Columnist laments the loss of patriotic lessons in public school classrooms

February 18, 2013

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Trevor TenBrink Trevor TenBrink

Trevor was website administrator for EAG from December 2012 to March 2014.
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From news service reports
    
CHICAGO – The public education system used to play a role in helping students appreciate America and the unprecedented degree of personal liberty they enjoy.
    
But too many K-12 teachers have become focused on teaching the tenants of “social justice” and leading their students to believe they live in a hopelessly racist, class-based nation where there is no opportunity unless one is born wealthy. That’s all nonsense, but it has nevertheless become a very fashionable view of the United States for many so-called educators.
    
Esther Cepeda, a syndicated columnist and NBC Latino contributor, believes the leftist agenda in public schools is going to leave students with a diminished pride in their country.  
    
In a recent article for NBC Latino, she writes:

Morals are not something that schools want to touch with a 10-foot pole. Even the watered-down character programs — such as “Character Counts!” — seem to be going extinct in favor of more general campaigns that merely implore students to “Just Be Nice” or put their “Values in Action!”

patriotismisdeadAnd patriotism in school is dead.

Take this headline that came to me from the Education Action Group Foundation, which has been described as either a promoter of sensible education reform or a tool of the far-right fringe, “Radical education officials try to impose anti-American curriculum.”

The e-blast claimed that Minnesota’s education officials are proposing new social studies standards that would “no longer require students to learn about Martin Luther King Jr., the War on Terror, the Soviet Union or the importance of patriotism.”

A level-headed independent thinker might wonder if such heated rhetoric is nothing more than the bizarre assertions of Ayn Rand-worshiping conservatives.

But this doesn’t mean there isn’t some truth to it.

As a second-generation minority who came of age with similar peers in urban classrooms that resembled a mini-United Nations, I can say that my schools taught us to love our parents’ adopted country with all our hearts. We grew up feeling as American as apple pie, even when we preferred comfort foods like leche flan or empanadas.

Today, as an ex-educator and the mother of two middle-school children attending schools staffed by left-leaning teachers trained more in the art of social justice than the science of pedagogy, I can tell you that when the current crop of school-age children of immigrants are grown, they may look at America as an imperialist, corporate-driven oppressor, not a source of pride.

We want to teach our students to think critically about their history, to be outraged at past wrongs. But too often, criticism is delivered to impressionable young minds with no real sense of historical context. The result is a constant drumbeat about how terrible America is.

In a nation where lawsuits are filed in order to avoid the supposed tyranny of having to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, the prospects for inspiring patriotism in our children are bleak. Prepare for the next wave of second-generation Americans to be far less admiring of their country than their predecessors were.

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