|Americans no longer endowed with rights from their Creator, according to the U.S. Department of Education
Latest national civics test dumbs down Declaration of Independence
Americans are no longer “endowed by their Creator” with rights according to the U.S. Department of Education's, test question for fourth-grade children.
The U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 Civics Assessment omits “Creator” from its paraphrase of the Declaration of Independence. Under the heading “What are the foundations of the American political system?” the report gives this example of a test question it gave to fourth graders:
“The paragraph below is a summary of the introduction of the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, all people are created equal; that they are given certain rights that cannot be taken away; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to protect these rights, governments are created that get their powers from the consent of the governed…”
"I can understand paraphrasing the Declaration for children," says Eric Buehrer, president of Gateways to Better Education. "But the power of the Declaration is the Founder’s assertion that mankind’s rights come from God. In the U.S. Department’s version, people are 'given' their rights from some unnamed source."
Apparently, the federal government thinks it is too much to expect fourth graders to understand that our rights come from God. (By the way, Texas doesn't dumb it down for kids. They have a law requiring every student, from third through twelfth grade, to study this famous portion of the Declaration each year.)
American's Only Have Some Power Over the Government?
The problem with the fed's test question doesn’t stop there. The test then asks, “Which of the following ideas is in the summary of the Declaration of Independence?”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the correct answer is, “People in the United States should have some control over the government.”
Some control? Why didn’t the answer simply read “People in the United States should have control over the government”? So, in this one question, the government has censored God from the Declaration and taught children that citizens only have “some” control over the government.
Kings Can Rule America?
Only 52 percent of students chose that “correct” answer. Another 27 percent thought that portion of the Declaration meant that “everyone should try to be elected to the government;” 10 percent thought it meant that “the smartest people should control the government,” and 11 percent thought it meant “kings can rule in the United States.”
Maybe when they were told that “they were given certain rights” they assumed they must have been given by a king.
Overall, knowledge of civics and American history is a real problem with today’s children and young people. In June, the U.S. Department of Education released the results of its most recent survey of students’ knowledge of history. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, commented:
“The history scores released today show that student performance is still too low. These results tell us that, as a country, we are failing to provide children with a high-quality, well-rounded education.”
A Good Place to Start
The Pledge of Allegiance is a good place to start teaching students a basic civics lesson. It can lead to explanations of key terms such as, republic, under God, indivisible, liberty, and justice. But, too often, kids recite the Pledge without any thought to its meaning.
Every student needs to understand the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance. But sadly students don't understand these key words and phrases of the Pledge,
To help teachers address this problem, Gateways to Better Education has created a Pledge of Allegiance poster that explains each phrase. For instance, to explain, “under God,” the poster refers to the Declaration of Independence:
“Our Founders understood that the government does not give us our freedom. Our freedom ultimately comes from God, and the government was established to secure that God-given freedom. The Declaration of Independence states, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men…'”
This colorful poster is a wonderful resource for churches, families, classrooms, and youth organizations.
Two Ways to Support Teaching the Pledge of Allegiance for the Next Generation
1. Donate so we can distribute posters and lesson plans to public school teachers across America.
2. Purchases posters for a school, church, or community group. (CLICK HERE TO ORDER)