Common Core presentation- this week in Orem, Utah.
Archive for the ‘education reform’ Tag
Common Core presentation- this week in Orem, Utah.
Click link here to see which congressmen have cosigned. http://massie.house.gov/sites/massie.house.gov/files/documents/commoncore.pdf (THANK YOU CONGRESSMAN CHAFFETZ!)
April 20, 2013
The Honorable Arne Duncan Secretary U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202
Dear Secretary Duncan,
As you know, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) allows Congress to authorize and allocate funding for public K-12 education and, most importantly, is the primary vehicle in which we implement education policy reform. Most recently reauthorized through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), the ESEA’s authorization expired on September 30, 2008, and has yet to be reauthorized. Since the ESEA’s expiration, the Department of Education (Department) has moved forward with education policy reform without Congressional input. Such action is, at best, in contravention with precedent.
In addition to expressing our concern with the Department’s circumvention of Congress to reform education policy, we are writing you to express our concerns with the implementation of Common Core standards and changes to federal data collection and disbursement policies.
In 2009, forty-six governors signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Governor’s Association committing their states to the development and adoption of new education standards within three years. As we understand it, states then had the option of adopting Common Core standards or creating their own equivalent standards. At the time, Common Core standards were simply an idea where states would collaborate to create uniformed education standards. Details about Common Core were not only unknown to the states, they did not exist. From there, your department offered Race To The Top (RTTT) grants and NCLB waivers to states under the condition that each state would implement “college and career ready” standards. At the time, the only “college and career ready” standards with the Department’s approval were Common Core.
In addition to serious concerns we have regarding the Department’s aforementioned coercion of states to opt-in to Common Core standards, many of which were and continue to have serious budgetary issues and specific issues with existing education policies, we have become increasingly concerned over the development of the Common Core standards themselves. Though initially promoted as state-based education standards, Common Core standards, as they have been developed over the last few years, are nothing of the sort. In just one very troubling instance, Common Core standards will replace state-based standardized testing with nationally-based standardized testing, the creation and initial implementation of which will be funded in full by the federal government. The long-term, annual administering of the exams, the cost of which has not been specified by the Department, is to be funded by the states.
As representatives from states across the nation, we understand the diverse cultures and state-specific education needs that exist in America. We believe that state-driven education policy is vital to the success of our children and that Members of Congress can best demonstrate the specific needs of their constituents. As with most one-size-fits-all policies, Common Core standards fail to address these needs.
As you know, because states opted-in to Common Core standards, there is little Congress can do to provide any relief from these burdensome and misguided standards. Instead, the ability to opt-out of these standards lies with the state. With that in mind, we will be working with our respective state legislatures and governors to provide relief to our education systems. In the meantime, we urge you to work with Members of Congress to reauthorize the ESEA in a manner that allows state-specific education needs to be addressed.
Separate from reauthorization, we are extremely concerned over recent changes your department has made to the manner in which the federal government collects and distributes student data.
As you know, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was signed into law in 1974, guaranteeing parental access to student education records and limiting their disclosure to third parties. FERPA was intended to address parents’ growing privacy concerns and grant parental access to the information schools use to make decisions that impact their children.
Once again circumventing Congress, in 2011 your agency took regulatory action to alter definitions within FERPA. With the technological advances that have occurred in recent years, changes to FERPA deserve the full scrutiny of the legislative process more so than ever before.
In addition, we understand that as a condition of applying for RTTT grant funding, states obligated themselves to implement a State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) used to track students by obtaining personally identifiable information.
_ Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03)
Senator Mike Lee of Utah joined other senators — Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) in signing Iowa Senator Grassely’s letter that points out that the Dept. of Education must be restrained from funding and promoting nationalized standards and must not be allowed to continue the illegal implementation of Common Core with federal tax monies.
The letter said: “”While the Common Core State Standards Initiative was initially billed as a voluntary effort between states, federal incentives have clouded the picture. Current federal law makes clear that the U.S. Department of Education may not be involved in setting specific content standards or determining the content of state assessments. Nevertheless, the selection criteria designed by the U.S. Department of Education for the Race to the Top Program provided that for a state to have any chance to compete for funding, it must commit to adopting a ‘common set of K-12 standards’ matching the description of the Common Core. The U.S. Department of Education also made adoption of ‘college- and career-ready standards’ meeting the description of the Common Core a condition to receive a state waiver under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Race to the Top funds were also used to fund two consortiums to develop assessments aligned to the Common Core and the Department is now in the process of evaluating these assessments.”
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/eight-senators-join-fight-against-common-core-94876/#DUmSios6cdzc1Orf.99 and http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2013/04/eight-senators-join-chuck-grassley-fight-to-defund-common-core/
Utah’s D.C. Senator, Mike Lee, also wrote yesterday at his official website:
“The first principle of education, and therefore of education policymaking, is that parents are the primary educators of their children. And because responsibility for children’s education lies primarily with parents, to the greatest extent possible so should decision-making authority over Pre-K to secondary education. The further such decisions are removed from the parents and guardians of children, the further they are removed from those who will promote the best interests of students. Therefore federal influence over pre-K, elementary, and secondary education should be limited. Neither members of Congress nor Department of Education bureaucrats can be expected to promote the interests of individual students – with unique talents, interests, and learning styles – more than those students’ own parents, teachers or principals.
While the Common Core Standard Initiative was initially promoted as an effort to move in this direction, it has become polluted with Federal guidelines and mandates that interfere with the ability of parents, teachers and principals to deliver the education our children deserve.” Read More Here
Thank you, Senators Lee, Grassley, Coburn, Cruz, Fischer, Inhofe, Paul, Roberts, and Sessions.
As a teacher, as a parent, and as a believer in the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution, I can not thank you enough.
Truth in American Education posted a powerful article from a Wyoming teacher that I hope many people read.
It’s so ironic. In this article, the teacher says that an administrator told the teachers “not to use school resources to push political agendas.” Yet the entire Common Core Initiative is a political agenda! Look at who leads it: Arne Duncan, Linda Darling-Hammond, Chaka Fattah, Bill Gates, Sir Michael Barber and other extremists who have no respect for local control, the state-directed provisions of the U.S. Constitution or the forbidding by G.E.P.A. law for the federal government to direct state educational systems.
Here’s that quote:
“…My administrator said that there would be no more emailing, or talking about the common core amongst the staff. There was a finality to his tone and the meeting was quickly over at that point. I then received an email from my administrator reminding me of our district policy of not using school resources to push political concerns or agendas. He also stated that there was to be no more discussion about common core unless it was on an “educational” basis between staff members.
Ironically, I had several teachers contact me outside of school that same day, to say they were shocked at my administrator’s tone. They feel I was being genuine in sharing information that was previously unknown and could potentially affect educators. Several staff member have also approached me saying that they are grateful for this information and are now researching it on their own.
The question being asked in my school now is…Why can’t educators do what they do best? Research, question, inform?? Isn’t it better to question and discuss things, even if we don’t agree on them as to find what is best for the children we have been entrusted with? Should we turn a blind eye, and be lead like sheep off the cliff?”
Miners used to use canaries as early warning systems. They would evacuate the mines when the canaries, who were more quickly sensitive to toxic substances than humans, were suddenly sick or dead.
On the issue of Common Core, there are canaries– sadly, children, who are being used as guinea pigs in this educational experiment called Common Core.
New York was one of the first states to unveil the common core tests. And things aren’t going so well.
New York Times
Students at the Hostos-Lincoln Academy in the Bronx blamed the English exams for making them anxious and sick. Teachers at Public School 152 in Manhattan said they had never seen so many blank stares. Parents at the Earth School in the East Village were so displeased that they organized a boycott. As New York this week became one of the first states to unveil a set of exams grounded in new curricular standards, education leaders are finding that rallying the public behind tougher tests may be more difficult than they expected. Complaints were plentiful: the tests were too long; students were demoralized to the point of tears; teachers were not adequately prepared. Some parents, long skeptical of the emphasis on standardized testing, forbade their children from participating.
The reviews are in, and the consensus among parents, students and teachers is that this year’s NYS/Pearson ELA exams were even worse than expected. The tests were too long, the questions confusing even for teachers, and many students ended up in tears. See just a sample of observations below. Is this what Chancellor Walcott meant when he said, “It’s time to rip the Band-Aid off” , or Regents head Merryl Tisch, when she explained, “We have to just jump into the deep end”? [Note: read the comments for details about these deeply flawed new tests.]
Embedded in this week’s English Language Arts exams are field test questions. They do not count toward the test score. They are being tried out so the publisher can see how the items work and decide which ones to use next year. I wonder if parents should have the right to give or deny permission for their children to participate in what is essentially research for Pearson LLC, the for-profit test publisher?
Pearson is one of the most aggressive companies seeking to profit from what they and others euphemistically call educational reform, but which teachers from groups like Rethinking Schools and FairTest see as an effort to sell, sell, sell substandard remedial education programs seamlessly aligned with the high stakes standardized tests for students and teacher assessments they are also selling. Pearson reported revenues of approximately $9 billion in 2010 and generated approximately $3 billion on just digital revenues in 2011. If it has its way, Pearson will soon be determining what gets taught in schools across the United States with little or no parental or educational oversight.
The British media giant Pearson PLC, whose holdings include Pearson Education, a testing and textbook publishing company that produces the NJASK tests, will receive large subsidies from NY & NJ to relocate 1300 jobs away from its facilities in Upper Saddle River in Bergen Co. NY will give Pearson $50 million in subsidies to move 630 jobs to NYC and NJ will provide $66 in subsidies to relocate 650 jobs to Hoboken.
Thank you, Pastor John of Maryland, for your words:
“We need more teachers to speak out.
As a Pastor I have joined the fight in Maryland to get the word out about Common Core. Today 6 of us spoke at a School Board meeting and were told by the Board President that they are going to put Common Core on the agenda for the next meeting so more time can be spent on it.
Pray for our efforts in Maryland.
Keep up the fight to expose U.S. Dept. of Ed’s agenda to control and indoctrinate our children with an amoral, progressive, globalist agenda at the expense of our liberties and our tax dollars.
This must be stopped. This must become our Alamo!”
— — — —
Note: there is a group in Maryland called Marylanders Against Common Core. Meet them here: https://www.facebook.com/MDStopCommonCore?fref=pb
Don’t tweet? Don’t fret. Watch coverage of the #stopcommoncore Twitter Rally via On Point Broadcasting- complete with a pre- and post- show. Log in to watch at 11am EST today. http://www.onpointbroadcasting.com\onpointtv
When Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC said “we” need to “break through” the notion of children belonging with parents, there was a huge public outcry.
No one cried out louder than the indomitable Michelle Malkin, who was interviewed by Sean Hannity soon after (must see: 3:55 http://youtu.be/5patiNN3R8g). Malkin derided the progressive idea of collective ownership: “Hands off my kids! My kids are not your guinea pigs. My kids are not your cash cows. My kids’ minds are not for you to propagandize, and my kids’ futures are not for you to raid in the name of social justice!”
Parent activist Yvonne Gasparino said it this way: “My children, my own flesh and blood, these beautiful little souls that I carried for nine months with nothing but unconditional love from the time the stick read “positive” –are being ripped out of my loving and protective hands virtually and kidnapped by the government for their future use. I will not and cannot let that happen and will fight with every moral fiber of my soul that God has bestowed upon me.”
America, we need to get smart about education reform. Fast.
Lesson one: when education reformers use the term “rigorous,” they mean to impress you. Don’t be impressed. One size fits all education can never be rigorous for every student. That’s like calling a mile run “rigorous.” It might be rigorous for the couch potatoes but it won’t be for the athletes. The term is meaningless when applied to every child and stripped of teacher input.
Lesson two: when education reformers use the term “high quality teacher,” they mean their version. Don’t buy the assumption that what they call a high quality teacher is what you imagine when you think of a great teacher. The new high quality teacher must be “effective” as a data-collector, test-prepper, and political indoctrinator of environmental and social justice agendas. Gone are the days when good teachers were characterized by benevolence, spontaneity, creativity, love, nurturing, and intellectual openness and honesty. A high quality teacher to the Dept. of Ed means one that pushes the line that the government wants pushed, one that no parent got to vote on.
Lesson three: when education reformers use the term “education reform,” they mean their version. It’s a tightly controlled, standardized, data-collection focused, collective-not-individual focused, environmentally-obsessed, social-justice promoting, uncreative form of education that has little to do with what a particular student needs or wants. Don’t buy the assumption that it’s actually improving education the way a reasonable parent or grandparent would want education to be improved! Ask for evidence and empirical studies to back up claims– always.
Lesson four: when education reformers use the term “internationally competitive,” they mean to intimidate you. Don’t be intimidated. The truth is that America turns out so many highly qualified college graduates that we can’t even employ them all. We are incredibly competitive internationally. Not only are we smart, but we are creative because we have been free. We innovate miracles in medicine, technology, entertainment and agriculture because we have not been stifled as so many other countries are. Watch this video.
Lesson five: when education reformers name-drop, (Harvard, Stanford, Fordham Foundation, Manhattan Institute, the P.T.A., etc.) they mean to marginalize you. Don’t be moved. Common Core is educational malpractice and many –even in academia– know it. Common Core is an untested experiment being pushed without empirical evidence as a foundation. Harvard, Stanford and countless other supposedly intellectual institutions have been literally bought with Bill Gates’ foundation money –bribed to say that the naked emperor is wearing clothes– and these establishments have, by taking Gates’ bribes, lost their ability to question the validity of the Common Core. Don’t listen to anyone’s academic reviews who has been paid to say Common Core is valid. That’s not honest; that’s gold digging.
Lesson six: when education reformers say Common Core is “state-led,” they mean to reassure you that it’s no threat to your constitutional rights. Don’t be fooled. There’s nothing state-led about Common Core. Legislators were completely bypassed. There was never a vote. There was never a public discussion. Most people in most states still don’t even know what the term Common Core means, much less feel they led the process. The standards were developed stealthily behind closed doors in Washington, D.C., by the NGA/CCSSO, two unelected groups who copyrighted the standards and who have provided no amendment process for any state to alter a single strand of a standard. And the federal government claims credit for pushing the standards on the states. Just listen to Sec. Duncan’s and Pres. Obama’s speeches on the subject. For example, see Sec. Duncan’s 2010 speech on “The Vision of Education Reform“:
“In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to “develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity.” Virtually everyone thought the president was dreaming.
But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it. Over three-fourths of all U.S. public school students now reside in states that have voluntarily adopted higher, common college-ready standards that are internationally benchmarked. That is an absolute game-changer in a system which until now set 50 different goalposts for success.
The second game-changer is that states have banded together in large consortia to develop a new generation of assessments aligned with the states’ Common Core standards.”
The unconstitutional, detrimental, top-down nationalization of education and usurpation of states’ rights to determine education has clearly and without question, occurred.
The thing that remains unclear is this: what are Americans going to do about it?
Today, Utah Stories magazine interviewed Alisa, Renee and me. Here’s the clip.
- Christopher Tienken - Professor at Seton Hall, NJ - http://vimeo.com/58461595
- Jane Robbins – American Principles Project - Stop Common Core video series: http://youtu.be/coRNJluF2O4
- Jamie Gass – Pioneer Institute – has been speaking about Common Core for many years; knows why Massachusetts had the best standards in the nation prior to Common Core. http://youtu.be/SBROaOCKN50
- Senator Kurt Bahr – Missouri legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/25NTsQxj-zg?t=1m49s
- Senator William Ligon – Georgia legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/ODz4X0GO-Fk?t=1m37s
- Senator Scott Schneider – Indiana legislator fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/TH9ZxVrn6aA?t=1m10s
- Dr. Bill Evers – Hoover Institute – Stanford University – http://youtu.be/LB014eno1aA
- Robert Scott – Texas commissioner of education – rejected Common Core: http://youtu.be/WcpMIUWbgxY?t=2m25s
- Diane Ravitch – liberal education analyst who just recently came out against Common Core http://youtu.be/ZkZUGpJJWy4?t=13s
- Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on their adequacy: http://bcove.me/ws77it6d see min. 55:30
- Ze’ev Wurman, math analyst http://youtu.be/0cgnprQg_O0?t=22s
- Heather Crossin – Indiana mother fighting Common Core http://youtu.be/TH9ZxVrn6aA?t=54s
- Utah moms Alisa Ellis and Renee Braddy – http://youtu.be/Mk0D16mNbp4
- Jim Stergios – Pioneer Institute - http://bcove.me/ws77it6d see minute 30:00
- Jenni White – Oklahoma data collection expert - http://youtu.be/XTbMLjk-qRc and http://youtu.be/JM1CTJFUuzM
- Susan Ohanian – education analyst http://youtu.be/uJHkztNNFNk?t=23s
- Dr. William Mathis of University of Colorado http://youtu.be/46-M1hH0D1Q?t=23s
- Seattle Teachers who boycotted Garfield High School standardized testing. http://youtu.be/N5ODEoqZZHs
- Gary Thompson, clinical psychologist http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/glenn-beck-on-privacy-and-data-mining-in-common-core/
- Emmett McGroarty, American Principles Project http://youtu.be/wVI78lPCFfs?t=21s
- David Cox, teacher http://youtu.be/W-uAi1I_6Ds?t=22m28s
- Paul Bogush, teacher http://youtu.be/oaDniHquMVI?t=56s
- Sherena Arrington, political analyst http://youtu.be/QF337nKwx6M?t=6m35s
- Walt Chappell, Kansas Board of Education http://youtu.be/1S9jjNyXAE4?t=16m55s
- Bob Shaeffer, Colorado Principal /Former Congressman http://youtu.be/Fai4K2ZVauk?t=1m15s
- Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation http://youtu.be/1DOCH1YT6Uk
- Oak Norton, Agency Based Education http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_H7ds2Eb70&feature=share&list=PLjUrg_jASxd-BeEivpr4b7z7Ydc5mjGi4
- Neil McClusky – Cato Institute http://youtu.be/DK2kTdDudo4
Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform
Bill Gates: Scary Philanthropy
Countdown # 5
The biggest philanthropist on earth comes across as the epitome of sincere, nerdy nice-guy. And he probably is very nice and very sincere. But does sincerity trump truth?
The truth is, Bill Gates’ herculean attempt to fund and market Common Core to Americans, and to circumvent the voting public on educational issues, is dangerously, dangerously misguided.
