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Category Archives: State Sovereignty

To Representatives of the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education Re HB 578

By Mary Byrne

As a member of the Social Studies 6-12 Academic Standards Work Group constituted by HB 1490, I’d like to applaud Representative Swan’s recognition of the need for ensuring students in Missouri understand their history and responsibility as American citizens in our republican form of government; and offer a recommendation to achieve a better educated Missouri student without high stakes testing in citizenship.

HB 578 Section 170.345.3 states,
. . . “The test required under subsection 2 of this section shall use the same one
10 hundred questions used by the USCIS that are administered to applicants for United States
11 citizenship. In order to receive a passing score on the test, the student shall answer at least
12 sixty of the one hundred questions correctly.

As you are aware, Arizona passed a similar bill, and in fact, a national organization, Campaign for Civic Mission of Schools (CCMS), is promoting similar legislation throughout the country. CCMS is partnered with Pearson, a testing corporation that profits from increased testing in schools. The goal is worthy of your attention, however, you may not be aware of background information that, when explained, will support what should be a substantive, long-term alternative to a potentially expensive, high-stakes test.

(1) Please note the unintended negative effects of the testing approach to assuring good citizenship discussed by Peter Levine, associate dean for research at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service:

250px-AP_of_Missouri_State_Capitol_Building[1]“Requiring students to pass the citizenship exam will reduce both the amount and the quality of civic education in our schools. The test is easy. You can see all the questions and answers in advance and just memorize the right choices. If passing this exam comes to be seen as adequate preparation for citizenship, schools will notice that their students can pass after cramming for a couple of hours. They will cut their semester-long civics courses as unnecessary preparation. They will prefer to dedicate that semester to math or science, which involve much more sophisticated and challenging tests.
Requiring the citizenship exam would make sense if our students didn’t already study civics or face tests. It would establish a floor, a minimal level of competence. But more than 90% of recent high school graduates have spent a semester in a civics course, and most have also spent a year on U.S. history. Their teachers gave them tests. In many states http://www.civicyouth.org/maps/state-civic-ed/index.html, they also faced a standardized test on civics or social studies. Then why do so many adults fail basic questions about the U.S. political system?  Because we have forgotten what we learned in civics class. Too often, the subject wasn’t inspiring or challenging and didn’t build habits of following and discussing the news. The problem with civics is not that we fail to teach it. The problem is that civics is often viewed as a set of disconnected facts, not as a challenging and inspiring subject that will continue to interest us after high school. Arizona’s measure requiring that students pass the citizenship test will make that problem worse. The citizenship exam requires, for instance, that you know that “27 http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_amendments_11-27.html” is the correct answer when you’re asked how many constitutional amendments have been passed. You don’t need to understand reasons for or against those amendments, or have any sense of why they were important. A month after students pass this test, they will forget the number 27. But they might retain the message that being a good citizen is a matter of memorizing some random information. That seems like an excellent way to turn people off. http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/02/08/citizenship-civics-social-studies-editorials-debates/23088621/

(2)  No Child Left Behind and it’s testing requirements for federal funding is at least partially responsible for emphasizing two academic subject areas, mathematics and English, while relegating knowledge and skills in history and government to the periphery of K-12 instruction. No state level legislation mandating a 100-question citizenship test will correct the neglect of teaching our children about their history and government in a meaningful way. (See Imperiling the Republic http://pioneerinstitute.org/download/imperiling-the-republic-the-fate-of-u-s-history-instruction-under-common-core/)

