Constitution courses

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Leatherneck for Life, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. Leatherneck for Life

    Leatherneck for Life Rookie

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    I think that in all educational establishments in the United States, there should be a mandatory course in the Constitution on all levels of primary and secondary education. I believe that knowledge of our rights and duties as citizens, along with knowledge of each branch of government and what they can and cannot do is very important. Skimming over the Constitution in history classes is a joke. I think it should be studied in depth. What are your thoughts?
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    During my first year at my school (this is now my 4th year) my P said I had to teach about the constitution for one day, in all class periods (I teach English), it was some kind of a mandated Constitution Day. I thought that was pretty good, but then I was never told again. I think our students need it, especially if it doesn't get much focus in history classes.
     
  4. Leatherneck for Life

    Leatherneck for Life Rookie

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    I teach juniors and seniors. They are that crucial age where they stand on the threshold of adulthood. The eighteen-year-old seniors; I encouraged them to vote in the election and primaries. These are the years where I think knowledge of the Constitution is of utmost importance. We have mandatory government courses at my school, but again, no real focus on the Constitution.
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Connoisseur

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    I completely agree.
     
  6. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    September 17 is Constitution/Citizenship Day in remembrance of the signing of the Constitution. Citizenship Day is for younger students, Constitution Day is for older students. The Constitution Center and Bill of Rights Institute are great resources if you ever are required to teach about the Constitution again :)

    I am on the curriculum team for my district in Social Studies. I lobbied to transform 8th grade from American History 1 to Civics & Government. I was quite disappointed that I didn't have more supporters. I teach the Constitution in 8th grade and it's by far my longest unit. I cover the history behind the Constitution, the Preamble, the Bill of Rights, and all 3 branches, their powers, and their checks and balances. I completely agree with you that it gets overlooked in many schools. I am lucky that I have the freedom to really teach about it because it's important to me. Hopefully their knowledge will stick with them in later years.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    My state requires civics to be taught in middle school and government in HS. The only issue I've seen is how different teachers interpret the content.

    Teaching the constitution and the founding documents (and primary sources) is important. If people could only agree on what they mean.
     
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  8. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    I couldn't agree more leatherneck. At my school, the 7/8 graders go through the constitution in depth and have to pass a constitution test at the end of the year. Their teacher knows a lot about the constitution. Sadly, however, less and less easily influenced students have no idea what is in the constitution.
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Ohio requires a semester of American Government, which studies the Constitution and all it affects pretty closely. Passing a comprehensive state exam on this class is a graduation requirement.
     
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  10. Backroads

    Backroads Connoisseur

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    I suppose the ideal would be a way to present all the founding documents as what they are without putting too much teacher interpretation into it. That's probably almost impossible to do by nature of being human.
     
  11. Backroads

    Backroads Connoisseur

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    I remember 5th grade having Civicis and Government as one of our regular classes. I recall learning a lot of the constitutional basics. This was in the 90s. But the same school no longer teaches it.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Wouldn't that be the same for any course then?
     
  13. Backroads

    Backroads Connoisseur

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    True, but I think something like government interpretation tends to gain a more emotional bias than other subjects.
     
  14. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Rookie

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    It seems like I had a lot of constitution courses compared to what others have said. I had constitution units or courses in 5th, 7th, 8th (state), and 10th grades, plus AP gov. 7th, 8th, and 10th grades had tests required for promotion to the next grade. The tests were pure memorization though, no real understanding required. My mother had to pass a constitution test for her teaching certificate, but that was the mid '70s.

    Even with the number of times it was covered here, many of my classmates didn't retain any of the information. I think a major barrier to understanding is the language. At least for the middle schoolers I've had, the language is way over their ability to understand. I imagine there's a modern simplified English version out there, but I've never seen one in a classroom.
     
  15. Leatherneck for Life

    Leatherneck for Life Rookie

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    It is very much possible to teach something without hammering our political beliefs on the students' heads. For example, one shouldn't take the second amendment (one of, if not the most hotly contested ones) and say, "SEE, IT SAYS 'MILITIA'. GUN CONTROL, DAMMIT!" or alternatively, "RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS; THE GOVERNMENT IS TAKING OUR GUNS!". We can approach it with an unbiased perspective and ask the students to interpret what it means. A debate can be organized and as the teacher (and the adult), we are the impartial mediators. Hell, when I was in high school, my government teacher absolutely refused to let us know her own political beliefs or let it influence our thoughts. Her words, not mine.

    Side note: In 2007, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I may not wear the uniform of a US Marine anymore, but I still take that oath very seriously.
     
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  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Agreed , and again, thank you for your service.

    There is a MASSIVE difference between being partisan and being educated on both sides of every issue. It's much better to teach all aspects of each part of the Constitution, including the history and implementation of each amendment, and then let students make their own decisions based upon that data.
     
  17. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jan 5, 2017

    Most courses in government and/or Constitution are awful and focus on having kids memorize ridiculous things like how old a president has to be. I'd absolutely advocate for a government course that teaches what the Constitution does but just asking kids to take a class on it is not going to benefit anyone.
     
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  18. Leatherneck for Life

    Leatherneck for Life Rookie

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    Well, what I'm talking about would teach the important things. Not how old a Senator or the PResident must be, but what he or she can and cannot do. That's just an example.
     
  19. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    My eighth grade tutoring student today had to write an essay on forming a new government: why the Articles of Confederation were not adequate, what the Great Compromise and the 3/5 rule were all about, how the branches of government were decided on, etc. Then, she had to write about why she thinks it is difficult for large groups of people to compromise and relate her view to a current-day problem. She had text to read and did further research. This is a project-based course and I think it was more valuable than merely reading and responding to multiple choice test questions.
     
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  20. Education4all

    Education4all Rookie

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    Jan 8, 2017

    We definitely need to teach about our founding. Students should be exposed to it very early and continue through all their years in the education system. They need to be well versed in the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Federalist Papers. Students need to understand the reason we exist and the greatness of America. We need more nationalism in the schools.

    Public schools have been overrun by progressive politics and are indoctrinating students to believe that we live in some one world community and are a one world citizen. Schools do more harm than good preparing students to live in a free market capitalistic America. It is as if schools are preparing students for some socialist utopia which will never exist. Hence, probably why so many young adults these days feel so entitled.

    The school system has been so politically correct it is pathetic. They walk on egg shells and what have we received? Teachers are more disrespected and looked down upon than any other time. It is time we start having educational institutions that promote American nationalism, teaching students their history and to be proud of it, while preparing them to be successful in life.
     
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