Thus, not everybody is happy in philanthropy land. The biggest philanthropist in the world got behind the unproven experiment of Common Core and –using money rather than the voice of the American voter– he pushed it into schools, circumventing any vetting by legislative, educator or parent groups.
Gates’ astronomical wealth has persuaded millions that Common Core is the solution to education problems, the argument from everywhere, approved (by him) and beyond debate. But let me repeat the fact: regardless of whether the standards are horrible or glorious, the truth remains that whenever unelected philanthropists are permitted to direct public policy, the voting public gets cut out of the process. It’s happening all over the U.S., but not just in the U.S. The Gates-directing-world-education effect is happening everywhere.
Since Gates has no constituency he can’t be un-elected; so it’s not the the wisdom of experienced educators, but simply one man’s money that is directing implementation of the controversial Common Core. His money has bought, besides technology, work groups, and a seat at the policy making table, extreme marketing success.
He’s got control of the education opinion factory. When Common Core was debated at the Indiana State Capitol, who showed up to advocate for Common Core? Stand for Children, which Bill Gates funds. He also funds the League of Education Voters, the Center for Reinventing Public Education and the Partnership for Learning, all Common Core advocates; Gates owns Editorial Projects in Education, parent of Education Week magazine.
No wonder, then, even educators don’t seem to know the full truth about Common Core. They’re reading Education Week and the Harvard Education Letter. Translation: they are reading Gates’ dollar bills. (By the way: want to make some money selling out your fellow teachers? Gates is searching for a grant recipient who will receive $250,000 to accelerate networking of teachers toward acceptance of Common Core. )
Wherever you see advocates for Common Core, you see Gates’ influence. He gave a million dollars to the national PTA to advocate to parents about Common Core. He gave Common Core developer NGA/CCSSO roughly $25 million to promote it. (CCSSO: 2009–$9,961,842, 2009– $3,185,750, 2010–$743,331, 2011–$9,388,911 ; NGA Center: 2008–$2,259,780.) He gave $15 million to Harvard for “education policy” research. He gave $9 million to universities promoting “breakthrough learning models” and global education. Gates paid inBloom 100 million dollars to collect and analyze schools’ data as part of a public-private collaborative that is building “shared technology services.” InBloom, formerly known as the Shared Learning Collaborative, includes districts, states, and the unelected Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The list goes on and on and on.
It’s hard to know exactly how much money Gates has put toward the promotion of Common Core because of the chameleon-like wording of educational granting areas. For example, he gave $3 million Stanford University and $3 million to Brown University for “college and career readiness.” (The average person wouldn’t know that college and career readiness is a code phrase defined as common core by the Department of Education.) Sometimes he’s promoting “support activities around educational issues related to school reform” for the CCSSO (common core developer) and other times he’s “helping states build data interoperability” –which not everyone would recognize as Common assessments’ bed-making.
According to Gates himself, he’s spent five billion dollars to promote his vision of education since 2000.
He really, reealllly believes in Common Core. So it doesn’t matter that Common Core is an experiment on our children that’s never been tested and has been rejected by countless top education analysts. It doesn’t matter that Common Core is an un-American, top-down, nonrepresentative system that state legislatures didn’t even get to vet. Bill Gates wants it.
And not just in America– he wants global education standards.
Gates’ company, Microsoft, signed a cooperative agreement with the United Nations’ education branch, UNESCO. In it, Gates said, “Microsoft supports the objectives of UNESCO as stipulated in UNESCO’s constitution and intends to contribute to UNESCO’s programme priorities.” UNESCO’s “Education For All” key document is called “The Dakar Framework for Action: Education For All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments.” Read the full text here: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001211/121147e.pdf
So Gates partners with the U.N.’s educational and other goals via UNESCO’s “Education for All” which seeks to teach the same standards to all children (and adults) on a global scale. Why is this a problem? It supercedes local control over what is taught to students, and dismisses the validity of the U.S. Constitution, all in the name of inclusivity and education and tolerance for all nations.
At this link, you can learn about how Education For All works: “Prior to the reform of the global EFA coordination architecture in 2011-2012, the Education for All High-Level Group brought together high-level representatives from national governments, development agencies, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. Its role was to generate political momentum and mobilize financial, technical and political support towards the achievement of the EFA goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2001-2011 the High-Level Group met annually.”
The six goals of “Education For All” are claimed to be internationally agreed-upon. On the linked Education and Awareness page of the U.N. website, we learn:
“Education, Public Awareness and Training is the focus of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. This is a cross-sectoral theme both relevant to the implementation of the whole of Agenda 21 and indispensable” http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/susdevtopics/sdt_educawar.shtml
Did you get that? Education is indispensable for the U.N. to get its agenda pushed onto every citizen worldwide. They just admitted it out loud. They want a strong hand in determining what is taught worldwide.
So then we click on Chapter 36. In 36.2 it says we should “reorient” worldwide education toward sustainable development. (No discussion, no vote, no input needed on this reorientation plan, apparently.) 36.3 says: “Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes…. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development… To be effective, environment and development education should deal with the dynamics of both the physical/biological and socio-economic environment and human (which may include spiritual) development, should be integrated in all disciplines, and should employ formal and non-formal methods”
The take-away? What does Bill Gates agree to in his Microsoft – UNESCO partnership?
- Environmental education will be incorporated in formal education.
- Any value or attitude held by anyone globally that stands independent to that of the United Nations’ definition of “sustainable education” must change. Current attitudes are unacceptable.
- Education will be belief-and-spirituality based as defined by the global collective.
- Environmental education will be integrated into every subject, not just science.
The stated objectives (36.4) include endorsing “Education for All,” and “giving special emphasis to the further training of decision makers at all levels.”
Hence the need for people like Gates to influence the training of decision makers. When asked what matters most to him, Gates said: education. His version of education. The Huffington Post reported:
“I’d pick education, if I was thinking broadly about America,” Gates responded. “It’s our tool of equality.” Is it coincidence that equality and redistribution are also concepts that Linda Darling-Hammond, Chaka Fattah and Arne Duncan are promoting in the federal Equity and Excellence Commission?
How committed is Bill Gates to the United Nations having a say in American education?
In his annual letter, Gates emphasized the importance of following the United Nations’ Millennial Goals and measuring teachers more closely. One of those UN Millennial goals is to achieve universal education. Also, Gates helped create Strong American Schools (a successor to the STAND UP campaign launched in 2006, which was an outgrowth of UNESCO’s Millennium Campaign Goals for Universal Education). It called for U.S. national education standards. (link 1) (link 2)
Also, Gates’ Foundation funded the International Benchmarking Advisory Group report for Common Core Standards on behalf of the National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and ACHIEVE, Inc. titled, “Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education.” This report showed the United Nations is a member of the International Benchmarking Advisory Group for Common Core Standards. (link)
It appears that Bill Gates is more than a common core philanthopist; he is a promoter of global sameness of education as defined by UNESCO and the U.N.
Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform: #8 – Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education 7 comments
Arne Duncan: U.S. Secretary of Education
Before I begin, let’s remember a few pesky laws that make it illegal for Arne Duncan’s Department of Education (as part of the Executive Branch) to tell any state what to do about any aspect of education. States, not the federal government, hold authority over education. Period.
Under 1) the General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA law) and 2) the U.S. Constitution, the Department of Education has zero authority. You already know the Constitution gives states authority over education in the tenth amendment. But did you know that federal GEPA law states this?
“No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system”) Translation: the Department of Education has no authority and nobody really knows why it exists at all.
This is, in some circles, common knowledge.
So topping the list of reasons that U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan is on the “Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform” list is this: he’s doing the wrong thing –and he knows it.
SECRETARY DUNCAN’S MICROMANAGEMENT PLANS
- In a December 2012 speech Duncan clearly stated his micromanagement plot:
“…We have tried to flip the traditional tight-loose relationship between the federal government and the states, where the federal government had been loose“
“…We have pursued a cradle-to-career agenda, from early childhood programs through postsecondary graduation… [the] final core element in our strategy is promoting a career-to-cradle agenda.”
Part of that agenda involves the creation of a school-centered rather than a family-centered nation. Duncan aims to make the schools the community center, to include health care clinics and after school programs and to extend school to fourteen hours a day, seven days a week. He insists that America needs to extend learning time and says, “we have to learn to think very, very differently about time. I think our school day is too short. I think our school week is too short. I think our school year is too short.”
- In a June 2009 speech Duncan showed his aim to centralize power over education through tracking and data collection:
“[No Child Left Behind] let every state set its own bar and we now have 50 states, 50 different states all measuring success differently, and that’s starting to change. We want to flip that.”
“Hopefully, some day, we can track children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career. We must track high growth children in classrooms to their great teachers and great teachers to their schools of education.”
“Robust data gives us the roadmap to reform.” (Who exactly is the “us” in a country that constitutionally gives zero authority to the executive branch over education?)
- In 2010 speech to Unesco Duncan showed how he consciously –though illegally– grows the federal intrusion into states’ running of education:
“Our goal for the coming year will be to work closely with global partners, including UNESCO” –Wait a minute. What business does UNESCO have in my state’s right to educate? It’s almost unbelievable that Duncan dares say this stuff out loud. But it does get worse.
“Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy. The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more…”
Reread that quote. Then check G.E.P.A. law, above. Really, Mr. Duncan?
Duncan has also admitted that the Common Core Standards were not state-led: “President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to develop standards and assessments,” he said, adding, “America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform… To cite just one example, the department’s Race to the Top Program…”
–Quiet revolution is right. Virtually no one knows what Common Core really is.
In the most ironic line, Duncan called Common Core assessments the tests teachers have longed for. Seriously, Mr. Duncan. “Teachers will have the assessments they have longed for“? The truth is, teachers are lining up to sign a Dump Duncan petition because –the petition states– Duncan coerces states into using high-stakes tests and student test scores in the evaluation of teachers, as well as using test scores as a basis for closing schools; Duncan excludes and demoralizes teachers and discourages creative pedagogy, instead pushing assessments and “teaching to the test.”
- Most tellingly, we read Duncan’s Cooperative Agreement with the Common Core testing groups and we see even more micromanagement and data collection to come:
The Cooperative Agreement mandates that “the recipient [all the states under Common Core testing] will …provide updated, detailed work plans and budgets for all major activities… use and validation of artificial intelligence for scoring…. actively participate in any meetings and telephone conferences with ED staff… collaboration with the other RTTA recipient… be responsive to requests from ED for information… Comply with, and where applicable coordinate with the ED staff … working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis… foster synchronized development of assessment systems”
SECRETARY DUNCAN’S PRIVACY-KILLING FERPA ALTERATIONS
Secretary Duncan altered longstanding federal privacy law (FERPA) and loosened its parental consent rules and redefined its key terms. These alterations got his Department of Education sued by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, but for some reason, that doesn’t seem to be newsworthy. According to Khalia Barnes, the lead lawyer on the E.P.I.C. case, they’ve had virtually no press on the law suit.
She also told me that few people realize that it’s not just children who will be hurt by the alterations to privacy law. Any one, of any age, whose records are archived at any university that ever received federal funding, can have their data seen without their knowledge or consent.
The Department of Education has lied. It said that the FERPA alterations would improve student privacy, while the opposite is true. The regulations exceed the agency’s legal authority and expose students to huge privacy risks. The new rules permit educational institutions to release student records to non-governmental agencies without obtaining parents’ consent. The rules broaden the permissible purposes for which third parties can access students records. The rules also fail to safeguard students from the risk of re-identification.
Not newsworthy at all.
SECRETARY DUNCAN’S REDEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Next, let’s look at the terms that our U.S. Secretary of Education has had redefined to better suit his purposes:
1) COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS. Did you know that ”college and career readiness” can now officially mean only one thing? It means having the same standards as other states. Odd! Check it out on the ed.gov website.
2) AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE – Did you know that an “authorized representative” has been redefined by the Dept. of Education (without Congressional approval) to expand privacy exemptions that had previously protected student privacy under FERPA law? And reinterpretations ”remove affirmative legal duties for state and local educational facilities to protect private student data.” Yes, the Dept. has been sued over this. Yet, ”authorized representative” can now mean anyone who wants to see student data, even “a contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom an agency or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions…” A volunteer can be “authorized” to see personally identifiable data without parental consent.
3) EDUCATION PROGRAM – Did you know that Sec. Duncan’s redefinition of “education program” now ”includes, but is not limited to” early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, special education, job training, career and technical education, and adult education, “regardless of whether the program is administered by an educational authority.” That last part is almost funny. But not.
4) DIRECTORY INFORMATION – Sec. Duncan made sure it would be allowable to “nonconsensually disclose a studentnumber or other unique personal identifier” and that directory information could include a name; address; telephone listing; electronic mail address; photograph; date and place of birth; major field of study; grade level; enrollment status, dates of attendance; participation in activities and sports; weight and height; degrees, honors and awards received; and educational institution attended.
5) BIOMETRIC DATA - in the Dept. of Education’s definition of “personally identifiable information,” biometric data means a record of one or more measurable biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated recognition of an individual. Examples include fingerprints; retina and iris patterns; voiceprints; DNA sequence; facial characteristics; and handwriting. That one wins the creepy award.
SECRETARY DUNCAN’S ROLE IN WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION
Of all the reasons Secretary Duncan is scary, the cherry on top is his role in the Obama wealth redistribution agenda. With the help of Congressman Fattah (PA) and Congressman Honda (CA) Sec. Duncan was an architect of the wealth redistribution program known as The Equity and Excellence Commission, which is sliding under the public radar disguised as education reform.
Congressman Fattah explained what he and Duncan and Honda created: “The Equity and Excellence Commission I worked with Congressman Honda to initiate and that has been established by Secretary Arne Duncan will begin to close the gap in resource distribution between rich and poor…” The commission presents “a big and bold new vision on the federal role in education by recommending transformations in school funding structures.”
While Duncan more often employs the term “social justice” than the term “wealth redistribution,” the documents of his Equity and Excellence Commission reveal that they are one and the same. And Duncan does push for both. At a University of Virginia speech, Duncan said: “Great teaching is about so much more than education; it is a daily fight for social justice.” At an IES research conference, he said: “The fight for quality education is about so much more than education. It’s a fight for social justice.”
FYI, social justice means governmentally-enforced financial equality; it means wealth and property redistribution.
We are not talking about philanthropy, compassionate, voluntary giving. We are talking about force.
Michelle Rhee: Putting Students Last
Countdown # 10:
Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform
This is the first in a countdown series of introductions, a list of the Top Ten Scariest People Leading American Education.
It’s so troubling to see local and state leaders put their trust –and our childrens’ minds– in the hands of people who openly work to destroy the great American tradition.
It’s been said –and I agree– that American liberties are being lost because of the strange coalition of three unlikely groups: the well-intentioned, the slothful, and the subversive.
This series will focus on the third group, the subversive.
Watch the antics of the people who lead the educational philosophies of our nation. Topping my list of educational subversives: Common Core architect/College Board President David Coleman; Common Core testing advisor /Obama campaign advisor Linda Darling-Hammond; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Sir Michael Barber, who is CEA of Pearson Education; and Dept. of Education consultant Bill Ayers.
Today I will introduce Michelle Rhee, President of StudentsFirst. She is a self-proclaimed radical left wing progressive “change agent”. This Harvard graduate, former chancellor of D.C. schools and White House darling is rumored to be the logical replacement for Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Her book, “Radical,” was published last month.
It is troubling to read about the scandal in which Rhee was accused and partially acknowledged the erasing by adults of wrong answers and correcting student tests dishonestly to make the scores appear higher than they really were.
And it is very troubling to see how little student learning really means to her. From American Thinker:
“Michelle Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst, had gotten into a discussion with former teacher Robert Pondiscio, of the website Core Knowledge, about curriculum. Pondiscio had just finished listening to a speech Rhee gave at the Manhattan Institute on December 16, 2010, when he asked her if she could comment on the importance of curriculum.
Here’s the exchange:
Pondisco: ”I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Rhee about my reform game -curriculum, teaching and learning…
“I know you have a lot on your plate,” I concluded. “But I’d urge you to at least keep curriculum in mind.”
“The last thing we’re going to do,” she replied with a chuckle, “is get wrapped up in curriculum battles.”
A stunning reply if you think about it.
The poster child for bare-knuckle reform, who moments earlier was urging her listeners to “embrace conflict,” has no stomach for a debate about what kids should learn in school.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/03/suspect_common_core_standards_linked_to_studentsfirst_former_board_members.html#.UUkTCyJvIaY.email#ixzz2O62fGLq3
Rhee has been criticized endlessly by a California teacher whose blog about absurd education reforms includes posts decrying common core, data madness, and Michelle Rhee. At that blog I also found this Dr. Seuss-styled satire –about Michelle Rhee.
Did you see the recent view that Missouri Education Watchdog has taken on “Datapalooza” at the White House? Most telling is a pleasant sounding speech by eScholar CEO Shawn T. Bay, given at the White House, in which he states that although aggregate data (not individual) is useful, it’s most useful to look at the individual consumer or the individual student. He says, too, that Common Core is so important to the open data movement, because it’s “the glue that actually ties everything together.”
Common Core tests begin in 2014. The tests are to be the vehicle for the nationwide student data collection, both academic and nonacademic. Without Common Core, the federal and corporate invasion of privacy could not be effective. I do not think many people, including the speaker in this video, understand the underhanded (nonconsensual) alterations to privacy law of the Department of Education.
Here is the video. http://youtu.be/9RIgKRNzC9U?t=9m5s
At about minute nine, he explains how the data push depends on Common Core State Standards.
There may be someone in America who has studied the education data collection scheme more than Jenni White of Restore Oklahoma Public Education. But I haven’t found that person. Here’s a video interview that Alisa, Renee and I filmed with Jenni this week.
What is the State Longitudinal Database System?
Why does every state track every citizen with the SLDS?
What is the P20 system?
Why did the federal government pay every state many millions to build the system?
Why did they require states to build interoperable systems if they were not to share data outside the state?
How do schools, prisons, hospitals and military agencies now share data?
Is this really just career path assistance or is it citizen surveillance?
This article needs wide exposure.
Misadventures in Common Core
By Mark Rice – reposted from Huffington Post
My daughter — a bright, fun-loving 8-year-old who isn’t easily rattled — was reduced to tears in school yesterday. Apparently, while working on a math lesson involving fractions, she wasn’t “getting it” the way that she thought she should, and her frustration mounted and her eyes welled up and, later, when her teacher talked to her in the hallway on the way to gym class, she lost it and she cried and cried.
