COMMENTARY | Ohio legislators are taking bold steps to make sure students have the opportunity to learn about the United States Constitution and the founding fathers. While the common-sense legislation will increase the quality of education, it is frustrating that a law is necessary to ensure that students will be taught about the nation's founding documents.
Legislation enforcing a thorough American history curriculum should not be controversial, but Democrats interviewed by the Columbus Dispatch are once again defying reason and opposing Ohio Senate Bill 165.
The movement behind the bill sprang not from some vast right-wing conspiracy but from a desire to improve Ohio's history education programs. The Dispatch reports that the legislation was initiated after a Fordham Foundation report chastised current curriculum standards. If students do not understand the rights and restrictions imposed by the Constitution, they cannot become informed and responsible citizens.
Democrats are vehemently opposed to the teaching of the original texts of the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the state constitution, according to the Dispatch. While the law will mandate the original versions of the documents, it does not prohibit teaching students about amendments. Democrats concerned that an "emphasis" will not be placed on voting rights, women's and civil rights are simply seeking to turn an honest attempt to instill knowledge and respect for American history into a partisan issue.
The role and size of government has been so distorted during the past three decades, students do not comprehend the basic concepts for governance drafted in the original documents. The founding fathers were not saints, but they were learned men of their time. Teaching the original documents and later amendments that addressed the issues of slavery, equal rights and changes to voting requirements will foster important dialogue between teachers and students.
Students must discover how the country began before they can comprehend how far the nation has come or which path to follow in the future. Today's youth will one day become the nation's leaders, it the responsibility of Ohio teachers to prepare them. Legislators should be heralded for their willingness to enhance student knowledge of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
Perhaps liberals fear that an in-depth study of the Constitution will result in fewer future followers. The era of big government has caused massive debt increases and caused an entire generation to become dependent upon the state for their very survival.