Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Constitution No Longer Taught In Florida High Schools

Benjamin Franklin
Well Florida’s Board of Education (FBOE), teachers and administrators have driven a stake into the heart of our republic. The latest Florida Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, approved by the FBOE begins teaching American history in grades 9-12 after Reconstruction.
According to Course: United States History-2100310:

United States History (U.S. History) 9-12 Course – The grade 9-12 United States History course consists of the following content area strands: United States History, Geography, and Humanities. The primary content emphasis for this course pertains to the study of United States history from Reconstruction to the present day. Students will be exposed to the historical, geographic, political, economic, and sociological events which influenced the development of the United States and the resulting impact on world history. So that students can clearly see the relationship between cause and effect in historical events, students should have the opportunity to review those fundamental ideas and events which occurred before the end of Reconstruction.[My emphasis]

The same applies to Honors American History in grades 9-12.

This means that all of Florida’s high school students will start learning about American History after the Civil War.

So much for our Founding Fathers, the Bill of Rights, Constitution and the American Revolution. As far as Florida is concerned they all belong on the dust heap of history.

I know, teachers and administrators will argue that we teach about those things in Middle Schools. I would argue that both middle and high public school students must be firmly founded in the principles this nation is based upon. The concepts contained in our Bill of Rights and Constitution demand continuing study, analysis and discussion. At the public high school level the concepts of liberty, freedom, a republican form of government and free markets need a more mature mind to grasp and understand. The first Ten Amendments of our Constitution should be courses in and of themselves. As Thomas Jefferson said, “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.”

Florida is denying our children the enlightenment necessary to exercise oversight of our government. This is a travesty.

So who is to blame for this? Why the very elected officials in our Legislature who have sworn to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Even if those domestic enemies are those entrusted with the public education of Florida’s students.

It is amazing to me that the Florida Legislature has allowed this to happen. There are only two explanations:

1.) They knew about it and condone it, or 2.) they did not know about it and are not providing enlightened oversight of the Florida Department of Education. Either way our public school children and our nation will suffer.

What this means is high school textbooks used in Florida will be scrubbed of anything occurring before 1865.

As Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Our Legislature, Florida Department of Education, teachers and administrators have ensured our children’s children will never know what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
UPDATE: The below is an e-mail exchange between me and the FDOE about changes to the Florida State Standards. Please read the reply to my question.

Dr. Swier:

Thank you for contacting the Florida Department of Education. The following courses, based on Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Social Studies were approved in March of 2010 by the State Board of Education.

High School
United States Government – http://www.floridastandards.org/Courses/PublicPreviewCourse633.aspx

United States Government Honors - http://www.floridastandards.org/Courses/PublicPreviewCourse634.aspx

Economics – http://www.floridastandards.org/Courses/PublicPreviewCourse575.aspx

Economics Honors – http://www.floridastandards.org/Courses/PublicPreviewCourse577.aspx

United States History - http://www.floridastandards.org/Courses/PublicPreviewCourse1723.aspx

United States History Honors - http://www.floridastandards.org/Courses/PublicPreviewCourse590.aspx

World History – http://www.floridastandards.org/Courses/PublicPreviewCourse662.aspx

World History Honors – http://www.floridastandards.org/Courses/PublicPreviewCourse663.aspx

You are essentially correct in the timelines associated with World History and US History courses.  It may be helpful for you to know that the World History, US History, US Government, and Economics courses are all required for high school graduation.  Please review all the instructional benchmarks for each course, especially the US Government benchmarks related to the Constitution.

I am no longer the state social studies curriculum specialist and a new social studies specialist is still to be named. In the meantime, should you have additional questions please contact the Director of the Office of Humanities, Ann Whitney at ann.whitney@fldoe.org.




1 comment:


A sad story played out to often.