I know this because her teacher — a committed professional who does wonderful work with her class of third-graders — cared enough to call us at home to tell us. When asked, she said that lots of kids were feeling frustrated by this particular lesson. The reason, we learned, is New York’s recent embrace of the “Common Core” that has been adopted by 46 states. It’s the latest experiment put into place by educational policy experts who continually jockey to get the newest big ideas into the classroom.
When I first heard about the Common Core, I was excited. Many of the college students I teach are unprepared to do the kinds of textual analysis and critical thinking that I expect of them, and what I had heard about the Common Core made it seem promising. One article that I read in The Atlantic made it sound, well, revolutionary.
Maybe it will be. The Common Core might turn out to be one of the best reforms in K-12 education in decades. It’s all still pretty new and its cumulative impact on the intellectual development of students might turn out to be a great thing. What I know right now, though, is that it is asking third graders to approach math in ways that seem terribly unsuited to them.
I don’t just mean things like the worksheet that included a rectangle divided into six sections with written instructions asking students to shade one-fifth of it.
[Note: As I wrote the above sentence, my daughter -- who had been in bed for an hour and should have been asleep -- came downstairs in tears, saying that she was still upset by what happened in math class. After talking about her frustrations, she fell asleep beside me on the sofa.]
No, I’m not talking about the typographical error on an official New York State Common Core third-grade math worksheet, though such a boneheaded mistake does little to inspire confidence.
What I mean by math problems unsuited to third-graders are ones that go something like this: Two kids are served brownies. One kid, “Julian,” eats one-half of a small brownie and the other kid, “Debbie,” eats one-eighth of a big brownie. Julian claims that he ate more than Debbie (because one-half is more than one-eighth). The students are asked to explain why Julian’s claim is false, using words and pictures, and then use words and pictures to make that supposedly false statement into a true statement.
I guess that what the students are supposed to realize is that because the brownies are different sizes (though what kind of adult would cut unequal-sized brownies for kids?), one-half isn’t necessarily bigger than one-eighth. That’s true, but without knowing the size of each brownie, there really isn’t enough information to determine which brownie piece is bigger. Maybe Julian really did eat more than Debbie.
More to the point though, is this question: How in the world is that problem supposed to help a third-grader learn fractions? Third-graders are concrete thinkers and they are just learning the basics of fractions. Why throw in a poorly-written word problem that asks them to explain an abstract concept such as the idea that one-eighth of a larger whole may be bigger than one-half of a smaller whole? Until they fully understand the basics of halves and eighths — and unless there is a picture showing the relative sizes of each whole — such abstractions only muddy the waters of learning.
Then there is the problem of dividing a “whole” into two “halves,” calling each half a new whole, and then asking the students to divide the new whole into new halves. My daughter looked at the problem and she knew that she wasn’t seeing two new wholes. She was seeing two halves of the original whole that still stared back her from the page.
More insidious still is a worksheet that seems determined to confuse students by its use of two very similar sounding, and similar looking words. The instructions for Column A read: “The shape represents one whole. Write a fraction to describe the shaded part.” Below the instructions are a variety of shapes with different fractions shaded. The same shapes and shades are found in Column B. This time students are instructed: “The shaded part represents one whole. Divide one whole to show the same unit fraction you wrote in A.”
These third grade students are expected to keep in mind not only the lesson on fractions, but also the fine distinction between the words “shape” and “shade” in determining wholes and fractions. It’s absurd.
I don’t know how my daughter will do in math today or in the coming weeks. I hope that with her teacher’s guidance, and with the support of her mother and me, she’ll make the adjustments she needs to make in order to regain her confidence in understanding the math concepts that she was already beginning to understand before the new standards and their worksheets came along.
Until then, we’ll just keep reassuring her that the problem isn’t her ability to understand math; the problem is how she’s being asked to understand math. The problem is the experimental “big idea” that she’s unknowingly become part of.
— — — — —
Thanks to Mark Rice for his article.
At Wasatch High School, where my teenager goes, there have been no math books for two years and there won’t be any next year either. I know this because I called and asked.
No textbook. No online book. No resource for parents or students, other than the offer to have parents attend class with the student. Or afterschool tutoring. Still booklessly.
This is the case because Wasatch High (or the school board– not sure who made the call) has decided to “lead” the state in implementing the Common Core. So rather than to take some time –full implementation and testing must be done in 2014– Wasatch started implementing immediately, booklessly.
Math teachers just “make it up” and make daily worksheets from the standards themselves, but without real instruction. These worksheets don’t look like a math book by any stretch of the imagination. They are virtually instruction-free. And my teenager can’t stand it.
I wish there were private schools in the Heber Valley but there are not. My options are to homeschool my teenager, or put up with a THIRD year of no book and no traditional math.
Thank you, Utah State School Board, for truly messing up children’s academic lives and calling it wonderful.
— —- —
While I’m on the subject of how incredibly frustrated I feel with the Utah State School Board and the State Office of Education, I will share a thread from facebook. Joel Coleman is the state school board member who comments here, and Wendy Hart is a district school board member who understands how bad common core really is. Joel does not. :
Joel Coleman C’mon, we have to be straight here, we can’t keep repeating the same falsehoods in good conscience. The financial analysis was required before the money was appropriated by the legislature 3 years ago. In fact, the costs dropped from $80M with the previous standards to $5M, so we actually saved a whole boatload of money. There was the same public input (including legislators) as there always is when adjusting or adopting the new Utah core standards for math and English. And clearly we’re not using nationalized assessments – we’re developing our own using Utah produced questions and reviewed by a board of Utah citizens as required by Utah law.
Alisa Olsen Ellis Joel Coleman – you’re right – it’s time to be straight. We’ve spent thousands of hours researching this. How many have you spent? I understand that you are on the inside track but I have only had 1, that’s right 1, email returned to me from Brenda Hales. 1 – that is unbelievable to me. I’m glad that you feel so confident with the numbers put out by the State Office but I would like to see an independent cost analysis done. This is not simply about standards. You need to look at all of the reforms we’re putting in place to first, comply with our Race to the Top application, (I know we didn’t win but we never reversed – aside from the assessments- any of our commitments) and then look at the NCLB waiver very closely. There is a lot to this. Have you read the National Governor’s Implementation guide where they suggested states may have to hide some of the costs associated with implementing Common Core? They suggested increasing class sizes.
Alisa Olsen Ellis The one email I was sent spouted the same lines we’ve heard from the beginning, un-sourced of course. I did however get forwarded an email that you wrote the Lieutenant Governor attaching a 204 page document with the comment that here’s all the info those opposing Common Core “claim to have never received”. Did you send it to me? That document had the same rhetoric too. They didn’t even get the committee Sandra Stotsky was on right. I would encourage you to look around the Country and you’ll notice our outrage is not isolated to UT.
Anissa Wardell The “core” of this issue is that USOE is not being straight with any of us. Utah has implemented new standards, shifting the entire state and requiring districts to enact new training, new curriculum, and new assessments, and the state has somehow saved us $75 million? Where did you get that $5 million dollar figure? I would love to see how we have saved $75 million dollars.
Renee LaPray Braddy Joel Coleman, you should talk to the districts. Alpine is finding that they are spending a lot on implementing Common Core. It seems as though the districts will be absorbing the majority of the cost. I don’t think it is asking too much to have a cost analysis. Do you?
Renee LaPray Braddy Joel Coleman, have you seen this recent study in NY? “There are serious challenges to this federal program’s validity, and the research upon which it is based. Without substantive validation, New York State and U.S. taxpayers are funding a grand and costly experiment that has the potential to take public education in the wrong direction at a time when we need to be more competitive than ever before.”
To Honor, Uphold and Sustain the Law… Even When You Think You Have a Really Good Reason To Do Otherwise Leave a comment
It’s always fun to watch smart people debate an important topic, but it’s especially satisfying when the person whose side you are on wins the day. That is Yong Zhao, who seems to me not only smart but also wise.
Many are following the Marc Tucker/ Yong Zhao interchange about Common Core with great interest. http://zhaolearning.com/2013/01/17/more-questions-about-the-common-core-response-to-marc-tucker/
Marc Tucker is an old pal and co-conspirator with Hillary Clinton, and their written “Let’s Take Over American Education” exchange has long been archived in the Congressional Record, partially because of its conspiratorial nature. I’ve posted about it before: http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/anti-liberty-plot-for-american-education-full-text-of-the-letter-from-marc-tucker-to-hillary-clinton-2/
So, Tucker is no friend to educational freedom; Zhao is.
Here is almost the whole of the latest brilliant response to Tucker by Yong Zhao. Full text here: http://zhaolearning.com/2013/01/17/more-questions-about-the-common-core-response-to-marc-tucker/
More Questions about the Common Core: Response to Marc Tucker
17 January 2013
…It is impossible, unnecessary, and harmful for a small group of individuals to predetermine and impose upon all students the same set of knowledge and skills and expect all students progress at the same pace (if the students don’t, it is the teachers’ and schools’ fault).
I am not against standards per se for good standards can serve as a useful guide. What I am against is Common and Core, that is, the same standards for all students and a few subjects (currently math and English language arts) as the core of all children’s education diet. I might even love the Common Core if they were not common or core.
Tucker disagrees. He argues it is both possible and necessary to predetermine and impose upon all students the same knowledge and skills and America is immune to the damages of such efforts that have been experienced in China and other similar East Asian countries.
Now response to Tucker’s arguments point by point.
Tucker: It is now more important than ever to figure out what all young people need to know and be able to do.
Zhao: First, it is not true that “it is now more important than ever to figure out what all young people need to know and be able to do.” Over a hundred and fifty years ago, the British philosopher Herbert Spencer thought it was so important to decide what children should learn that he wrote the essay What Knowledge is of Most Worth and came up with the answer “science” and his criteria was the utilitarian value of knowledge. He did not think Latin, Greek, and the classics were of much value for a person to live in a society being transformed by industrialization and history , to Spencer was “mere tissue of names and dates and dead unmeaning events…it has not the remotest bearings on any our actions.”
In 1892, the National Education Association (NEA) thought it was so important that it appointed the Committee of Ten, chaired by Harvard president Charles Elliot, to figure out what schools should teach.
In early 1900s, The NEA had another commission to rethink the curriculum and came up with The Cardinal Principals of Secondary Education
Activities intended to determine what all students should know and be able to do never actually stopped. In recent years, the 1994 Goals 2000 Act under President Clinton provided funds to develop standards that “identify what all students should know and be able to do to live and work in the 21st century.” Under NCLB, states were mandated to develop both content and academic achievement standards in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science.
There has never been a lack of attempts to figure out what all young people should know and be able to do, consequently there is no shortage of standards around. The fact that there have been so many attempts suggests the difficulty of the task. People simply cannot seem to agree what all children should know and learn in general. People cannot even agree what to teach in math, the supposedly the most straightforward, and have fought many math wars over the last century. It is actually a good thing, in my mind, that people cannot come to agreement and the American federal government was not given the authority to impose its own version upon all children. But despite the lack of a consistently implemented nationalized curriculum and standards, America did just fine as a nation.
The Common Core initiative seems to suggest that either there are no standards in America or the existing standards are not good enough. But what evidence is there to show the Common Core is better than previous ones, including those from all 50 states? Granted that things change and what students learn should reflect the changes, but how frequently should that happen? The state standards developed under NCLB are merely a decade old. If we have to make massive changes every five or 10 years, does not it mean it is nearly impossible to come up with content that is valid long enough for the nation’s over 100,000 schools to implement before it becomes outdated? If so, would it be much more likely that individual schools and teachers have a better chance to make the adjustment faster than large bureaucracies?
An anecdote: For hundreds of years it was possible for the adults in my little village in China to figure out what all children should know and be able to do: handling the water buffalo was one for the boys and sewing for the girls. My village was small and isolated, with around 200 people. But that predication became invalid when China opened up to the outside world in the 1980s. The common standards in my village proved to be wrong later in at least two cases. First it did not work for me. I was pretty bad at what my village’s Common Core prescribed (handling the water buffalo) so I had to do something else (coming to America to debate with Marc Tucker, for example). Second, it did not work for the rest of the children in the village either, because working as a migrant worker in the city is different from handling a water buffalo.
Tucker: Truly creative people know a lot and they have worked hard at learning it. They typically know a lot about unrelated things and their creativity comes from putting those unrelated things together in unusual ways. Learning almost anything really well depends on mastering the conceptual structure of the underlying disciplines, because, without that scaffolding, we are not able to put new information and skills to work.
Zhao: Very true, truly creative people know a lot and they have worked hard at learning it, but do they know a lot about what they are passionate about, or what the government wants them to know? Do they work hard at learning something that is personally meaningful, or do they work hard at learning something prescribed by others?
Also true that learning anything really well depends on mastering the conceptual structure of the underlying disciplines, but what disciplines: math, science, the arts, music, languages, or politics? I am embarrassed to admit as a Chinese, I had horrible math scores in school, which is why I chose to study English, but somehow I am good at computer programming and developed large-scale software. I am also good at understanding statistics and empirical evidence.
Tucker: Zhao says that we will not be competitive simply by producing a nation of good test takers. That is, of course, true. Leading Asian educators are very much afraid that they have succeeded in producing good test takers who are not going to be very good at inventing the future. But that does not absolve us of the responsibility for figuring out what all students will need to know to be competitive in a highly competitive global labor market, nor does it absolve us of the responsibility to figure out how to assess the skills we think are most important.
Zhao: Is it responsibility or arrogance? Almost all totalitarian governments and dictators claim that they have the responsibility to engineer a society so their people can live happily and that their people are not capable of knowing what is good for them and top-level design is necessary. For example, they claim that their people cannot defend themselves against bad information, thus the leaders have to impose censorship. The leaders should decide what their people should view, listen to, and read. This self-assigned responsibility comes from the assumption that the authority knows best. By the way, we adults (parents and teachers) often committee the same error of arrogance: we automatically assume we know better than our children.
Tucker: It is true that the future will be full of jobs that do not exist now and challenges we cannot even imagine yet, never mind anticipate accurately. But, whatever those challenges turn out to be, I can guarantee you that they will not be met by people without strong quantitative skills, people who cannot construct a sound argument, people who know little of history or geography or economics, people who cannot write well.
Zhao: Almost true but strong quantitative skills are not the same as the skills to mark the right choice on a multiple choice exam, constructing a sound argument is different from repeating the “correct way” of arguing, and writing well certainly does not mean scoring high against a writing rubric. More importantly, as far as I can tell, the Common Core does not include what Tucker wants: history, geography, or economics. Where do the children learn these and other “unrelated things” when they are pushed aside by the Common Core?
Tucker: Zhao grew up in a country in which the aim was not learning but success on the test. There was wide agreement that the tests were deeply flawed, emphasizing what Mao called “stuffing the duck”— shoving facts and procedures into students—in lieu of analysis, synthesis and creativity. But few wanted to change the system, because the tests were one of the few incorruptible parts of a deeply corrupt system.
Zhao: Very good observation but I cannot help but pointing out that Tucker just published a book entitled Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems. If it is such a bad system, why does Tucker consider it one of the world’s leading systems and want to build American education on it? If it is so bad, what is it in Shanghai, a city of China, he wants America to surpass?
And by the way, it is not true that “few wanted to change the system, because the tests were one of the few incorruptible parts of a deeply corrupt system.” Many, perhaps, most people in China, want the system changed. The Ministry of Education and provincial governments have been making changes over the past few decades (for details read my books Catching Up or Leading the Way and World Class Learners)
Tucker: So Zhao is very much aware of the consequences of a rigid system set to outdated standards. But that is not the problem in the United States. We don’t suffer from ancient standards wildly out of tune with the times, enforced by tests that are no better. We suffer from lack of agreement on any standards that could define what all students must know and be able to do before they go their separate ways. We suffer in a great many schools from implicit standards that translate into abysmally low expectations for far too many students.
Zhao: I am very appreciative of Tucker’s understanding of my background but I am not convinced that the U.S. is immune to the same problems China has suffered from testing. Is it not the goal of the Common Core to instill a rigid system? Isn’t the Common Core to be enforced by tests? If not, why do we have the Common Assessment? Why are we connecting teacher evaluation to test scores? Moreover, haven’t we seen plenty of cases of cheating on standardized testing in our schools under NCLB? Isn’t there enough evidence of states manipulating data and cut scores? For more evidence, read Collateral Damage: How High-stakes Testing Corrupts America’s Schools by Sharon Nichols and David Berliner.
Another by the way: When I described the teacher evaluation efforts mandated by the Race to the Top to a group of science teachers from Beijing to study American science education this week, they were appalled and commented: Isn’t that a violation of human dignity?
Tucker: Without broad agreement on a well designed and internationally benchmarked system of standards, we have no hope of producing a nation of students who have the kind of skills, knowledge and creative capacities the nation so desperately needs. There is no substitute for spelling out what we think students everywhere should know and be able to do. Spelling it out is no guarantee that it will happen, but failing to spell it out is a guarantee that we will not get a nation of young people capable of meeting the challenges ahead.
Zhao: This I will have to respectfully disagree with. The U.S. has had a decentralized education system forever (until Bush and Obama) and it has become one of the most prosperous, innovative, and democratic nations on earth. The lack of a common prescription of content imposed on all children by the government has not been a vice, but a virtue. As Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz wrote in their book The Race between Education and Technology: “We must shed our collective amnesia. America was once the world’s education leader. The rest of the world imported its institutions and its egalitarian ideals spread widely. That alone is a great achievement and one calls for an encore.”
Tucker: Zhao apparently believes that standards mean standardization and standardization would inevitably lead to an inability to produce creative solutions to the problems the workforce will face in the years ahead. That could certainly happen. But it need not happen.
Zhao: Yes, it does not need to, but it does happen, has happened, and is unavoidable. When standards are enforced with high stakes testing, when teachers and principals are evaluated based on students’ test scores, when students’ fate are decided by test scores, the teaching and learning must become standardized and constrained. One does not have to go to China to see this. Just take a look at what happened under NCLB. It did not ask schools to narrow the curriculum, to reduce time for music and the arts, for social studies and science, or for lunch and recess, but it all happened. For the impact of NCLB on instructional time and curriculum, check out these reports (1 and 2)from the Center on Education Policy.