(3) Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, Missourians have been misinformed about their government. When the social studies standards were developed, Marc Tucker’s National Center on Education and the Economy, a Carnegie-funded non-governmental organization in Washington, DC provided consultation. The Show-Me Social Studies Standards (See Appendix A attached) expect students to know that the U.S. is a constitutional democracy. Though familiarity with the U.S. Constitution is included in the body of the social studies standards, even teachers are not familiar with Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution that states, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, . . . ” Thomas Jefferson said, our form of government was a democratical republic — the emphasis being a republic is representative form of government, rather than a democracy. A most disturbing cause for this misinformation and incorrect teaching of American students about American form of government can be traced to the Carnegie-funded publication of the American Historical Association. (See Report of the Commission of Social Studies (see highlighted sections), and Contrarians Chapter 1 attached). Similar misinformation is perpetuated in the College Board’s newly revised AP American History course.  (See President of the National Association of Scholars, Peter Wood’s discussion of the misinformation in AP History http://www.nas.org/articles/the_new_ap_history_a_preliminary_reportand http://www.nas.org/articles/update_on_ap_us_history) Again, no state level legislation mandating a 100-question citizenship test will correct the neglect of teaching our children about their history and government in a truthful and meaningful way.

The  Missouri State Board of Education is, at least partially, responsible for ongoing dissemination of misinformation and promulgating sub-standard social studies standards. I am aware of at least one former Missouri school board member who on three occasions contacted the state board of education to put a correction of the standards on the board agenda; however, the correction was never made. I am also aware of another Missouri citizen who contacted DESE about the error, but no remedy was offered. Only in 2015, due to pressure from legislators, instigated by questions from the academic standards work groups in social studies, has the state board made an effort to correct the error of identifying the American form of government as a constitutional democracy. (See January State Board of Ed. agenda — SocStudAcademicStandards attached)

Attached is a Thomas B. Fordham Institute report rating Missouri’s Show-Me Social Studies Standards with an F.(see SOSS MO attached) Although the method of review was not rigorous by research-method standards,  competent professionals in history reviewing Missouri’s social studies standards gave them a very poor rating indeed. It should be evident that teaching Missouri’s students using high standards for knowledge and skills in history, government, and American citizenship throughout their K-12 education will produce more substantive and lasting competence for participation in America’s exceptional form of government than the test required in the bill.

(4) Also of note is that coursework in American history, government, and civics is not expected in the liberal arts education of postsecondary education program. If America is to cultivate well-educated leaders for future service in our government (which is the purpose of publically funded education as per our Missouri Constitution Article IX, Section 1a), state boards of education must ensure that a liberal arts education includes substantive study of the unique history and structure of our American government. (Losing America’s Memory attached).

Conclusion: Though HB 578 is well-intended, the requirement to make high school graduation contingent on a test for assessment knowledge of citizenship will not likely achieve the intended goal; and potentially has unknown costs to school districts as students take the test multiple times to get a passing score.

Recommendations for improving Missouri students’ knowledge and competence in citizenship are:

1. development of social studies standards that expect accurate and factual knowledge as well as competence in research skills from K through 12; and

2. work to reduce federal intrusion in state education testing and develop statewide testing that emphasizes history and civics throughout grades  K-12 along with reading, math, and science;

3. exit from College Board’s AP course in American history which omits important information about events and values that are the foundation of American liberty and government;

4. postsecondary coursework in American history and government for a liberal arts education of all postsecondary undergraduates.

I am pleased to answer any questions you may have regarding my testimony. Thank you for your consideration of this information.

Mary Byrne, Ed.D.

Addendum:

Please be aware that Pearson, a testing and publishing corporation, is a major influence in promoting legislation that will increase testing (especially multiple opportunities of testing, which increases the cost to school districts)
http://www.pearsoned.com/news/pearson-and-campaign-for-the-civic-mission-of-schools-partner-to-accelerate-quality-civics-education/

Pearson partners with the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, an organization promoting the national campaign for high stakes testing in citizenship

http://www.civicmissionofschools.org/

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Education, State Sovereignty

 

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Do You Know Your State’s Preamble?

Received via e-mail:

h/t si.edu

Alabama 1901, Preamble:

  • We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution..

Alaska 1956, Preamble:

  • We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.

Arizona 1911, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of Arizona , grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution…

Arkansas 1874, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government…

California 1879, Preamble:

  • We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom…

Colorado 1876, Preamble:

  • We, the people of Colorado , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe…

Connecticut 1818, Preamble:

  • The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.

