which the contents of your proposed presentation were scrutinized for synchronicity with the standards.

        That in turn was followed by a post observation conference and critique.

        “Those who know how to teach, teach.

        Those who don’t know how to teach, pass laws about how to teach.”

        ~ anonymous ~

      2. Explain, discuss, evaluate, understand, analyze, etc are NOT rote memorization of facts.

        My best HS history teacher ran for and won a spot on the city council.

        Since even the MLK family wants dinero up front if you use the “I Have a Dream” speech, and a great deal of the rest of history is tied up by other commercial enterprises, the classroom is a challenge. If I were teaching today, I’d have every kid Googling, through the class discussion, all related facets and topics to the one at hand in the lesson. I would also make sure software was in place that logged everywhere they went for later review and grading, and on-line illustrations for parents, available to the parents on line, with a password for each family.

        But, I did my part getting the computer age off the ground in public schools, and now I’m out to pasture.

      3. I’d also have to have a magic wand that shifted every screen in the room to one kid’s screen, once I determined that he/she has found a tasty morsel.

    2. Dear Douglas……

      I learned all of that and more in public school. And we can, and in many, many places do, have a public school system that teaches that, and more.

      I also learned from an engaged and involved set of parents, who drilled all three children on government, politics, rights, obligations and civic responsibility. What did you learn in school today was required dinner time conversation. On the occasions there was no dinner, what are you reading?must have been the most common question of my childhood.

      There will be those who will think that is unachievable, or who say that that is not the norm, but every student had the same potential and opportunity.

      As we gut public education, which is a common Tea object of vitriol, we are exacerbating our social problems, denying our children the opportunity to live in a nation where freedom matters, and hastening the day when tyranny can prevail against the rights of the individual.

      The answer to the Tea request to teach the constitution is, “we do teach the constitution, and more, and that constitution lives and breathes, adapts and changes, is flexible to meet the challenges of a modern world”

      Tea does not really want us to teach the constitution, they want us to teach their interpretation of the constitution. They want to change American values and culture. Meckler said it himself, he is on a 40 year quest to turn the clock back to 1799.

      Here’s to all the teachers out there who teach…….with nobility.

      1. Doug and Steve:
        I think that I’m with John on this one. The volumes of the Ed Code and curriculum standard are filled with minutiae which pass for “teaching.” Students may “learn” the facts in 11th grade history, but by the time I see them at Chico State, they have forgotten plenty–including any distinction between the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the Gettysburg address.
        Survey after survey show that history is rated the “most boring” in high school (ok, the people on this blog are in the minority on this one!), and I can understand why when it is presented as the curriculum Doug posted. What 16 year old really cares about the difference between Montesquieu and Locke?

        As for the history teachers, they have my greatest sympathy. I just wish that they would be released from the demand to “teach” facts, and be permitted to tell the stories which keep pulling people into the movie houses, and buying historical books/novels.


  10. I used to growl against this kind of crapola when teaching my algebra I class. I kept getting memos that I had to teach “whatever” history day in my math class. At the end of the year, there was also major criticism for not finishing the course. Damned if I did; damned if I didn’t. Also, no materials were furnished for “whatever” history day came along….especially connected to algebra, the course I was SUPPOSED to be teaching. I finally just told the administration that if they furnished materials that related to the class I was hired to teach, I’d fit it in. The materials never…er…uh…materialized. It’ll be even worse today with the cuts for school funding. Of course, the public expects teachers to furnish this kind of stuff out of their own empty pockets! Ah, retirement!

  11. You can boil the “civics” class down to Congressperson gets a lot of money from people, always wealthy, to purchase the legislator’s vote. Law made to conform to wealth person’s requirement, vote taken, new law happens and President signs it.

  12. Tony–teachers should be allowed to show those movies, documentaries, miniseries…especially to teen-age students. John Adams and the Kurt Flood Story on HBO are great examples. Heck, even the desperation of the “gilded age” is well represented in Boardwalk Empire despite the sex and grit. National Geographic has some great recent ones. There’s a new movie about journalists coverage of South Africa. Even a cool series on The S.F. Giants I noticed. Kids love good info. Kate

    1. Hi Kate:
      Agreed–I would also add age-appropriate books/novels. I also think that the teacher is in the best position to identify what is most appropriate, and not the laundry list of curriculum “points” in Douglas’ post above.


      1. Yeah Stoos. Abigail was an on the level, anti-slavery, pro-woman, pro-education UNITARIAN. Not a sad, con-job pseudo political action committee. Thank God. Kate

  13. Get those kids a nook or a kindle! Big savings! (still hot and pissy at amazon though…need to see some California fair share) so i-pad, download real books! Cheap. From class to class…yay. Everybody wins! Kate

  14. I love Kahn Academy, and now use it regularly. I am re-learning higher level mathematics. On line access is revolutionizing education; not as an alternative to classroom instruction in the developed world rather as a supplement. In the under-developed world I have a friend who is working on the one laptop per child project and he is seeing amazing utility to both Kahn and the MIT interface.

    1. We are seeing the same with the missionary work we are supporting in the former Soviet Union. For years they have brought men from far & wide to a seminary setting in St. Petersburg, which was expensive and difficult.

      Now we are using a combination of a distant learning program developed by some private schools and SKYPE to bring the classroom to them. We can have a man teach from here in the states be translated by the staff in St. Petersburg and sent to the various student who can then ask questions in real time… When it all works!

      Our investments in years to come will be more focused on getting better hardware and Internet access in the hands of the students.


  15. I hear a lot of rw money lands in Russia. They’ve got the worst organized crime there. Lots of alcohol and opium addiction, trafficking there now too. Moscow is a cesspool. It’s sad. Kate

  16. Greg…the actions of MLK were “calling out” not only racism, but asking for enhanced corporate responsibility regarding employee wages and hiring–hence, the use of boycotts and the power of the purse by MLK and resisters. He also was assassinated on his way to a labour strike. When he wrote Letters From Birmingham Jail, his audience, who he wrote directly TO, was his clergy brethren…other Pastors, Reverends and such who he chastised and “called” out about anti-christian behavior. What Frisch has done, or is doing with regard to issues like this is perfectly in keeping with this MLK tradition. One certainly can’t sweep it under the rug…Kate

  17. People like Rebane and Juvinall aren’t interested in what the true meaning of the constitution is, only their interpretation of it. I see bigotry in Juvinall’s rag every time I go to that site. Then he blames everyone of doing what he excels at (’bout the only thing he excels at). Once a week to his fairytale land is enough.

  18. Annie, reading and agreeing with these guys is kinda like going to the Alice in wonderland movie while going thru a seizure!

  19. Thank you Brad. I skim thru their rag to remind me how fortunate I am that I don’t have to listen and agree with them. At least the seizure is better than close minded brain dead!

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