Tucker: It is simply not true that our inability to predict the jobs people will have to do in the future and the demand of creative, entrepreneurial young people relieves us of the obligation to figure out what skills and knowledge all young people need to have before they go their separate ways, or the obligation to translate that list of skills and knowledge into standards and assessments that can drive instruction in our schools.
Zhao: It is simply not true that the Common Core will prepare our children for the future. To conclude, I quote a comment left on my Facebook page by one of my personal heros, former president of America Educational Research Association (AERA) and widely respected educational researcher Gene Glass: “Common Core Standards are idiots’ solution to a misunderstood problem. The problem is an archaic, useless curriculum that will prepare no child for life in 2040 and beyond.”
- – - – - – - – -
Professor Tienken of Seton Hall University has been writing about the follies of education reform for many years. He simply doesn’t put up with the ongoing unreferenced claims that proponents of Common Core are parroting one to another. He writes:
“Connecting an individual’s education achievement on a standardized test to a nation’s economic future is not empirically or logically acceptable and using that mythical connection for large-scale policymaking is civically reckless. When education leaders and those who prepare them parrot that argument they actually provide credence to that anti-intellectual myth. When school administrators implement programs and policies built on those faulty arguments, they commit education malpractice.”
-Dr. Christopher Tienken, Seton Hall University
More by Dr. Tienken:
More about Dr. Tienken:
Stephen Round, a lifelong Rhode Island teacher, read his quitting letter aloud on YouTube. He objects to one-size-fits-all education. As do we.
Read the Full Text of Agenda 21 (Educational Systems to be Supplanted by Environmental Agenda) 13 comments
This is creepy.
For months and/or years, many of us have been studying the United Nations’ Agenda 21, especially the education chapters. It’s the U.N.’s plan to change everything in the 21st century.
But just now, just today, we noticed that if you try to find it on the United Nations website, it is GONE.
The U.N. has deleted all public access to even reading it on the internet. I am shocked. If you didn’t know what it was, it’s an agenda the United Nations is trying to push on every global locality that puts green-mindedness and “sustainable development” above any other educational, political, or economic goal. It marginalizes the importance of academics, to push “sustainable education” on kids. It uses collectivity as a philosphy to get people to forget about individuality or things like property and property rights. It’s totally anti-nationalism, anti-liberty, anti-Constitution. Organizations like I.C.L.E.I. and SmartGrowth and Prosperity 2020 are a part of it. But now you can’t even study it. They zapped it off the internet.
Maybe they deleted access because of Glenn Beck’s new book (fiction) that was also titled “Agenda 21″? I don’t know.
This is just unbelievable.
If you weren’t worried about Agenda 21 before, maybe this will persuade you to study it now.
Bob Schaffer was the man who blew the whistle on Marc Tucker and Hillary Clinton’s plot to take over American education. Schaffer got their letter recorded in the official Congressional Record years ago. http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/marc_tucker/
Robert Scott was the very wise Education Commissionar who, together with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, rejected Common Core for Texas –and enraged Sec. of Education Arne Duncan.
Bill Evers, who is a Hoover Institute, Stanford University research fellow, also served on Mitt Romney’s Education Committee. He spoke on the danger of Common Core education this summer, to a standing room only group in Salt Lake City.
Sandra Stotsky served on the official Common Core Validation Committee (and refused to sign off on the standards because, among other things, they cut out classic literature and call it improving education.)
Jim Stergios and Ted Rebarber spoke this summer, here in Salt Lake City, to our senate Education Committee, testifying of the alarming error it was to adopt Common Core on educational and on Constitutional grounds.
This is going to be a great meeting. If you get to go, please leave a comment here, letting others know what you learned.
Our Job Is Not To Indoctrinate
By Utah Teacher Susan Wilcox
We are being duped.
My trust of our district people led me to just go along with many things that I was not aware would be so controlling. At the end of the year, while we were cleaning out things and had little time to talk, they called us together to ask if they could spend the money on SRA courses that were excellent (in their opinion) – brought NO SAMPLES, and we agreed.
– In one short moment, we had changed from our own lesson plans to nationally written materials.
When we got them during the summer, there was no training yet for using them; they were piled on our shelves and one district person said to just pick them up and get going; the other said wait for training. (I’m not sure they even knew what they were doing.)
After being trained, I was excited at first with how well these were put together. Then I noticed the green agenda in there and political stuff that could be controversial, and just thought I was being “old fogie” in my thinking.
There were sideline comments about extinction of certain animals. It was the SRA Reading Mastery program, and the 2nd year we switched to another program by the same company.
It was more directly teaching reading skills. It didn’t have a lot of writing in it, but what it had I liked.
The problem is – I was between a rock and a hard place; we, as teachers, were directly responsible for their IEP goals, and these programs did NOT serve the IEP goals for each of my students. In my own training and part of my OWN resolve to help Special Education students, I determined to copy and read NIGHTLY their goals when preparing lessons. I don’t know WHAT could be more important (since parents sign this document and it is a legal paper of what this child NEEDS..) than following the individual needs of a student. I never felt there was any place or time to express these things within the district. They just plowed forward training us.
It was kind of exciting that a course would be followed when students transferred in the district, so they would have the same course going on. There were other selling points, but in the end there is no better course for a student than the inspired lessons of a loving eacher, who lives with that child for hours every day – even more hours than their parents see and work with them.
It is a sacred trust to me, and I was NOT happy to have that taken away. It is the reason good people choose to be teachers. We realize that PEOPLE are our most important resource, and we want to mold and train them to have the skills they need.
Our job is not to indoctrinate in ANY way. That is a parent’s privilege and borders on religion.
I felt SO outcast in the schools. Everyone is just worried about keeping their jobs and talk REALLY softly when expressing their feelings, when what they FEEL is what they should be loudly acclaiming.
Teachers have to express in private because they are afraid of losing their jobs. I will no longer hold back, because I don’t have and don’t WANT a job in the public sector again. I held out to help my husband get retired and pay off debt so we could free ourselves. I hope to be of value to the WONDERFUL teachers in our schools, who need our help.
Since I taught resource, I only listened in the faculty room to teachers who were very upset, but stayed calm to keep their jobs. They need those of us who are in a good situation to help to do exactly that.
I don’t like our unions because, at least in Utah, they have done nothing to help our teachers. They can’t speak up because the unions have no power to save their jobs and side with the district in defending them.
But I wish the district could record faculty room talk…they would find out that most of the teachers feel pressured, blamed for everything that goes wrong with parents, and end up being the beating stick in education, when we are actually the only ones saving those students between what they need and what is coming to them.
I was told to read a script to my resource students – SRA Reading course, and it did not serve the IEP’s of my students.
I did a much better job designing lessons for EACH student as I prayed over my stewardship as a teacher. I greatly resented being told my methods were not research-based, and therefore not acceptable.
I researched the files of my students, and I don’t know what better research a teacher could do but read the entire written history of each student, and follow through with a lesson plan for what they needed.
The direct instruction was very nicely designed. It was easy and saved time for all the ridiculous paperwork in Special Education. But I only taught half day and did paperwork the rest. I wanted to be more effective to my students.
Since music is being cut, my chances were better at business at home. I always did better at home – I got up to $6000 in grants to run a children’s orchestra over a period of 25 years from outside sources, but always felt like “WHY do I have to do this OUTSIDE the schools?” – They were my dream classes in orchestra.
The district held me back. I am not happy though that only kids who could pay a community school fee got my expertise. The schools should unleash teachers and their talents and stop all the accountability nonsense. They can use those programs on teachers who have not done well and evaluate them…to help them. These programs stops teachers from planning – and wearies their day. It takes their attention away from planning and doing a good job. I am very against the focus on teachers as though THEY were the problem.
I home schooled, half-and-half, with my own children. They were too smart for the wasted time in the public school.
This doesn’t feel like the America I once knew. The time to speak up strongly has come for me. I am not holding back. I read a lot and study the issues, but I know the feelings I have I can always trust in the situations I encounter. I go by those…they don’t fail me.
By Susan Wilcox
The author of this wordpress site thanks Susan Wilcox for sharing her story.
The U.S. Dept. of Education now has “Communications Regions”. http://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/gen/regions.html
( FYI, regionalism and “Regional Equality” are tenets of the United Nations’ Agenda 21. –Because people are easier to control en masse than in smaller localities.)
So, I asked the Region 9 Education Service Center Public Information Officer, Debbie Cummings, to explain things to me. (Does her title not sound so Orwellian?)
I asked her how the U.S. Constitution works with the notion of regions, of U.S. states’ boundaries being less relevant, with the federal departments working with regions instead.
And Debbie Cummings dodged the actual question but answered a related issue that’s also important: ”…in regard to your concern regarding “federal and state powers having checks and balances” It is through the Governor’s Office and the Texas Education Agency that the state’s rights are reviewed for compatibility with federal priorities prior to the state making application for any federal funds. It is then through the Texas Education Agency that the use of these funds are tracked to ensure adherence to both the federal and state priorities and requirements. However, if the priorities do not reflect a state’s priorities, then the State is not obligated to apply for the federal funds.
[So, states won't be funded, even though they paid taxes federally.
They may not have access to their own tax money for their own schools,
if their priorities don't match federal priorities?]
Cummings taught me something I didn’t know: “Many times they carry a different title from state to state, i.e., in New York they are called BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services); whereas in Texas, they have been named by the legislature as Regional Education Service Centers.” Ok. Harder to see the federal uniformity when states name their federal, regional education headquarters differently, I suppose.
So, I asked a Texas friend, Donna Garner, what she thought of all of this.
Donna Garner said, “The lawyers who set up the TESCCC (who own CSCOPE) knew full well what the laws are regarding the Education Service Centers (ESC), and they deliberately set up this corporation to get around the laws. They think they have figured out a way to make CSCOPE untouchable, but we are working with Texas Legislators to figure out some bills that will counteract the TESCCC. ”
“The ESC’s were not set up to become marketing mouthpieces for CSCOPE curriculum. It was never the intent of the Texas Legislature that set up the ESC’s to make them into money-making organizations that suck money from local taxpayers. We already pay school taxes to our local districts; we do not need to be paying extra dollars far-and-above those local taxes to help ESC’s make huge profits! Notice the ESC buildings around the state. The one locally has turned into a state-of-the-art, huge complex; and within those walls is where the CSCOPE marketing and training is being conducted locally. What a huge waste of our tax dollars!”
“Just yesterday on the Jason Moore talk show in Odessa, a current classroom teacher called in and said what a total waste of time the CSCOPE training is at the ESC. She said that the ESC staffers have little subject content knowledge and that the teachers who attend know so much more than the ESC staffers do.”
“Because the new TEKS curriculum standards (adopted since May 2008) are grade-level-specific for every grade level and for every core course (ELAR, Science, Social Studies, and Math), there is no need for the ESC’s to hire numerous staffers to train teachers. The teachers now know what is to be taught, and it is their purview to decide how to teach it. Even teachers in small school districts can get together with the teachers in the districts around them and share great teaching ideas of how to teach the TEKS. Why should those teachers go to the ESC’s when once they get there, they hardly ever come back with any practical ideas that can be used in their classrooms?”
“Next, the Race to the Top grants now coming from the USDOE go directly to the school districts and the ESC entities; those grants are not dispersed through the TEA. The funds go directly to the school districts/ESC’s if they are chosen in the final round of federal RTTT grants.”
How do I interpret these things? I think corporations and federal entitites should stay out of education, just the way the U.S. Constitution set it up.
U.S. Dept. of Education Arne Duncan
It looks to me like the corporations that make money from Common Core, and the federal Secretary who wants Common Core to be the national uniform, are chasing after Texas. It’s a control problem.
I remember seeing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaking on a t.v. show way back when Texas rejected Common Core. He belittled the state’s education system and said that he felt so sorry for the children there, who would not be getting to learn the Common Core. Oh, yes he did.
And Texas’ Robert Scott called Secretary Duncan out for it: http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2011/08/robert-scott-fi.html/
The supposedly non-federal program, the supposedly state-led initiative of Common Core, when rejected by Texas, angered the U.S. Secretary of Education. Hmmm. So he decided that if the state (that is, Governor Rick Perry and Superintendent Robert Scott) were to reject Common Core, he would push it another way– he then started offering Race To The Top funds directly to school districts, bypassing the state completely. And of course, you can’t have Race to the Top funding unless you agree to Common Core. That’s how it works.
The elite D.C. educrats and corporations want their way, and they push and push and push. We must keep pushing back.
The most thorough explanation of the Delphi Technique I’ve ever seen– a six part video series from Beverly Eakman.
I was just reading the above-linked article about how CSCOPE is getting rich replacing Texas textbooks with an online system that parents cannot view and the board of education will not need to approve. Important article.
But my point here is something completely different:
A quote in the article was from Education Service Center Region 9 Executive Director Anne Poplin.
What?? Region 9?
Part of the U.N.’s Agenda 21 goal to overcome American exceptionalism and sovereignty is to have regions replace states. It’s a subtle and effective way to subvert the Constitution’s careful separation of states’ powers and federal powers.
I had not yet seen it up close until today.
Yes, the Department of Education has divided our country into ten regions.
Utah’s in Region 8.
They are called “Communication Regions” in Fedspeak.
Is anybody out there paying attention?
Rosa Koire, author of “Behind the Green Mask” and a very smart democrat, a guest on the Glenn Beck show, talks about the education reforms that are part of Agenda 21.
Tony Bennett –dethroned by Indiana voters against Common Core
Glenda Ritz – Newly elected Indiana Superintendent
Not only did Glenna Jehl beat incumbent John Peirce and not only did Tony Bennett get pushed out of his seat as Indiana Superintendent (and CCSSO member) –but also, in fact, Common Core was apparently the reason.
An Indiana friend writes:
“Those who are interested in the role that the Common Core played in Superintendent Tony Bennett’s upset in Indiana, should also take note of a school board race in Fort Wayne Indiana. Glenah Jehl ran on an anti-Common Core platform for the School Board of the Fort Wayne Community Schools. I believe I’ve heard that this is the second largest public school district in Indiana. She trounced her opponent, whom she unseated, 62 to 38%!
Her literature promoted local control and said the following under that heading of Local Control: Empower parents and students with choices and options * Recognize education begins at home* Resist ineffective federal initiatives like “No Child Left Behind” and the new “Common Core Standards.” Under the heading Academic Excellence she has the following: Emphasize quality education focused on child centered learning; not teach to The Test! * Recruit and keep superb teachers* Perpare our children to compete globally and succeed in the future by setting high standards, utilizing the best curriculum, and providing them with the latest technology.”
Hats off to Indiana freedom fighters!
If Obama wins another term as president, you can expect to see the tightening of control over education via Common Core, national tracking of students, and more anti-American ideas being promoted across the country and especially in schools, because of the influence of the Gates Foundation, UNESCO, and others.
Mitt Romney wants to turn back the trend of socializing, nationalizing education. If you are able to donate some time to Mitt’s campaign, they need serious amounts of volunteers. There are a few call centers below and you can also make calls from home. Please get involved.
I received this email today and will post the rest for those willing to help Romney get elected.
A Utah friend writes:
“I just talked to a Romney campaign staffer at the Orem call center who said he was very disappointed in the turnout of volunteers for Governor Romney. In a state where Romney may get 80 percent of the vote, far too many people are apathetic. They don’t think they can make a difference. NOT TRUE!! These call centers are targeting voters in swing states such as Nevada, Colorado, and Ohio. Utah volunteers are desperately needed in a very tight election.”
This election could prove to be a cliff-hanger. One prognosticator last night suggested that Romney might win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College. In other words, states like Nevada, Colorado, and Ohio could make all the difference. And if you imagine that, living in Utah or Idaho or some other safe Romney zone, you can’t have any impact on the races there, you’re absolutely wrong.
Monetary donations, even small ones, can still make a difference. Unless I’m mistaken, Barack Obama substantially outraised Mitt Romney last month, for the first time in quite a while. What a pity it will be if, having come this far, we falter at the end and fail by a hair’s breadth.
This is the time for the final push in the race, the final burst of energy that guarantees the victory. Or the fatal loss of will that turns triumph into failure.
You can also volunteer to make phone calls. The ground game is everything at this point. The candidate who gets his voters out will win the vital contested states and take the presidency for the next four years.
Romney Call Centers in Utah, open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
If you would prefer to call from home, please click on this link to find out how you can set up your phone and computer. It will, I think, work from anywhere in the country. So you non-Utahns shouldn’t feel that you’re off the hook! You’re needed, too!
Staff Contact, Colton Miles: email@example.com
Address: 1120 S 1350 W
Orem, UT 84058
(It’s just over on the west side of the freeway, not far from the University Parkway exit, more or less opposite UVU.)
47 East 7200 South
Midvale, UT 84047
1451 North 200 East, Ste. 190-B
Logan, UT 84341
St. George Office:
134 North 200 East, Ste. 202
St. George, UT 84770
There are as many ways to homeschool as there are recipes for bread.
People keep asking me what curriculum I’m using, now that I’ve started to homeschool. There are way more resources and ideas than time!
For those who doubt their abilities but want to homeschool I would say to trust yourself. Freed from the governmental schools’ mandates that force teachers to spend precious academic time teaching programs like the anti-bullying, anti-drug awareness, going to assemblies and events that may or may not be a wise academic use of time, you will have so much time to teach that you can hardly avoid doing a great job. You are doing a one one one, customized education and you know your child better than anyone.
Research shows that even parents with low education levels turn out students with better educations than their public school counterparts. This is probably a combination of the customization of that child’s learning, the one-on-one tutoring, the attention, the bond, the love. http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/himmelstrands-speech-to-swedish-parliament-let-families-be-secure/
Here comes a list of homeschooling directions I’ve taken that are working, as I’ve gone from after-school supplementing (for the past two months) to fulltime homeschooling for my fourth grade son.
(Some people like free resources from government school systems, but I don’t trust them. I would not take a “free” curriculum from the government schools, personally, because much of it will tend toward “progressive” thinking and “sustainable” education, which is “progressing” learners away from the Constitutional, godly, independent vision of our Founding Fathers. I use time-tested classic, traditional methods. Not trendy “new” reforms no matter how good they sound; I sense that they cheat students of old-fashioned excellence and solid formulas and knowledge. Also, keep in mind that if you don’t want your child’s abilities and personal information tracked, you don’t want to be in online state systems that track the kids via SLDS and P-20 alliances.)