Delaware 1897, Preamble:

  • Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.

Florida 1885, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of Florida , grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution…

Georgia 1777, Preamble:

  • We, the people of Georgia , relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution…

Hawaii 1959, Preamble:

  • We, the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance … Establish this Constitution.

Idaho 1889, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.

Illinois 1870, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil , political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

Indiana 1851, Preamble:

  • We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.

Iowa 1857, Preamble:

  • We, the People of the State of Iowa , grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution.

Kansas 1859, Preamble:

  • We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.

Kentucky 1891, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties..

Louisiana 1921, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of Louisiana , grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.

Maine 1820, Preamble:

  • We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity … And imploring His aid and direction.

Maryland 1776, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the state of Maryland , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty…

Massachusetts 1780, Preamble:

  • We…the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction

Michigan 1908, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of Michigan , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, establish this Constitution.

Minnesota, 1857, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of Minnesota , grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:

Mississippi 1890, Preamble:

  • We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

Missouri 1845, Preamble:

  • We, the people of Missouri , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness- Establish this Constitution…

Montana 1889, Preamble:

  • We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution..

Nebraska 1875, Preamble:

  • We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom. Establish this Constitution.

Nevada 1864, Preamble:

  • We the people of the State of Nevada , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, establish this Constitution…

New Hampshire 1792, Part I.. Art. I. Sec. V:

  • Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

New Jersey 1844, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

New Mexico 1911, Preamble:

  • We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty..

New York 1846, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.

North Carolina 1868, Preamble:

  • We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those…

North Dakota 1889, Preamble:

  • We, the people of North Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain…

Ohio 1852, Preamble:

  • We the people of the state of Ohio , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common.

Oklahoma 1907, Preamble:

  • Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty, establish this

Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2.:

  • All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences

Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble:

  • We, the people of Pennsylvania , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance…

Rhode Island 1842, Preamble:

  • We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing….

South Carolina, 1778, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

South Dakota 1889, Preamble:

  • We, the people of South Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties.

Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III:

  • That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience…

Texas 1845, Preamble:

  • We the People of the Republic of Texas , acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.

Utah 1896, Preamble:

  • Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.

Vermont 1777, Preamble:

  • Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man.

Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI:

  • Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other

Washington 1889, Preamble:

  • We the People of the State of Washington , grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution

West Virginia 1872, Preamble:

  • Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ….

Wisconsin 1848, Preamble:

  • We, the people of Wisconsin , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility….

Wyoming 1890, Preamble:

  • We, the people of the State of Wyoming , grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties, establish this Constitution…

After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, the ACLU and the out-of-control federal courts are wrong! (Please note that at no time is anyone told that they MUST worship God.)

Let us bring God back into America !

GOD BLESS AMERICA !

 

 
 

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The Tea Party Is Anti-Government

I was reading this article, and stopped quickly to offer the retort below:

 

Stopped wasting my time reading this tripe when you claim the Tea Party is “anti-government”.  Makes me think you WORK for the left-wing mass media.  This is the same meme they advance daily.

Have you been to a Tea Party to see what the speakers and attendees say and do?  Or do you just write based on what the State Run Media spoon feeds to you after they find the one guy in the crowd with a sign that can loosely be called racist — before he got chased off.

Tea Party members generally believe (IMHO) that left-wing equals more government control, more taxes, more rules, regulations, control, more taxes, less freedom, more people on the dole.  That is the mode of operations of most Democrats and about half the Republican party.

Tea Party members are NOT anti-government.  They believe in measured government especially in the sphere of the Federal Government.  Items needing government control, not specifically listed in the Constitution, are left to the Government of the State and to the people.   Federalism.  That’s the mode of some Republicans and a few Democrats.

Did you get that?  We understand and believe in the necessary evil of Government.  We are anti-big-controlling-marxist-socialist-hitlarian-taxing-spending-wasting-communist-corrupt-giant government.

