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It is a strange day in the annals when I agree with Robert Byrd and disagree with Betsy Newmark. Betsy posts:

Steven Taylor blogs about something that Robert Byrd is slipping into the budget resolution to require schools that receive federal money to devote a lesson to the Constitution on September 17, Constitution Day. Even though I fully believe that schools should teach a lot about the Constitution (after all I teach a Government and Politics class as well as American History so I’m teaching about the Constitution almost every day), I agree with Steven that the federal government should not be dictating curriculum. And they definitely should not be doing this in the context of a budget resolution.

I’ve been teaching the unit on federalism to my AP Government class, and it is really striking how many areas the federal government shouldn’t be involved in, yet are. After a while, my students, who tend to be a bit liberal and very idealistic, are questions about why the federal government can pass bills in areas like civil rights, crime, and education. Then they open up their little pocket Constitutions and start rereading the 10th Amendment and Article I and asking some very good questions.

I suspect that I will have to devote a lesson to Senator Byrd.

I am a strong believer in federalism and the 10th Amendment, but in this case, Senator KKK Byrd is absolutely correct. Schools are woefully underteaching our most important document, and someone needs to step up and force them to teach our children about the Constitution. For example, at Arizona State University, I was once told that our Constitution was “based on” an Iriquos (sp?) Indian compact. I am not joking. If a college professor is pushing that crap, imagine what the grade school teachers are doing. Betsy should understand as much as anyone that our teachers are ignoring the Constitution, amongst many other important American documents and historical events, while teaching them the wonders of the religion of peace, how Bill Clinton was a better president than Abraham Lincoln, and acting as if Crispus Attacks won the Revolutionary War by himself.

It pains me to type this, but I applaud the old geezer for this one.

[Cross-posted at Tomfoolery of the Highest Order]

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Erick Erickson

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3 Comments

  • This proposal does not, in the eyes of our founders, break the dictates of federalism. They strongly supported financially and by legislative fiat, educational programmes designed to enhance childrens’ understanding of the Constitutional principles and–shock–the Bible.

  • Maggie,

    That is a great point. I never considered that when I wrote this post. All I can say is that the useful of blogs can be seen right here in this post. I made an argument, and you responded to it beautifully. I will re-think my position accordingly. Thanks for your response….Brian

  • “For example, at Arizona State University, I was once told that our Constitution was “based on” an Iriquos (sp?) Indian compact. I am not joking. If a college professor is pushing that crap, imagine what the grade school teachers are doing.”

    Your own words make a case against the usefulness of forcing schools to teach the Constitution….just making them do it isn’t going to work if they are distorting the facts….or does Senator Byrd plan to write the curriculum himself?

    I know he considers himself to be the arbiter of all matters constitutional in the Senate.

    As a gun owner, I wonder how the liberal scholars will present the Second Amendment. How will they present the “establishment of a religion” — it will be their usual hue and cry of “separation”.

    It should be taught but how?