1. MATH: Using the free placement test on the Saxon math site, I tested my son and then purchased a used copy of a Saxon text book from Amazon. Love it. He’s soaring fast. http://www.learningthings.com/samples/SAX/SAX_Middle-Grades-Math.pdf
2. HISTORY AND SCIENCE Using the Core Knowledge Colorado website (not to be confused with Common Core!) I have found wonderful worksheets on, for example, the circulatory system, the respiratory system, American history, etc. This goes along with the book “What Your Fourth Grader Needs To Know” -which we read from as well, almost every day. http://www.ckcolorado.org/lessons/4thgrade.asp I also enjoy http://www.weatherwizkids.com/ for science, where children can learn what things are and then create easy experiments.
3. GEOGRAPHY I’m using the CIA World Fact Book to have my son look up facts about countries. I asked him to draw South America and label each country and capital, for example. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ar.html
4. SCRIPTURES We read scriptures every day. Sometimes, we watch the scripture stories on the computer http://www.lds.org/media-library/video/new-testament-storiesor read from Picture The Scriptures http://picturethescriptures.blogspot.com/. Most days, we write a verse in cursive right after we read, to practice our cursive writing.
5. SOCIAL STUDIES After we learned about the main handful of mountain ranges in the world, we decided to start to study one area at a time. We learned that Machu Picchu is in the Andes, and then we watched the National Geographic special (4 part) about Machu Picchu. He was fascinated.
6. SWEDISH Because we’re a bilingual family, I’m using Swedish fairy tales, Swedish Astrid Lindgren books, and making little vocabulary worksheets for my son, as well as having him practice his cursive in Swedish when we do cursive.
I also love the Swedish YouTube videos, and would recommend Karlsson på Taket, Nicke Nyfiken, Alfons Åberg, Anke och Pytte, Hopphatten, Draktränaren, Ronja Rövardotter, etc. Sample:
7. CULTURE A friend just introduced me to these sites and I will try them this week: http://www.zionvision.com/movies/ziontube/category/classification/presentation/ and http://josephsmithacademy.org/inspira/maps/v2/#zoom=3&markerid=null&geocode=null&type=null
8. GRAMMAR AND WRITING: We write essays. Complete sentences, a full page– or very close to it. We also do short mini-lessons to review everything from where commas go, to what a semicolon is, to parts of speech games (“I say ‘noodle’ and you say ‘noun’. I say ‘tall’ and you say ‘adjective’”), to diagramming sentences, learning subject-verb agreement, learning 1st 2nd 3rd person, etc. I keep these short but do them often. I also like http://www.folger.edu/template.cfm?cid=588 –And I use the UVU curriculum that I used when I taught remedial English. I also use schoolhouse rock YouTube videos to make it fun:
9. TECHNOLOGY I have my son make powerpoint presentations with sentences and pictures. He did one on zombies, one on Legos, one on Disney. He chooses the topic so far. I plan to have him do one on a patriot, a prophet, a hero, an explorer or an inventor later.
10. FIELD TRIPS We do field trips and virtual field trips. We study outdoors, in the car on the way to the park, at the park, at the kitchen table, on the living room couch. We begin by 9:00 and end by 2:00, usually. We are flexible. We go the extra mile. When the 2 year old is being difficult and trying to sit on the math book, we move homeschool to the bathroom. We study on stools next to the bathtub while the 2 year old plays in the tub for an hour or two. It works!
This week, we’re going to Brigham Young University’s free chemistry “magic show” for one field trip, and to the Museum of Art for another. We also went to play basketball at the recreation center this week. When we drive, we talk. We don’t let the radio take over. We might practice multiplication tables while we drive, or discuss interesting things and learn/teach that way. I might tell him the plot of a great novel he’s too young to read. I might tell him what it was like to do all the different jobs I’ve ever worked. I might tell him genealogy stories about his ancestors. I might tell him stories about World War II or the Revolutionary War or what the differences are between Obama and Romney. We communicate nonstop. We really don’t waste any time.
A few virtual field trips we enjoyed this week: http://www.areavibes.com/library/online-field-trips-for-students/
Remember– prayer, parental instinct and a sense of joy about learning with a determination to achieve great things are the real key. –Not a certain curriculum. Not a common core.
An Opinion Editorial in an Indiana newspaper, the Journal Gazette, written by a candidate for school board, points out a dangerously little-known fact: while Obama’s touting his ”Education reform in 46 states” as one of his accomplishments, people haven’t yet realized Obama is referring to the Common Core…”
Thank you, Journal Gazette and Glenna Jehl.
I would add that another thing almost nobody’s put together yet is that any time that Obama –or any of the elite educrats, including local Utahns– use the term “college- and career-readiness” they are using a code phrase that means COMMON CORE. It’s defined on the U.S. government’s own online definitions page. They are deliberately confusing people. They don’t want you to know what they have done.
Obama takes credit for this supposedly grass-roots, state-led program of Common Core.
But it’s anything but grass-roots and state-led. It was promoted with Bill Gates’ money. It was further incentivized by Obama’s Dept. of Education money. It was marketed by nongovernmental groups that we didn’t elect and can’t fire– CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) and NGA (National Governors’ Association) which are just clubs, not governmental agencies or parentally influenced organizations.
CCSSO/NGA then copyrighted the standards.
And then the Obama Administration put a 15% cap on ever changing any of it. Just read your state’s waiver from No Child Left Behind. Or read your state’s application for Race to the Top.
Fifteen Percent more. That’s it. (No learning too much, now. Slow down, Sonny. No learning too fast, now. We can’t have innovation or self-determination or actual excellence or people exceeding the nationalized speed limit on education. That would not be in the spirit of the new Obama communism at all.)
Where is the liberty in Common Core?!
–Why are good people so opposed to the nationalized takeover of medical care, but so few are shouting about the nationalized takeover of education? We are talking about our children. It matters more than anything what our children’s futures will be. Will their futures offer them lives of liberty or lives of governmental control via the new SLDS and P-20 tracking and control systems built “for education reform”? Will they be lives of indoctrination, now that the Common Core mandates informational text replace classic literature increasingly by age and grade?
Common Core is absolutely socialism. It is absolutely communism. It lacks any vestige of local control– we can’t amend the standards. We had no voice in writing them. There is no process for states changing them. Only the elites may do so. NGA, CCSSO.
It drives me nuts when I go to my local “meet the candidates” night and nobody on the panel has done any homework at all. They say ignorant things like “Common Core is just minimum standards.” Oh really? Ever heard of the 15% cap? Ever heard of moving Algebra I backwards, from 8th grade to 9th, so that kids are learning it at least a whole year later than they used to learn it?
Why do people keep using that passed-down, now-cliched word “rigorous standards” in the face of reality? Rigorous ain’t common core.
Anyone who’s actually studied the standards realizes that although in a few small areas, Common Core is more challenging, that is a drop in the bucket– Common Core is dumbing our students down via fuzzy math, less literature, no cursive, and who knows what kind of science and history they are cooking up? So far we’ve only seen the math and English. I can only imagine– I can only imagine how anti-God, anti-American, pro-Green, pro-Sustainable Education this science and math will be.
So, here’s the article that got me on my soapbox again today. From Indiana; read on:
(Published yesterday, October 18, 2012)
State must reject federal takeover of schools
…When President Obama touts “education reform in 46 states” as one of his accomplishments, most people haven’t yet realized that Obama is referring to the new Common Core State Standards being implemented nationwide, including in Indiana.
Surprisingly, Gov. Mitch Daniels and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett helped wheel this Trojan horse into our midst.
Originally, Common Core was supposed to raise academic standards and make what is taught in each grade level more uniform. Unfortunately, the special interests in Washington, D.C., could not resist a huge power grab. Funding incentives like the Race to the Top grants, which requires the adoption of the Common Core Standards in order to receive the funds, lead to school corporations like FWCS and states scrambling for the additional money and willingly embracing the new requirements.
Unfortunately, they never took time to consider what sort of standards they agreed to adopt; no longer in a Race to the Top and higher standards, we are in a race to mediocrity. We are voluntarily relinquishing Indiana’s superior, acclaimed standards for those that are inferior to our current standards in math and language arts.
Under Common Core, by the end of eighth grade students will be two years behind their international counterparts in math. High school graduates will achieve only a seventh-grade reading level. These are hardly rigorous standards, leaving our students less prepared to compete in the 21st century.
When states are done implementing this new, unproven, copyrighted program which includes curriculum, tests, and teacher training from which they may not deviate, they will have lost every last vestige of local control. Common Core districts must use their curriculum, their assessments and their state tests. Even the SAT may become aligned with Common Core… homeschoolers and private schools will be affected, especially if they want accreditation or to accept vouchers.
Imagine the power the federal government will wield when it controls the content and perspective that will be taught to every student nationwide K-12. With virtually no public debate, Obama has quietly engineered the federal takeover of the education system nationwide.
Recognizing the dangers of this overhaul of education, Mitt Romney states his opposition to Common Core as follows: “To financially reward states based on accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum is a mistake. … There may be a time when the federal government has an agenda it wants to promote.”
Are we going to place our children’s futures in the hands of Washington bureaucrats?
…we must join the four states that have already rejected it. Our next governor and state legislature must understand that Indiana needs to opt out of Common Core. That is the only way states, local school boards, and parents will retain the ability to choose the curriculum and the standards for the education of the students in their community.
Hoosiers must take a stand now for academic excellence and educational freedom for the sake of our children, before Common Core is fully implemented.
The “Restore Oklahoma Public Education” research team has done it again.
Read this tremendously detailed explanation of how the federal government is robbing United States citizens of their privacy, using schools as data collection vehicles and redefining even nonacademic student data collection (blood type, nickname, mental health) a federal entitlement.
For those who still believe Common Core is “rigorous” and good for kids, here is a must-read from Jay Mathews and the Washington Post.
Fiction vs. nonfiction smackdown
By Jay Mathews, Published: October 17
There is no more troubling fact about U.S. education than this: The reading scores of 17-year-olds have shown no significant improvement since 1980.
The new Common Core State Standards in 46 states and the District are designed to solve that problem. Among other things, students are being asked to read more nonfiction, considered by many experts to be the key to success in college or the workplace.
The Common Core standards are one of our hottest trends. Virginia declined to participate but was ignored in the rush of good feeling about the new reform. Now, the period of happy news conferences is over, and teachers have to make big changes. That never goes well. Expect battles, particularly in this educationally hypersensitive region.
Teaching more nonfiction will be a key issue. Many English teachers don’t think it will do any good. Even if it were a good idea, they say, those who have to make the change have not had enough training to succeed — an old story in school reform.
The clash of views is well described by two prominent scholars for the Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based public policy group, in a new paper. Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas and Mark Bauerlein of Emory University say the reformers who wrote the Common Core standards have no data to support their argument that kids have been hurt by reading too much fiction. They say analyzing great literature would give students all the critical thinking skills they need. The problem, they say, is not the lack of nonfiction but the dumbed-down fiction that has been assigned in recent decades.
“Problems in college readiness stem from an incoherent, less-challenging literature curriculum from the 1960s onward,” Bauerlein and Stotsky say. “Until that time, a literature-heavy English curriculum was understood as precisely the kind of pre-college training students needed.”
The standards were inspired, in part, by a movement to improve children’s reading abilities by replacing standard elementary school pabulum with a rich diet of history, geography, science and the arts. University of Virginia scholar E.D. Hirsch Jr. has written several books on this. He established the Core Knowledge Foundation in Charlottesville to support schools that want their third-graders studying ancient Rome and their fourth-graders listening to Handel.
Robert Pondiscio, a former fifth-grade teacher who is vice president of the foundation, quotes a key part of the Common Core standards making this case:
“By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas. Students can only gain this foundation when the curriculum is intentionally and coherently structured to develop rich content knowledge within and across grades.”
The Common Core guidelines recommend fourth-graders get an equal amount of fiction and nonfiction. Eighth-grade reading should be about 55 percent nonfiction, going to a recommended 70 percent by 12th grade.
Bauerlein and Stotsky say that could hurt college readiness. The new standards and associated tests, they say, will make “English teachers responsible for informational reading instruction, something they have not been trained for, and will not be trained for unless the entire undergraduate English major as well as preparatory programs in English education in education schools are changed.”
Pondiscio says he admires Bauerlein and Stotsky and doesn’t see why English classes have to carry the nonfiction weight. Social studies and science courses can do that. The real battle, he says, will be in the elementary schools, where lesson plans have failed to provide the vocabulary, background knowledge and context that make good readers.
Those who want the new standards say learning to read is more than just acquiring a skill, like bike riding. It is absorbing an entire world. That is what the fight in your local district will be about.
http://www.latterdayconservative.com/quotes/ezra-taft-benson/ (full list of quotes here)
Thanks to the latterdayconservative.com site for putting together these quotes from Ezra Taft Benson:
Ezra Taft Benson
Quotes on Freedom, America, Constitution, Liberty, Etc…
As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. President Joseph F. Smith referred to false educational ideas as one of the three threatening dangers among our Church members. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children; and if they have become alert and informed as President McKay admonished us last year, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Karl Marx, John Keynes, and others.
Today there are much worse things that can happen to a child than not getting a full college education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality.
Said Karl G. Maeser, “I would rather have my child exposed to smallpox, typhus fever, cholera, or other malignant and deadly diseases than to the degrading influence of a corrupt teacher. It is infinitely better to take chances with an ignorant, but pure-minded teacher than with the greatest philosopher who is impure.”
Vocational education, correspondence courses, establishment in a family business are being considered for their children by an increasing number of parents.
On what basis can we morally resist tyranny?
I say to you with all the fervor of my soul that God intended men to be free. Rebellion against tyranny is a righteous cause. It is an enormous evil for any man to be enslaved to any system contrary to his own will. For that reason men, 200 years ago, pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.
No nation which has kept the commandments of God has ever perished, but I say to you that once freedom is lost, only blood – human blood – will win it back.
If we do not accept the existence of a Supreme Being; that God is the source of moral law, what more do we have to offer than Marx?…
Freedom is an eternal, God-given principle. There is no genuine happiness without freedom, nor is there any security or peace without freedom. After traveling in practically all of the free countries of the world and several times behind the Iron Curtain, I say that Marxism is the greatest evil in this world and the greatest threat to all we hold dear.
Of all sad things in the world, the saddest is to see a people who have once known liberty and freedom and then lost it. I have seen the unquenchable yearning of the human heart for liberty on two unforgettable occasions. These experiences are indelibly etched on the memory of my soul.
And if the time should come when you are associated with groups that take delight in tearing down our American way of life, then they seem to enjoy pointing out the weaknesses of our free enterprise system – and it has weaknesses; it has weaknesses because it’s operated by men and women who are full of weaknesses – but when those times come, when our system is criticized, just keep in mind the fruits of the system, the great blessings that have come to us because of our American way of life. No group of people have ever attained the standard of living which is ours. And so let’s become acquainted with what has been accomplished. It’s all right to criticize; it’s all right to try and improve our American way of life; but in doing so, 1et’s not surrender, let’s not give up, let’s not jeopardize that system which has made America great.
It’s a great blessing to live in America. It’s a great blessing to have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms which are ours today. I have seen people, thousands of them, who have lost the freedom which is ours, where they can no longer meet, as we meet here this morning, and express themselves as they see fit, where they no longer have freedom of movement, freedom to select their own jobs, their own educational opportunities, freedom to speak their minds, to write what they wish – freedom of enterprise. In many parts of the world today these rich blessings of freedom no longer exist.
I don’t know how you feel, my brethren and sisters, but I’d rather be dead than to lose my liberty. I have no fear we’ll ever lose it because of invasion from the outside. But I do have fear that it may slip away from us because of our own indifference, our own negligence, as citizens of this land. And so I plead with you this morning that you take an active interest in matters pertaining to the future of this country.
Occasionally, we receive questions as to the propriety of Church members receiving government assistance instead of Church assistance. Let me restate what is a fundamental principle. Individuals, to the extent possible, should provide for their own needs. Where the individual is unable to care for himself, his family should assist. Where the family is not able to provide, the Church should render assistance, not the government.
Do not rationalize your acceptance of government gratuities by saying, “I am a contributing taxpayer too.” By doing this you contribute to the problem which is leading this nation to financial insolvency.
I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:14–16; D&C 84:49–53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. (See Ether 8:18–25.)
I testify that America is a choice land. (See 2 Nephi 1:5.) God raised up the founding fathers of the United States of America and established the inspired Constitution. (See D&C 101:77–80.) This was the required prologue for the restoration of the gospel. (See 3 Nephi 21:4.) America will be a blessed land unto the righteous forever, and is the base from which God will continue to direct the worldwide latter-day operations of His kingdom. (See 2 Nephi 1:7.)
On September 17, 1987, we commemorate the two-hundredth birthday of the signing of the United States Constitution. The group of inspired men assembled for that convention produced the document that the Prophet Joseph Smith referred to as “a glorious standard” and “a heavenly banner” [TPJS 147].
In commemoration of this important event, we are providing this booklet, which contains three family home evening lessons, activity ideas, and a copy of the Constitution. We encourage you to prepare and teach each lesson prayerfully so that family members may feel the divine significance of the Constitution in their minds and hearts. Faithfully, your brethren, The First Presidency.
How then can we best befriend the Constitution in this critical hour and secure the blessings of liberty and ensure the protection and guidance of our Father in Heaven?
First and foremost, we must be righteous. . . .
Two great American Christian civilizations — the Jaredites and the Nephites — were swept off this land because they did not “serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” (Ether 2:12). What will become of our civilization?
Second, We must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.
Have we read the Federalist papers? Are we reading the Constitution and pondering it? Are we aware of its principles? Are we abiding by these principles and teaching them to others? Could we defend the Constitution? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? Do we know what the prophets have said about the Constitution and the threats to it? . . .
We, the blessed beneficiaries of the Constitution, face difficult days in America, “a land which is choice above all other lands” (Ether 2:10).
May God give us the faith and the courage exhibited by those patriots who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
May we be equally as valiant and as free.
The United States Constitution has been in existence longer than any written constitution in history. It has been a blessing, not only to our land, but to the world as well. Many nations have wisely adopted concepts and provisions of our Constitution, just as was prophesied (D&C 101:77).
