Pulitizer Prize -winning historian David McCullough issued this warning: "We are raising a generation of people who are historically illiterate and ignorant of the basic philosophical foundation of our constitutional free society…"
The "root" of the problem lies with educational philosophy, adopted by the U.S. Department of Education (Goals 2000), which sets school curriculum. The text-book, "We The People … The Citizen and the Constitution". (funded by the U.S. Department of Education) asks students: "Do you think that world citizenship will be possible in your lifetime?" It states "the Bill of Rights is a document of the eighteenth century, reflecting the issues and concerns of the age in which it was written."
A fundamental change in our educational system is required or our children and grandchildren will grow up under a socialist government.
Initiative 1058 will give our children the opportunity to be taught from the founding documents. I-1058 amends an existing law (RCW 28A.230.170). It replaces the words "The Study of" with "Schools shall teach the relationship of the Declaration of Independence to" the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Washington …" This change is required because a judge decided that: "any study constitutes study." This ruling provided the loophole for schools to ignore teaching the foundation and purpose of both constitutions.
Most citizens have never seen a state constitution. Have you? Elected officials must swear an oath of office to uphold a document most have never seen! Does this help explain the problems we see in Olympia?
The Washington state Constitution echoes the words used in the Declaration of Independence by giving thanks to "The Supreme ruler of the Universe for our liberties." The state Constitution then explains that the purpose of government is to protect and maintain individual rights (Article I, sec 1). It is an exception to find a recent high school graduate that can answer the questions: Where do your rights come from and what is the purpose of government?
There is a common misunderstanding that rights come from the government or the Constitution. Governments that can give citizens rights can take those rights away. The United States of America is based on the idea that rights are gifts from God and that the purpose of government (the constitutions) is to protect and maintain individual rights.
Without a firm understanding of the foundation of government, citizens are easy mislead by those for who falsely claim our founders were atheists or deists.
John Dewey, "the father of progressive education", was an atheists and his theory of education got us into this mess. His suggestion was "to make small incremental changes in education to bring about improvement." Other educational philosophers have expanded on this theory to attempt to remove a knowledge of God from our society.
I-1058 addresses these problems by requiring the founding documents and original writings of the founding fathers be used to teach and test students about the constitutions. The ballot summary states:
"This measure would require specified teaching concerning the relationship of the Declaration of Independence to the federal and state constitutions, and related documents, as a prerequisite to graduation from public and private high school. Copies of these documents would be displayed in all schools. This measure also defines what "teaching" is required. Teaching would occur in fifth-grade, eighth-grade and two years of high school, and would be a subject of state standardized testing."
The related documents are: George Washington's first inaugural address and his farewell address; Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address and Gettysburg address.; The Northwest Ordinance, which sets the requirements for states to join the union of states; and other suggested materials by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Nearly 300,000 registered voter signatures must be gathered to place this issue on the November ballot. If approved by the voters, I-1058 will provide hope for 21 other states to pass similar measures through the initiative process. Thus I-1058 can fundamentally change the educational system in Washington State and the Nation.
Monte Benham of Kennewick is sponsor of I-1058 (WeThePeopleOfWA.org)