Liberty seems to be an unquestionable tenet in the founding of our nation. The Virginia Declaration of Rights mentions “the enjoyment of life and liberty” in its opening article. The Pledge of Allegiance cites “one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” And of course, the Declaration of Independence embeds the founding principles upon which our nation was built thusly:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
A proposed set of Common Core standards in New York State however, seems to embrace a more progressive view of our nation’s founding, completely omitting the concept of liberty, and instead seeks to teach children that the nation was built on “the democratic principles of equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules.”
The state of New York is currently proposing a set of Common Core social studies standards for kindergarten through 8th grade students.
Among the standards is how students will learn about the history of America. On page 32, the draft document deals with “civic ideals and practices.”
“The United States is founded on the principles of democracy, and these principles are reflected in all types of communities,” it reads.
That’s fair enough, we suppose. The early United States had a very limited democratic process, with most states limiting voting rights to male property owners. Only later was the ability to vote and participate in government extended to average men and eventually women.
But then the social studies draft takes a noticeably progressive turn.
“The United States is founded on the democratic principles of equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules,” the standards document says.
Further, “Students will explore democratic principles such as dignity for all, equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules, and how those principles are applied to their community,” it reads.
What happened to “liberty”? You know, a word that actually appears in the Declaration of Independence? It’s a word that means more than just about any other word in our national history. It refers to personal freedom, and the right of citizens to live their lives without the intrusion of tyrannical government.
Indeed, the section of the proposed standards designed for the Grade 2 curriculum can be seen below. The section is titled, “Grade 2: My Community and Other Communities” and the particular section is labeled 2.1, “Civic Ideals and Practices.”
I dare say that had the Founding Fathers held more respect for the authority and rules of men, rather than their God-given right to liberty, there never would have been a founding to speak of.