The restoration of the gospel and the establishment of the Lord’s Church could not come to pass until the Founding Fathers were raised up and completed their foreordained missions. Those great souls who were responsible for the freedoms we enjoy acknowledged the guiding hand of Providence. For their efforts we are indebted, but we are even more indebted to our Father in Heaven and to His Son, Jesus Christ. How fortunate we are to live when the blessings of liberty and the gospel of Jesus Christ are both available to us.
May we be worthy of the freedoms that have been provided us in our Constitution, and equal to the trials and tests that shall surely come. We truly have special and individual responsibilities to befriend and to defend that “glorious standard,” our Constitution.
Our Heavenly Father raised up the men who founded this government (see D&C 101:80), thereby fulfilling the prophecy of His Beloved Son that the people “should be established in this land and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father” (3 Nephi 21:4).
We encourage Latter-day Saints throughout the nation to familiarize themselves with the Constitution. They should focus attention on it by reading and studying it. They should ponder the blessings that come through it. They should recommit themselves to its principles and be prepared to defend it and the freedom it provides. (D&C 109:54.) . . .
Because some Americans have not kept faith with our Founding Fathers, the Constitution faces severe challenges. Those who do not prize individual freedom are trying to erode its great principles. We believe the Constitution will stand, but it will take the efforts of patriotic and dedicated Americans to uphold it. . . . We, as Latter-day Saints, must be vigilant in doing our part to preserve the Constitution and safeguard the way of life it makes possible.
This bicentennial year affords us renewed opportunities to learn more about this divinely inspired charter of our liberty, to speak in its defense, and to preserve and protect it against evil or destruction.
I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land [D&C 101:76–80]. I testify that the God of Heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has sent other choice spirits — even you who read my words — to preserve it.
Will we be prepared? Will we be among those who will “bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction?” If we desire to be numbered among those who will, here are some things we must do:
1. We must be righteous and moral. We must live the gospel principles—all of them. We have no right to expect a higher degree of morality from those who represent us than what we ourselves are. In the final analysis, people generally get the kind of government they deserve. To live a higher law means we will not seek to receive what we have not earned by our own labor. It means we will remember that government owes us nothing. It means we will keep the laws of the land. It means we will look to God as our Lawgiver and the Source of our liberty.
2. We must learn the principles of the Constitution and then abide by its precepts. We have been instructed again and again to reflect more intently on the meaning and importance of the Constitution and to adhere to its principles. What have we done about this instruction? Have we read the Constitution and pondered it? Are we aware of its principles? Could we defend it? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? The Church will not tell us how to do this, but we are admonished to do it. I quote Abraham Lincoln: “Let [the Constitution] be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges, let it be written in primers, in spelling books and in almanacs, let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.”
3. We must become involved in civic affairs. As citizens of this republic, we cannot do our duty and be idle spectators. It is vital that we follow this counsel from the Lord: “I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God” (D&C 98:8–11).
Note the qualities that the Lord demands in those who are to represent us. They must be good, wise, and honest. Some leaders may be honest and good but unwise in legislation they choose to support. Others may possess wisdom but be dishonest and unvirtuous. We must be concerted in our desires and efforts to see men and women represent us who possess all three of these qualities.
4. We must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, and our advice. We must be wisely informed and let others know how we feel. We must take part in local precinct meetings and select delegates who will truly represent our feelings.
I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith. But it will not be saved in Washington. It will be saved by the citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church — men and women who will subscribe to and abide the principles of the Constitution.
To all who have discerning eyes, it is apparent that the republican form of government established by our noble forefathers cannot long endure once fundamental principles are abandoned. Momentum is gathering for another conflict — a repetition of the crisis of two hundred years ago. This collision of ideas is worldwide. Another monumental moment is soon to be born. The issue is the same that precipitated the great premortal conflict — will men be free to determine their own course of action or must they be coerced?
We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: “Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.” (July 19, 1840, Joseph Smith Collection, LDS Church Historical Department.)
It is now two hundred years since the Constitution was written. Have we been wise beneficiaries of the gift entrusted to us? Have we valued and protected the principles laid down by this great document?
At this bicentennial celebration we must, with sadness, say that we have not been wise in keeping the trust of our Founding Fathers. For the past two centuries, those who do not prize freedom have chipped away at every major clause of our Constitution until today we face a crisis of great dimensions.
In recognizing God as the source of their rights, the Founding Fathers declared Him to be the ultimate authority for their basis of law. This led them to the conviction that people do not make law but merely acknowledge preexisting law, giving it specific application. The Constitution was conceived to be such an expression of higher law. And when their work was done, James Madison wrote: “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution” (The Federalist, no. 37).
The Founding Fathers well understood human nature and its tendency to exercise unrighteous dominion when given authority [D&C 121:39–40]. A Constitution was therefore designed to limit government to certain enumerated functions, beyond which was tyranny.
In order to avoid a concentration of power in any one branch, the Founding Fathers created a system of government that provided checks and balances. Congress could pass laws, but the president could check these laws with a veto. Congress, however, could override the veto and, by its means of initiative in taxation, could further restrain the executive department. The Supreme Court could nullify laws passed by the Congress and signed by the president, but Congress could limit the court’s appellate jurisdiction. The president could appoint judges for their lifetime with the consent of the Senate.
The use of checks and balances was deliberately designed, first, to make it difficult for a minority of the people to control the government, and, second, to place restraint on the government itself.
The coming forth of the Constitution is of such transcendent importance in the Lord’s plan that ancient prophets foresaw this event and prophesied of it. In the dedicatory prayer for the Idaho Falls Temple, President George Albert Smith indicated that the Constitution fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Isaiah that “out of Zion shall go forth the law” (Isaiah 2:3).
George Washington referred to this document [the Constitution] as a miracle. This miracle could only have been performed by exceptional men.
History is not an accident. Events are foreknown to God. His superintending influence is behind the actions of his righteous children. Long before America was even discovered, the Lord was moving and shaping events that would lead to the coming forth of the remarkable form of government established by the Constitution. America had to be free and independent to fulfill this destiny.
The War that began in heaven is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments. . . .
. . . We must appreciate that we live in one of history’s most exceptional moments — in a nation and a time of unprecedented freedom. Freedom as we know it has been experienced by perhaps less than one percent of the human family.
On the 17th day of September 1987 we commemorate the two hundredth birthday of the Constitutional Convention which gave birth to the document that Gladstone said is “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”
I heartily endorse this assessment. . . .
We pay honor — honor to the document itself, honor to the men who framed it, and honor to the God who inspired it and made possible its coming forth. . . .
. . . God himself has borne witness to the fact that He is pleased with the final product of the work of these great patriots [our Founding Fathers].
Our Founding Fathers, with solemn and reverent expression, voiced their allegiance to the sovereignty of God, knowing that they were accountable to Him in the day of judgment. Are we less accountable today? I think not. I urge you to keep the commandments and to pray for our nation and its leaders.
The Founding Fathers understood the principle that “righteousness exalteth a nation” (Prov 14:34), and helped to bring about one of the greatest systems ever used to govern men. But unless we continue to seek righteousness and preserve the liberties entrusted to us, we shall lose the blessings of heaven. Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” The price of freedom is also to live in accordance with the commandments of God. The early Founding Fathers thanked the Lord for His intervention in their behalf. They saw His hand in their victories in battle and believed strongly that He watched over them.
The battles are not over yet, and there will yet be times when this great nation will need the overshadowing help of Deity. Will we as a nation be worthy to call upon Him for help?
The Founding Fathers had no problems seeing the hand of the Lord in the birth of the nation. George Washington gave direct credit to God for the victory over the British in the Revolutionary War. But that did not end the need for inspiration and divine help.
A constitution was drafted. And thirty-nine of fifty delegates signed it. I would ask: Why is it that the references to God’s influence in the noble efforts of the founders of our republic are not mentioned by modern historians?
The fact that our Founding Fathers looked to God for help and inspiration should not surprise us, for they were men of great faith. These men had been raised up specifically by the Lord so they could participate in the great political drama unfolding in America.
We must study and learn for ourselves the principles laid down in the Constitution which have preserved our freedoms for the last two hundred years. If we do not understand the role of government and how our rights are protected by the Constitution, we may accept programs or organizations that help erode our freedoms. An informed citizenry is the first line of defense against anarchy and tyranny.
Our Creator endowed each one of us with certain rights at birth, among which are the rights to life, liberty, speech, and conscience, to name a few. These are not just human rights; they are divine rights. When these rights are not permitted expression by a nation, that nation becomes inhibited in its progress and development, and its leaders are responsible before God for suffocating sacred rights.
This native endowment is what separates man from the animals. It causes men to want to be good and to seek higher aspirations. It creates in man a desire to better his life and his station in life.
Before the gospel could again shine forth its resplendent light, religious and political freedom first had to be restored. This land had been preserved as a continent apart from the religious oppression, tyranny, and intolerance of Europe. In time, emigrants came to the new land and established colonies. By and large, they were a God-fearing people. A war was fought for their independence, and by God’s intervention, victory was achieved (see 1 Nephi 13:16–19). By that same omnipotent power the Constitution was born (see D&C 101:80), which guaranteed religious and political liberty (see D&C 98:5–8). Only then was the time propitious for the kingdom of God — that “stone cut out without hands” — to be restored (see Dan 2:34).
Men who are wise, good, and honest, who will uphold the Constitution of the United States in the tradition of the Founding Fathers, must be sought for diligently. This is our hope to restore government to its rightful role.
I fully believe that we can turn things around in America if we have the determination, the morality, the patriotism, and the spirituality to do so. . . .
. . . I further witness that this land — the Americas — must be protected, its Constitution upheld, for this is a land foreordained to be the Zion of our God. He expects us as members of the Church and bearers of His priesthood to do all we can to preserve our liberty.
To serve God’s eternal purposes and to prepare this land for Zion, God “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up . . . and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (D&C 101:80).
The Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1789. The priesthood of God was restored in 1829. Between those two dates is an interval of forty years. It is my conviction that God, who knows the end from the beginning, provided that period of time so the new nation could grow in strength to protect the land of Zion.
You must keep your honor. You cannot yet speak officially for the country, but you can become informed. You can speak your mind. You may think you can do little about the national economy or the actions of our government and the moral weakness all about us, but we must all remember that the Lord has placed great responsibilities upon the elders of Israel in the preservation of our Constitution.
The Constitution of this land, with which we should all be familiar, is the only constitution in the world bearing the stamp of approval of the Lord Jesus Christ (D&C 101:76–80).
When I became President of the Twelve and Spencer W. Kimball became President of the Church, we met, just the two of us, every week after our Thursday meetings in the temple, just to be sure that things were properly coordinated between the Twelve and the First Presidency. After one of those first meetings, we talked about the many sacred documents in some of the older temples. St. George was mentioned in particular because St. George is our oldest temple in Utah. I had a stake conference down there about that time, and it was agreed that I would go into the archives — the walk-in vault — of that great temple and review the sacred documents that were there. We were planning for the remodeling and renovating of the St. George Temple and thought that the records might possibly be moved to Salt Lake for safekeeping. And there in the St. George Temple I saw what I had always hoped and prayed that someday I would see. Ever since I returned as a humble missionary and first learned that the Founding Fathers had appeared in that temple, I wanted to see the record. And I saw the record. They did appear to Wilford Woodruff twice and asked why the work hadn’t been done for them. They had founded this country and the Constitution of this land, and they had been true to those principles. Later the work was done for them.
In the archives of the temple, I saw in a book, in bold handwriting, the names of the Founding Fathers and others, including Columbus and other great Americans, for whom the work had been done in the house of the Lord. This is all one great program on both sides of the veil. We are fortunate to be engaged in it on this side of the veil. I think the Lord expects us to take an active part in preserving the Constitution and our freedom.
Learn about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and other basic documents of our great country so that you can sustain them and the free institutions set up under them. The greatest watchdog of our freedom is an informed electorate.
Our forefathers left us a free government which is a miracle of faith — strong, durable, marvelously workable. Yet it can remain so only as long as we understand it, believe in it, devote ourselves to it, and, when necessary, fight for it.
May we be wise — prayerfully wise — in the electing of those who would lead us. May we select only those who understand and will adhere to constitutional principles. To do so, we need to understand these principles ourselves. . . .
. . . We should understand the Constitution as the founders meant that it should be understood. We can do this by reading their words about it, such as those contained in the Federalist Papers. Such understanding is essential if we are to preserve what God has given us. . . .
. . . I testify that the God of heaven selected and sent some of his choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government as prologue to the restoration of the gospel and the second coming of our Savior.
The temple work for the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence and other Founding Fathers has been done. All these appeared to Wilford Woodruff when he was president of the St. George Temple. President George Washington was ordained a high priest at that time. You will also be interested to know that, according to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus were also ordained high priests at that time. When one casts doubt about the character of these noble sons of God, I believe he or she will have to answer to the God of heaven for it. Yes, with Lincoln, I say: “To add brightness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington is . . . impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name and in its naked deathless splendor, leave it shining on.”
If ever this country needed the timeless wisdom of the father of our country, it is today. How much our country could benefit by following the wisdom of our country’s first president. Here are a few among many maxims:
“Let the reins of government then be braced and held with a steady hand, and every violation of the constitution be reprehended. If defective, let it be amended, but not suffered to be trampled upon whilst it has an existence.” (To Henry Lee, October 31, 1786, Writings 29:34.)
“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” (First Annual Address, January 8, 1790, Writings 12:8.)
“. . . the love of my country will be the ruling influence of my conduct.” (Answer to the New Hampshire Executive, November 3, 1789, Writings 12:175.)
“. . . a good moral character is the first essential in a man. . . . It is therefore highly important, that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous.” (To George Steptoe Washington, December 5, 1790, Writings 10:123-24.)
“Let us unite, therefore, in imploring the Supreme Ruler of nations, to spread his holy protection over these United States; to turn the machinations of the wicked to confirming of our constitution; to enable us at all times to root out internal sedition, and put invasion to flight; to perpetuate to our country that prosperity, which his goodness has already conferred; and to verify the anticipation of this government being a safeguard to human rights.” (To the Senate and the House of Representatives, November 19, 1794, Writings 12:54.)
It would profit all of us as citizens to read again Washington’s Farewell Address to his countrymen. The address is prophetic. I believe it ranks alongside the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
My feelings about this tendency to discredit our Founding Fathers are well summarized by the late President J. Reuben Clark in these words: “These were the horse and buggy days as they have been called in derision; these were the men who traveled in the horsedrawn buggies and on horseback; but these were the men who carried under their hats, as they rode in the buggies and on their horses, a political wisdom garnered from the ages. As giants to pygmies are they when placed alongside our political emigres and their fellow travelers of today, who now traduce them with slighting word and contemptuous phrase.” (Stand Fast by Our Constitution, pp. 136-37.)
The charge [has been made] that the founders designed the Constitution primarily to benefit themselves and their class (property owners) financially, and that the economic motif was their dominant incentive. Such was the thesis of the American historian, Dr. Charles Beard. Yet Madison said: “There was never an assembly of men . . . who were more pure in their motives.” We must remember that these were men who had sacrificed in many cases their fortunes and their sacred honor.
Shortly after the turn of this century, Charles Beard published his work An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. This book marked the beginning of a trend to defame the motives and integrity of the founders of the Constitution. It also grossly distorted the real intent of the founders by suggesting their motivation was determined by economics—a thesis that had originated with Karl Marx. Beard himself was not a Marxist, but he was a socialist in his thinking, and he admitted there was much we could learn from Marx’s ideas. Before his death Beard recanted his own thesis, but the damage had been done. This began a new trend in educational and intellectual circles in the United States.
The Lord has also decreed that this land should be “the place of the new Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.” (Ether 13:3.) Here is our nation’s destiny! To serve God’s eternal purposes and to prepare this land and the people for America’s eventual destiny, He “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” (D&C 101:80.)
Tonight I will speak to you about our beloved republic and the inspired agents whom God raised up to establish the foundation upon which our liberty rests. . . . I speak to you as members of the “household of faith,” the Lord’s true church, and remind you of your solemn charge to uphold, sustain, and defend the kingdom of God.
The destiny of America was divinely decreed. The events that established our great nation were foreknown to God and revealed to prophets of old. As in an enacted drama, the players who came on the scene were rehearsed and selected for their parts. Their talent, abilities, capacities, and weaknesses were known before they were born.
As a means of emphasizing this during this Bicentennial year, we have prepared four Bicentennial family home evening lessons, which will be distributed to all Church members in the United States of America. We are asking fathers and mothers to teach the story of America to their children, to tell of its spiritual foundation, and to emphasize how that freedom can be preserved.
We urge people to support the Constitution of the United States and our free institutions set up under it.
It is a part of our faith that the Constitution of the United States was inspired by God. We reverence it akin to the revelations that have come from God. . . . We have no intention of trying to interfere with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of our members under and within our Constitution, which the Lord declared He established “by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 109:54).
It must be remembered that the founding fathers of this great nation were men imbued with these principles [the Ten Commandments]. There are those in the land whose faith it is that these were “wise men whom [God] raised up” for the purpose of establishing the Constitution of the United States. They recognized that there are two possible sources to the origin of our freedoms that we have come to know as human rights. Rights are either God-given as part of a divine plan or they are granted as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, and religious conviction and belief in the sovereignty of God led these men to accept the divine origin of these rights. To God’s glory and the credit of these men, our nation was uniquely born.
Before we go to our ailments and disorders, it is well to review the elements of our health and strength that we have acquired under our divinely inspired Constitution, the liberties it guarantees, and the free institution it sets up. . . .
No country has been more concerned with “due process” in its judicial system than ours. The protection of human rights, as granted by our Constitution and Bill of Rights, is not just theory. History will record that we bent over backward to protect the rights of the individual, sometimes even to a fault.
Thank God for the constitution. And may God bless the elders of Israel that when, as President John Taylor said, “The people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States, the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of earth and proclaiming liberty” (Journal of Discourses, 21:8).
It is good at all times to remember a few of the many gifts we have received from our Lord, Jesus Christ, and to think of what we in turn might give to him. . . .
. . . In addition to the gifts of the life of Christ, his prophet, his church, and the Book of Mormon is the gift of the Constitution. The Lord said, “I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up” (D&C 101:80). . . .
The elders of this church have a prophetic mission yet to perform so far as the Constitution is concerned. In a discourse by Joseph Smith on July 19, 1840, he said:
“Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.” (Joseph Smith Collection, LDS Church Historical Department)
Now, how are the elders going to prepare for that mission? How are they going to know what the Constitution is so they will know when it is on the brink of ruin? . . .
To the Lord, his prophets, and the founding fathers we must go to learn of this divine document so our efforts will be to preserve and not destroy the Constitution.
May we pledge anew that the divine principles embodied in the divinely inspired documents that govern our country be written on the tablets of our own hearts. I pray that our eyes might be single to the will of God, that we might thereby bless our families and our country and that we shall, with increased devotion, work for less government, more individual responsibility, and, with God’s help, a better world.
It is a part of my religious belief that America is a land choice above all others, that we are not just another of the family of nations, but that we have been singled out to perform a divine mission for liberty-loving people everywhere. Those who founded this republic were wise men raised up by our Father in heaven to perform that very task, and the Constitution of this land was inspired by God. We have a divine duty — even a destiny — to preserve that Constitution from destruction and hold it aloft to the world.
We honor these partners [friends outside the Church] because their devotion to correct principles overshadowed their devotion to popularity, party, or personalities.
We honor our founding fathers of this republic for the same reason. God raised up these patriotic partners to perform their mission, and he called them “wise men.” (see D&C 101:80.) The First Presidency acknowledged that wisdom when they gave us the guideline a few years ago of supporting political candidates “who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our Founding Fathers.” (Deseret News, November 2, 1964.) . . .
Our wise founders seemed to understand, better than most of us, our own scripture, which states that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority . . . they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:39.)
To help prevent this, the founders knew that our elected leaders should be bound by certain fixed principles. Said Thomas Jefferson: “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
These wise founders, our patriotic partners, seemed to appreciate more than most of us the blessings of the boundaries that the Lord set within the Constitution, for he said, “And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:7.)
In God the founders trusted, and in his Constitution — not in the arm of flesh. “O Lord,” said Nephi, “I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; . . . cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.” (2 Nephi 4:34.)
I support the doctrine of separation of church and state as traditionally interpreted to prohibit the establishment of an official national religion. But this does not mean that we should divorce government from any formal recognition of God. To do so strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations — a throwback to the feudal system of the Dark Ages.
With independence won, another body of men assembled; and under the inspiration of heaven, they too drafted a document, probably the greatest instrument ever struck off at a given time by the mind of man: the Constitution of the United States.
It is my conviction that the Constitution of the United States was established by the hands of wise men whom the Lord raised up unto this very purpose.
The Lord expects us to safeguard this sacred and inspired document for the blessing of all of us and our posterity. If we fail so to do we will not only lose our priceless freedom but jeopardize the cause of truth throughout the entire world.
Do we dare ask ourselves if the United States, though cast in the role of a leader to preserve and strengthen world civilization, isn’t itself tottering internally because too many of its citizens have abandoned the virtues that comprised the basic format of its own civilization? For instance, if spiritual faith, courage, and the willingness of our forbears to work hard were the sustaining virtues, and if, solely because of them, they were able to create our own civilization, can we now in the United States substitute for these virtues the human weaknesses of selfishness, complacency, apathy, and fear — and still hope to survive as a civilized nation?
I believe that God has endowed men with certain inalienable rights as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and that no legislature and no majority, however great, may morally limit or destroy these; that the sole function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property, and anything more than this is usurpation and oppression.
I believe that the Constitution of the United States was prepared and adopted by men acting under inspiration from Almighty God; that it is a solemn compact between the peoples of the states of this nation that all officers of government are under duty to obey; that the eternal moral laws expressed therein must be adhered to or individual liberty will perish. . . .
I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the federal government to deny the people their right to bear arms, to worship, and to pray when and where they choose, or to own and control private property.
Another standard I use in determining what law is good and what is bad is the Constitution of the United States. I regard this inspired document as a solemn agreement between the citizens of this nation which every officer of government is under a sacred duty to obey.
For years we have heard of the role the elders could play in saving the Constitution from total destruction. But how can the elders be expected to save it if they have not studied it and are not sure if it is being destroyed or what is destroying it?
An informed patriotic gentile was dumbfounded when he heard of Joseph Smith’s reported prophecy regarding the mission our elders could perform in saving the Constitution. He lived in a Mormon community with nice people who were busily engaged in other activities but who had little concern in preserving their freedom. He wondered if maybe a letter should not be sent to President McKay, urging him to release some of the elders from their present Church activities so there would be a few who could help step forward to save the Constitution.
Now it is not so much a case of a man giving up all his other duties to fight for freedom, as it is a case of a man getting his life in balance so he can discharge all of his God-given responsibilities. And of all these responsibilities President McKay has said that we have “no greater immediate responsibility” than “to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.”
There is no excuse that can compensate for the loss of liberty.
Satan is anxious to neutralize the inspired counsel of the Prophet and hence keep the priesthood off balance, ineffective and inert in the fight for freedom. He does this through diverse means, including the use of perverse reasoning. . . .
The cause of freedom is a most basic part of our religion. Our position on freedom helped get us to this earth and it can make the difference as to whether we get back home or not. . . .
Now part of the reason why we do not have sufficient Priesthood bearers to save the Constitution, let alone to shake the powers of hell, is, I fear, because unlike Moroni, our souls do not joy in keeping our country free and we are not firm in the faith of Christ, nor have we sworn with an oath to defend our rights.
Jefferson warned that we should not talk about confidence in men but that we should inhibit their power through the Constitution. [Thomas Jefferson, Draft of Kentucky Resolutions of 1798; Works 9:470-71.]
The question as to whether we may save our constitutional republic is simply based on two factors: the number of patriots and the extent of their obedience.
That the Lord desires to save this nation which he raised up there is no doubt. But that he leaves it up to us, with his help, is the awful reality.
About two hundred years ago some inspired men walked this land. Not perfect men, but men raised up by the Perfect Man to perform a great work. Foreordained were they to lay the foundation of this republic. Blessed by the Almighty in their struggle for liberty and independence, the power of heaven rested on these founders as they drafted that great document for governing men — the Constitution of the United States. Like the Ten Commandments, the truths on which the Constitution was based were timeless; and also as with the Decalogue — the hand of the Lord was in it. They filled their mission well. From them we were endowed with a legacy of liberty — a constitutional republic.
Leaders of youth, teach our young people to love freedom, to know that it is God-given. . . . Teach them to love their country, to know that it has a spiritual foundation, that it has a prophetic history, that it is the Lord’s base of operation.
Teach them that the Constitution of the United States was established by men whom God raised up for that very purpose, that it is not outmoded, that it is not an old-fashioned agrarian document, as some men in high places are calling it today.
The sad and shocking story of what has happened in America in recent years must be told. Our people must have the facts. There is safety in an informed public. There is real danger in a complacent, uninformed citizenry. This is our real danger today. Yes, the truth must be told even at the risk of destroying, in large measure, the influence of men who are widely respected and loved by the American people. The stakes are high. Freedom and survival is the issue.
The Lord raised up the Founding Fathers. He it was who established the Constitution of this land — the greatest document of freedom ever written. This God-inspired Constitution is not outmoded. It is not an outdated “agrarian document” as some of our would-be statesmen, socialists, and fellow travelers of the godless conspiracy would have us believe. It was the Lord God who established the foundation of this nation; and woe be unto those — members of the Supreme Court and others — who would weaken this foundation.
We had better take our small pain now than our greater loss later. There were souls who wished afterwards that they had stood and fought with Washington and the founding fathers, but they waited too long—they passed up eternal glory. There has never been a greater time than now to stand up against entrenched evil. And while the gentiles established the Constitution, we have a divine mandate to preserve it. But unfortunately today in this freedom struggle, many gentiles are showing greater wisdom in their generation than the children of light.
The devil knows that if the elders of Israel should ever wake up, they could step forth and help preserve freedom and extend the gospel. Therefore the devil has concentrated, and to a large extent successfully, in neutralizing much of the priesthood. He has reduced them to sleeping giants. His arguments are clever.
Here are a few samples:
First: “We really haven’t received much instruction about freedom,” the devil says. . . .
Second: “You’re too involved in other church work,” says the devil. . . .
Third: “You want to be loved by everyone,” says the devil, “and this freedom battle is so controversial you might be accused of engaging in politics.” . . .
Fourth: “Wait until it becomes popular to do,” says the devil, “or, at least until everybody in the Church agrees on what should be done.” . . .
Fifth: “It might hurt your business or your family,” says the devil, “and besides why not let the gentiles save the country? They aren’t as busy as you are.” . . .
Sixth: “Don’t worry,” says the devil, “the Lord will protect you, and besides the world is so corrupt and heading toward destruction at such a pace that you can’t stop it, so why try.” . . .
And now as to the last neutralizer that the devil uses most effectively—it is simply this: “Don’t do anything in the fight for freedom until the Church sets up its own specific program to save the Constitution.” This brings us right back to the scripture I opened with today—to those slothful servants who will not do anything until they are “compelled in all things” [D&C 58:26]. Maybe the Lord will never set up a specific church program for the purpose of saving the Constitution. Perhaps if he set one up at this time it might split the Church asunder, and perhaps he does not want that to happen yet for not all the wheat and tares are fully ripe.
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared it will be the elders of Israel who will step forward to help save the Constitution, not the Church. And have we elders been warned? Yes, we have. And have we elders been given the guidelines? Yes indeed, we have. And besides, if the Church should ever inaugurate a program, who do you think would be in the forefront to get it moving? It would not be those who were sitting on the sidelines prior to that time or those who were appeasing the enemy. It would be those choice spirits who, not waiting to be “commanded in all things” [D&C 58:26], used their own free will, the counsel of the prophets, and the Spirit of the Lord as guidelines and who entered the battle “in a good cause” [D&C 58:27] and brought to pass much righteousness in freedom’s cause. . . .
Brethren, if we had done our homework and were faithful, we could step forward at this time and help save this country. The fact that most of us are unprepared to do it is an indictment we will have to bear. The longer we wait, the heavier the chains, the deeper the blood, the more the persecution, and the less we can carry out our God-given mandate and worldwide mission. The war in heaven is raging on the earth today. Are you being neutralized in the battle?
Now, the Lord knew that before the gospel could flourish there must first be an atmosphere of freedom. This is why he first established the Constitution of this land through gentiles whom he raised up before he restored the gospel.
The Founding Fathers recognized the importance of vital religion and morality in the affairs of individuals and governments, and they turned to religion in order to give their new experiment a sense of direction. They were well aware that the principles of moral, intellectual, and spiritual integrity taught and exemplified by the Savior are the perfect guide for the conduct of countries and of individuals. It is no accident that the principles of Christian religion are the foundation of the Constitution of the United States.
Students, study the writings of the prophets. Fortunately, the constistent position taken over the years by the prophets of the Church on vital issues facing this nation have recently been compiled in an excellent book entitled Prophets, Principles and National Survival [by Jerreld L. Newquist].
With all my heart I love our great nation. I have lived and traveled abroad just enough to make me appreciate rather fully what we have in America. To me the U. S. is not just another nation. It is not just one of a family of nations. The U. S. is a nation with a great mission to perform for the benefit and blessing of liberty-loving people everywhere.
I think it is time for every patriotic American to join with neighbors to study the Constitution and the conspiracy. Subscribe to several good patriotic magazines.
At this particular moment in history the United States Constitution is definitely threatened, and every citizen should know about it. The warning of this hour should resound through the corridors of every American institution — schools, churches, the halls of Congress, press, radio, and TV, and so far as I am concerned it will resound—with God’s help.
Wherever possible I have tried to speak out. It is for this very reason that certain people in Washington have bitterly criticized me. They don’t want people to hear the message. It embarrasses them. The things which are destroying the Constitution are the things they have been voting for.
I believe one of the most serious mistakes a President could make would be to weaken the Constitution.
From the time I was a small boy I was taught that the American Constitution is an inspired document. I was also taught that the day will come when the Constitution will be endangered and hang as it were by a single thread. I was taught that we should study the Constitution. . . . I expect to continue my efforts to help protect and safeguard our inspired Constitution.
I quote the great American, J. Edgar Hoover: “I confess to a real apprehension so long as communists are able to secure ministers of the gospel to promote their evil work and espouse a cause that is alien to the religion of Christ and Judaism. I do fear so long as school boards and parents tolerate conditions whereby communists and fellow travelers under the guise of academic freedom can teach our youth a way of life that eventually will destroy the sanctity of the home, that undermines faith in God, that causes them to scorn respect for constituted authority and sabotage our revered Constitution.” (Menace of Communism, p. 11.)
Not cheap politicians but statesmen are needed today. Not opportunists but men and women of principle must be demanded by the people. In this time of great stress and danger we must place [in office] only those dedicated to the preservation of our Constitution, our American Republic, and responsible freedom under God. “Oh, God, give us men with a mandate higher than the ballot box.”
It is not, however, enough to be acquainted with the grave dangers facing these United States. We must also instruct ourselves, and others, in the great spiritual values underlying our divinely inspired Constitution and our American free-enterprise system.
On this basis may I give to you my own personal recommendation of some reading which will help you in the fight to save our Constitution.
First, for a number of years President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., served on the board of trustees of the Foundation for Economic Education while he was a member of the First Presidency. President Clark, as you probably know, was an Under Secretary of State and Ambassador to Mexico. He wrote the famous memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine. In 1923 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle he warned us of the communist-socialist menace and what it was going to do—and he was right. No one in the Church has shown greater insight regarding our Constitution and the socialist-communist threat to it. The Foundation for Economic Education with which he served puts out some of the most enlightening freedom literature available. They also put out a free monthly magazine, entitled The Freeman, which is excellent. They will be happy to send you a free catalog of their literature. May I mention some of the books which they distribute: The Federalist, written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, three of our inspired founding fathers, explaining why the need of a constitution; The Constitution of the United States, by Mussatti; The Cliches of Socialism; The Mainspring of Human Progress, by Weaver; Economics in One Lesson, by Hazlitt; and The Admiral’s Log, by Admiral Ben Moreell, which book is also on the MIA reading list.
The scriptures also tell about our inspired Constitution. If you accept these scriptures, you will automatically reject the counsel of men who depreciate our Constitution. If you use the scriptures as a guide, you know what the Book of Mormon has to say regarding murderous conspiracies in the last day and how we are to awake to our awful situation today (see Ether 8:18–25). I find certain elements in the Church do not like to read the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants so much — they have too much to say about freedom.
Today it is becoming an increasing handicap, it seems, to one’s career in government for a man or woman to take seriously his pledge of allegiance to our Constitution.
I urge all to read the solid volume, Stand Fast by Our Constitution [by J. Reuben Clark, Jr.].
They [our forefathers] believed that we must have some government, but it must be bound down by the chains of our Constitution so that it will not slip farther and farther over into the realm of governmentism.
That great and wise American, Thomas Jefferson, warned us of the danger of conferring unwarranted power upon our government administrators in these sobering words:
“. . . Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go. . . . In questions of power, then, let not more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
Let us not be deceived in the sifting days ahead. Let us rally together on principle behind the prophet as guided by the promptings of the Spirit. We should continue to speak out for freedom and against socialism and communism. We should continue to come to the aid of patriots, programs, and organizations that are trying to save our Constitution through every legal and moral means possible.
President McKay has said a lot about our tragic trends towards socialism and communism and the responsibilities liberty-loving people have in defending and preserving our Constitution. (see Conference Report, Apr 1963, pp. 112-13.) Have we read these words from God’s mouthpiece and pondered on them?
It is my firm conviction that the Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto this very purpose. This is part of my religious faith.
I do not believe an American citizen can be patriotic and loyal to his own country and its God-inspired Constitution of freedom without being anti-communist—anti-socialist.
Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any earthly possession. As a United States citizen I believe it is guaranteed in our heaven-inspired Constitution.
Teach them to love their country, and here in America to love the Constitution and the founding fathers, and to know that this is the Lord’s base of operations in these last days, and that that operation will be world-wide.
Every Latter-day Saint has spiritual obligations in four basic areas: his home, his church, his job, and his citizenship responsibility. Each of these areas should receive consistent attention although not necessarily equal time. Are we doing our duty in these important fields? What about our citizenship responsibility — our obligation to safeguard our freedom and preserve the Constitution?
The Prophet Joseph Smith said the time would come when the Constitution would hang, as it were, by a thread. Modern-day prophets for the past several decades have been warning us that we have been rapidly moving in that direction. Fortunately, the Prophet Joseph Smith saw the part the elders of Israel would play in this crisis. Will there be some of us who won’t care about saving the Constitution, others who will be blinded by the craftiness of men, and some who will knowingly be working to destroy it? He who has ears to hear and eyes to see can discern by the Spirit and through the words of God’s mouthpiece that our liberties are being taken.
“Our real enemies,” said President [J. Reuben] Clark, “are communism and its running mate, socialism. . . .”
“. . . Its purpose is to destroy the Constitution and our Constitutional government.”
[Political and economic rights] are the things we are inclined to take for granted as American citizens.
The rights as listed included the right to worship God in one’s own way, rights to free speech and a free press, the right to assemble and freely to speak our own minds without any fear whatever. There are many countries of this world where you cannot do that today.
The right to petition for grievances, the right to privacy in our homes, the right to trial by jury, and to know that we are innocent until we are proven guilty. The right to move freely at home and abroad, the right to own private property, the right to free elections and personal secret ballot. The right to work in callings and localities of our choice. The right to bargain with our employees and employers. The right to go into business, to compete, to make a profit. The right to bargain for goods and services in a free market. The right to contract about our affairs.
These are an impressive list of rights which lay at the very foundation of the American way of life and preserve the dignity of the individual. Our constitutional government desires to serve the people, and basic in our beliefs is our fundamental belief in God and in the eternal principle of free agency, the right of choice.
We pay lip service to the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution without realizing what they are and the danger of ignoring them.
Surely the preservation and enjoyment of the freedoms vouchsafed to us by the Constitution of the United States will require eternal vigilance even to the guarding of it with our lives.
. . . We must ever be on our guard against the unsound theories that would strike at our Constitutional freedoms.
We must ever keep faith with our founding fathers by keeping faith with our Constitution.
I trust that we all have faith in the Constitution of the United States, and that that faith is born of an assurance that this great document came into being through the inspiration of God to wise men, embodying as it does, eternal principles. This nation has a spiritual foundation which must be preserved at any cost of sweat and blood. May we recognize our debt and responsibility and be ever vigilant.
The need for this eternal and constant vigilance is seen in some prophetic words of Daniel Webster, given in 1802:
“Next to correct morals and watchful guardianship over the Constitution is the proper means for its support. No human advantage is indefensible. The fairest productions of man have in themselves or receive from accident a tendency to decay. Unless the Constitution be constantly fostered on the principles which created it, its excellency will fade; and it will feel, even in its infancy, the weakness and decrepitude of age.
“Our form of government is superior to all others, inasmuch as it provides, in a fair and honorable manner for its own amendment. But it requires no gift or prophecy to foresee that this privilege may be seized on by demagogues, to introduce wild and destructive innovations. Under the gentle name of amendments, changes may be proposed which, if unresisted, will undermine the national compact, mar its fairest features, and reduce it finally to a dead letter. It abates nothing of the danger to say that alterations may be trifling and inconsiderable. If the Constitution be picked away by piecemeal, it is gone — and gone as effectually as if some military despot had grasped it at once, trampled it beneath his feet, and scattered its loose leaves in the wild winds.”
If we are to keep faith with our Constitution, we must know it. Since it is the basis of our American way of life and our liberties every American should be familiar with it. We should read it periodically.
How can people who are ignorant of the principles and guarantees of American government stand up in defense of it and our rights under the Constitution? The fundamentals and processes of free government should be known to every school boy — and his parents. No free people can ever survive if they are ignorant of and fail to understand the principles of free government!
And so this great nation has come into being under the inspiration of the Almighty to accomplish his purposes. Through modern revelation we have had made very plain to us something of the mission of America and the establishment of our national Constitution.
The Founding Fathers, I repeat, in order that their new experiment — establishment of a new nation of freemen — make sense, had to turn to religion and to the scriptures. They turned to the prophecies, the Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount.
Then when time came for the establishment of the Constitution, and when the time came for them to issue their Declaration of Independence, a sacred document issued in white heat on the anvil of defiance, they appealed to the Almighty. Both at the opening of that document and at its closing they spoke of eternal truths. They spoke of the fact that men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. At the close they said:
“. . . with a firm reliance on Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
The Founding Fathers, it is true, with superb genius welded together the safeguards of our freedom. It was necessary, however, for them to turn to the scriptures, to religion, to prayer, in order to have this great experiment make sense to them. And so our freedom is God-given. It ante-dates the Founding Fathers.
It is my belief that ours is not just another nation, not just a member of a family of nations. It is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and it has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven. I thank God for the knowledge which I have regarding the prophetic history and the prophetic future of this land of America.
It is my firm belief that the Constitution of the land was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto that very purpose. It is my firm belief, also, that the God of Heaven guided the Founding Fathers in establishing it for His particular purposes. But God’s purpose is to build people of character, not physical monuments to their material accumulations.
The founders of this republic had deeply spiritual beliefs. Their concept of man had a solidly religious foundation. They believed “it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another” [D&C 101:79]. They believed that men were capable of self-government and that it was the job of government to protect freedom and foster private initiative.
The men who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were under no illusion that their work was done. They had carried freedom up to a new high, but had no idea that a pinnacle had been reached, that having reached the summit there was no more to be done. They were confident that we of succeeding generations would carry on.
Along with the political freedom so dearly won came a climate which challenged man’s intellect and ingenuity. People began to move freedom forward along lines possibly not envisaged by the men who drafted the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Freedom from backbreaking toil came with the invention and development of labor-saving devices in factories and on farms.
In the providence of God, governments were intended to be the servants, not the masters of the people. This eternal truth needs to be emphasized and re-emphasized.
Our Constitution and Bill of Rights vouchsafe to all our people the greatest freedom ever enjoyed by the people of any great nation. This system safeguards freedom of individual enterprise, freedom to own property, freedom to start one’s own business and to operate it according to one’s own judgment so long as the enterprise is honorable.
We must return to a love and respect for the basic spiritual concepts upon which this nation has been established. We must study the Constitution and the writings of the founding fathers.
God, through his power has established a free people in this land as a means of helping to carry forward his purposes. . . .
It was here under a free government and a strong nation that protection was provided for his restored Church.
Now God will not permit America, his base of operations, to be destroyed. He has promised protection to this land if we will but serve the God of the land. He has also promised protection to the righteous even, if necessary, to send down fire from heaven to destroy their enemies. (1 Nephi 22.)
No, God’s base of operations will not be destroyed. But it may be weakened and made less effective.
To achieve his purposes the Lord had to have a base of operations. Later he revealed to a modern prophet that the Constitution of this land was established by “wise men” whom the Lord “raised up unto this very purpose.” (See D&C 101:80.) The Lord also directed that the constitutional laws of the land, supporting the principle of freedom, should be upheld and that honest and wise men should be sought for and upheld in public office [D&C 98:10].
I thank God for freedom — the right of choice. I am grateful for this great nation. Every true Latter-day Saint throughout the world loves the USA. The Constitution of this land is part of every Latter-day Saint’s religious faith.
This is not just another nation, not just a member of a family of nations. This is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and a prophetic history and future. It has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven.
It is our firm belief, as Latter-day Saints, that the Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto that very purpose. It is our conviction also that the God of heaven guided the founding fathers in establishing it for his particular purpose.
The founders of this republic were deeply spiritual men. They believed men are capable of self-government and that it is the job of government to protect freedom and foster private initiative.
Our earliest American fathers came here with a common objective — freedom of worship and liberty of conscience.
They were familiar with the sacred scriptures, and they believed that liberty is a gift of heaven. To them, man as a child of God emphasized the sacredness of the individual and the interest of a kind Providence in the affairs of men and nations.
These leaders recognized the need for divine guidance and the importance of vital religion and morality in the affairs of men and nations.
We should pay no attention to the recommendations of men who call the Constitution an eighteenth-century agrarian document — who apologize for capitalism and free enterprise. We should refuse to follow their siren song of concentrating, increasingly, the powers of government in the Chief Executive, of delegating American sovereign authority to non-American institutions in the United Nations, and pretending that it will bring peace to the world by turning our armed forces over to a U.N. world-wide police force.
What are these fundamental principles which have allowed the United States to progress so rapidly and yet remain free?
First, a written Constitution clearly defining the limits of government so that government will not become more powerful than the people.
If the Gentiles on this land reject the word of God and conspire to overthrow the liberty and the Constitution, then their doom is fixed, and they “shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.” (3 Nephi 21:11, 14, 21; 1 Nephi 14:6; D&C 84:114, 115, 117.)
Every member of the priesthood should understand the divine plan designed by the Lord to raise up the first free people in modern times. Here is how scripture says it was achieved: . . .
Sixth: Having declared America to be a land of liberty, God undertook to raise up a band of inspired and intelligent leaders who could write a constitution of liberty and establish the first free people in modern times. The hand of God in this undertaking is clearly indicated by the Lord himself, in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith in these words:
I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose. . . . (D&C 101:80.)
Seventh: God declared that the United States Constitution was divinely inspired for the specific purpose of eliminating bondage and the violation of the rights and protection which belong to “all flesh.” (D&C 101:77–80.)
Eighth: God placed a mandate upon his people to befriend and defend the constitutional laws of the land and see that the rights and privileges of all mankind are protected. He verified the declaration of the founding fathers, that God created all men free. He also warned against those who would enact laws encroaching upon the sacred rights and privileges of free men. He urged the election of honest and wise leaders and said that evil men and laws were of Satan. (D&C 98:5–10.) . . .
Eleventh: In connection with the attack on the United States, the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith there would be an attempt to overthrow the country by destroying the Constitution. Joseph Smith predicted that the time would come when the Constitution would hang as it were by a thread, and at that time, “this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction.” (Journal History, Jul 4, 1854.)
It is my conviction that the elders of Israel, widely spread over the nation, will, at the crucial time, successfully rally the righteous of our country and provide the necessary balance of strength to save the institutions of constitutional government.
One of the first considerations given after my appointment to serve as Secretary of Agriculture was to formulate with my close associates and other interested parties a basic statement on agricultural policy. Among the fundamental concepts stated were the following:
“Freedom is a God-given, eternal principle vouchsafed to us under the Constitution. It must be guarded continually as something more precious than life itself.” . . .
. . . How do we stand with reference to our belief in those freedoms safeguarded for us under the Constitution of the United States? What is our attitude toward our government—toward the free enterprise system and our American Way of Life?
. . . I trust you are leaving this institution [Brigham Young University] with faith in the Constitution of the United States.
No true Latter-day Saint can be a Communist or a Socialist because Communist principles run counter to the revealed word of God and to the Constitution of this land which was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto that very purpose [D&C 101:80].
Under our system there has been released great creative capacity, because we have been free, unrestricted. What have we achieved? A standard of living unequalled anywhere in the world. Not because we are smarter, not because we are more brilliant, not because we have greater capacity than people of other nations, but because we have had a system which is superior — a system which was wisely provided by the Founding Fathers. We must protect and safeguard that system. Sometimes we find people who almost apologize for it — the free enterprise system. Of course it is not perfect; it is operated by human beings, but it is the best system in operation in this world today. If we are wise, we will preserve it, we will strengthen it and we will safeguard it for our children and our children’s children.
We have heard that the Prophet Joseph said something about the time when the Constitution would be in danger. We do not know just what turn that will take. He also said something about the Elders of Israel rising to the challenge and helping to save the Constitution of this land. It is entirely possible that that may come about in a rather natural way. Our young people — as they mature and develop and take their positions in industry, in the professions, and in agriculture clear across this land — might represent the balance of power in a time of crisis, when they will stand up and defend those eternal principles upon which this Constitution has been established.
I would to God that every citizen of this land might read the Book of Mormon prayerfully and learn something of the prophecies made regarding this land — the promises made and the conditions upon which they are made — that we might as an American people so live that these great promises could be fully realized; that we might come to know that the Constitution of this land has been established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto that very purpose.
To every Latter-day Saint, we have a tremendous obligation to be good citizens, to uphold the Constitution of this land, to adhere to its basic concepts, to do all in our power to protect the freedoms and the liberties and the basic rights which are associated with citizenship. The Lord has said even in our day, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that we have an obligation. He has not only spoken about the Constitution being inspired, he has said that if we are to be good Latter-day Saints, we also have to take an interest in this country in which we live and we are to see to it that good men are upheld and sustained in public office.
Some day we may be called upon as a people to exert great influence in helping to preserve the liberties and freedoms and blessings vouchsafed to us as a people in the Constitution of this land. Some of our inspired leaders have had words to say on that subject. I hope and pray that we will be ready when the time comes — in fact, I am inclined to feel sometimes it is going to be a gradual process. Maybe it is underway now. We will not be able to discharge our obligations unless we adhere strictly to the standards and ideals of the church and kingdom of God.
Free agency is an eternal principle vouchsafed to us in the perfect law of liberty — the gospel of Jesus Christ. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any earthly possession. It is guaranteed in our heaven-inspired Constitution. Yes, freedom is an inherited, inalienable, divine gift to men. . . .
The inspired founding fathers formulated a system of government with checks and balances protecting the freedom of the people. But even this was not enough. The first order of the new congress was to draw up a Bill of Rights — ten amendments guaranteeing for all time the fundamental freedoms that the American people insist are theirs by the will of God, not by the will of government.
Yes, the founders of this nation bequeathed to us a heritage of freedom and unity that is our most priceless political possession. . . .
. . . Under the constitutional concept, powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people [U.S. Const. Amend. X]. . . .
The founding fathers, inspired though they were, did not invent the priceless blessing of individual freedom and respect for the dignity of man. No, that priceless gift to mankind sprang from the God of heaven and not from government. Yes, the founding fathers welded together the safeguards as best they could, but freedom must be continually won to be enjoyed. Let us never forget these facts.
This is America — the land of opportunity! A land choice above all other lands. Let us keep it so! . . .
. . . It is my firm conviction that the Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto this very purpose.
The days ahead are sobering and challenging and will demand the faith, prayers, and loyalty of every American. Our challenge is to keep America strong and free — strong socially, strong economically, and above all, strong spiritually, if our way of life is to endure. There is no other way. Only in this course is there safety for our nation.
Second to their duty to God, youth should realize their duty to our country. They should love and honor the Constitution of the United States, the basic concepts and principles upon which this nation has been established. Yes, they need to develop a love for our free institutions.
The Founding Fathers did not invent this priceless boon of individual freedom and respect for the dignity of man. That great gift to mankind sprang from the Creator and not from government. But the Founding Fathers with superb genius, I believe, welded together certain safeguards which we must always protect to the very limit if we would preserve and strengthen the blessings of freedom.
. . . They were guided by allegiance to basic principles. These principles must be kept in mind always by those who are here today and reaping the benefits and the blessings which they so wisely provided. We must be careful that we do not trade freedom for security. Whenever that is attempted, usually we lose both. There is always a tendency when nations become mature for the people to become more interested in preserving their luxuries and their comforts than in safeguarding the ideals and principles which made these comforts and luxuries possible.
Today I would like to propose four questions which every Latter-day Saint might well ask as he attempts to appraise any program, policy, or idea promoted by any would-be political leader. I mention these because I think they will provide a safeguard in electing to office men who will meet the requirements which the Lord has set forth in the revelations.
Firstly, is the proposal, the policy, or the idea being promoted right as measured by the gospel of Jesus Christ? I assure you it is much easier for one to measure a proposed policy by the gospel of Jesus Christ if he has accepted the gospel and is living it.
Secondly, is it right as measured by the Constitution of this land and the glorious principles embodied in that Constitution? Now that suggests that we must read and study the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights, that we might know what principles are embodied therein.
Thirdly, we might well ask the question: Is it right as measured by the counsel of the living oracles of God? It is my conviction, my brethren and sisters, that these living oracles are not only authorized, but are obligated to give counsel to this people on any subject which is vital to the welfare of this people and the upbuilding of the kingdom of God. So, that measure should be applied. Is it right as measured by the counsel of the living oracles of God?
Fourthly, what will be the effect on the morale and the character of the people if this or that policy is adopted? After all, as a Church we are interested in building men and women, building character, because character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next. It must never be sacrificed for expediency.
Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. (D&C 98:10.)
Now that is a commandment to his Church and to his Saints. To me it means that we have a responsibility as Latter-day Saints to use our influence so honest men and wise men and good men will be elected to public office in the community, in the county, in the state, and in the nation. To me this commandment of God is just as binding upon the Latter-day Saints as is the law of tithing, or the Word of Wisdom, or any other commandment which the God of heaven has given us.
As I read that for the first time some years ago I thought, “What an indictment of corrupt would-be political leaders in many parts of the world — demagogues who deal in half-truths, innuendos, and falsehoods! Here the God of heaven has pointed out the type of men he wants elected to public office among his people.” It is not enough, my brethren and sisters, just to stand on the sidelines and criticize what is taking place, and to point the finger of scorn at some political leader. It is our job, our duty, and our responsibility to take an active interest in these matters, and carry out the admonition and the commandment which God has given us to see to it that men of character — good men, as measured by the standards of the gospel — are elected to public office.
So, today, I would like to throw out a challenge to the elders of Israel, my brethren of the priesthood, that we put forth an effort to prepare ourselves for statesmanlike work. The Prophet Joseph, as you will recall, had something to say regarding the important part which the elders of Israel would play in the safeguarding, if not the saving, of the Constitution of this land.
It is my conviction that only in this land, under this God-inspired Constitution, under an environment of freedom, could it have been possible to have established the Church and kingdom of God and restored the gospel in its fulness. It is our responsibility, my brethren and sisters, to see that this freedom is maintained, so that the Church can flourish in the future.
I am grateful for the Constitution of this land. I am grateful that the Founding Fathers made it clear that our allegiance runs to that Constitution and the glorious eternal principles embodied therein. Our allegiance does not run to any man, to a king, or a dictator, or a president, although we revere and honor those whom we elect to high office. Our allegiance runs to the Constitution and to the principles embodied therein. The Founding Fathers made that clear and provided well for checks and balances and safeguards in an attempt to guarantee this freedom to those of us who live in this land.
I am grateful that the God of heaven saw fit to put his stamp of approval upon the Constitution and to indicate that it had come into being through wise men whom he raised up unto this very purpose. He asked the Saints, even in the dark days of their persecution and hardship to continue to seek for redress from their enemies “According,” he said, “to the laws and constitution . . . which I have suffered to be established and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh.” (D&C 101:77.) And then he made this most impressive declaration:
And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (D&C 101:80.)
It is gratifying that the Constitutions in many of the other lands of our neighbors in the Americas are patterned very much after this divinely-appointed Constitution, which the God of heaven directed in the founding of this nation. It isn’t any wonder, therefore, that Joseph Smith, the Prophet—a truly great American—referring to the Constitution, said,
“[It] is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 147.)
My one fear, and my one anxiety is that I may inadvertently sometime do something or say something that will cast an unfavorable light or bring discredit upon the Church and kingdom of God and the people whom I love so dearly, and upon this great nation which we all love. I pray that this may never happen.
I love this nation of which we are a part. To me it is not just another nation, not just a member of a family of nations. It is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and it has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven. It is truly a land choice above all others. I thank God for the knowledge which we have regarding the prophetic history and the prophetic future of this great land of America. . . .
I am grateful for the Founding Fathers of this land and for the freedom they have vouchsafed to us. I am grateful that they recognized, as great leaders of this nation have always recognized, that the freedom which we enjoy did not originate with the Founding Fathers; that this glorious principle, this great boon of freedom and respect for the dignity of man, came as a gift from the Creator. The Founding Fathers, it is true, with superb genius welded together the safeguards of these freedoms. It was necessary, however, for them to turn to the scriptures, to religion, in order to have this great experiment make sense to them. And so our freedom is God-given. It antedates the Founding Fathers.
In concluding, I said: “I love this nation. It is my firm belief that the God of Heaven raised up the founding fathers and inspired them to establish the Constitution of this land. This is part of my religious faith.” To me this is not just another nation. It is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission to perform for liberty-loving people everywhere.
Our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee to all our people the greatest freedom ever enjoyed by the public of any great nation. This system guarantees freedom of individual enterprise, freedom to own property, freedom to start one’s own business and to operate it according to one’s own judgment so long as the enterprise is honorable. The individual has power to produce beyond his needs, to provide savings for the future protection of himself and family. He can live where he wishes and pick any job he wants and select any educational opportunity.
We stand firmly in support of the principles enunciated in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and every Latter-day Saint would defend to the last those eternal principles.