But, if you aren’t studied enough to know these basic facts about the Tea Party, you probably aren’t the best guy to go around commenting on their ideals.

FWIW, many of us are more upset with the Republicans than we are with the Democrats.

I also went to the 10/2 One Nation Rally with all the usual suspects (liberals / left-wingers / progressives) and the Communists / Socialists / Marxists / Anarchists!  And, the main thing I learned there is that we all have the same basic goal:  The ability for someone to work and have a decent life.

The difference is in the means by which we would make that happen.  It seems those on the left think that the fruit of the rich man’s labor should be taken from them by force and redistributed to the less wealthy.  Obviously, that is Obama’s ideal.

Those on the right think that they should be able to keep the fruits of their labor with minimal taxation and minimal government.  They believe regulations should be kept at a minimum to allow the poor / middle class to work hard to create their own wealth.  We right-wingers hate the idea of crony capitalism and blame it for many of the ills that plague our country.

And, it isn’t just the Republicans who engage in crony capitalism.  Look up the facts of how much money Obama got from Big Oil and Wall Street.  Take a look at how many Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan execs are flowing in and out of his Administration.

Yes, I understand that there are various flavors of liberal, left, progressive.

Attack me at will.

 

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Teaching Your Child Pedophilia Is Okay

Imagine, in January 2010, you made plans to take your family over the oceans and through the mountains to visit your parents on Thanksgiving Day.  You arrive at the airport to take your trip and decide to opt out of being irradiated.  Thus, you, your wife, and your three-year-old child are greeted with a pat-down that includes aggressive fondling of genitalia.

For three years, you have been teaching your child that NO ONE is allowed to touch their private parts.  NO ONE.  Only under medical circumstances are your parents even allowed to touch their genitalia!  And, the pediatrician, in the presence of the parents, are allowed to examine the child… …rarely in the sexually related areas.  No matter what anyone says (“I’m a police officer” / “I’m a priest”), no one is allowed to touch you.

In comes the TSA.  You are now expected to teach your three-year-old child that certain people ARE allowed to touch their private parts.  These people with blue gloves, uniforms, and badges can touch (through their clothes) the penis, vagina, anus, and breasts.

People can steal their way into our country unmolested, but if you want to visit your Grandmother or Grandfather in a state far away, you have to endure this sexual abuse on behalf of your government.

State pedophilia and sexual battery laws must be used to stop these egregious attacks on our bodies and the 4th Amendment.  Who will be the first State Attorney General to file for an injunction?!?

Remember kids, “People with the blue gloves can touch your private parts. ”

“What did you say daddy?  People can touch my private parts?  Okay.”

 

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5 Miles for Proposition “C”

On July 3rd, Michelle Moore and I decided to do ‘something’ in the O’Fallon, Missouri parade.  We thought we would be walking for our friend Dave Evans who is running for State Representative in the 19th District.  But as we walked about 2 miles from the midpoint of the parade to where (we were told) Dave was starting from, we instead found Judy Sofka and Annette Read — two great patriots in the St. Louis area!  Never did see Dave.

We chatted with them for a while, and we met Casey (I think) who is a teacher and great patriot fighting the battle against Obama’s Race To The Top (Race to the Trough) takeover of the public school system.  We soon realized that Judy and Annette were all by their lonesome and decided to join them for the parade.

We took turns carrying the sign that Jay Harris had helped create and passed out over 1000 fliers telling about Proposition C / Healthcare Freedom Act.  Having marched in parades as a saxophone player and cub scout troop member, this was the most fun I’ve had in a parade to date.  We calculated that our total walk for the morning was about 5 miles.

More information available at the Missourians For Healthcare Freedom web site.

We were asked not to hand out fliers, so I just hawked them loudly and handed them to folks who requested them.  I heard one woman sitting in her chair protest, “We don’t need that.”  We laughed sadly at her ignorance and prayed that the voters in Missouri would choose freedom.

Afternoon nap required!

 
 

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A Letter To Attorney General Chris Koster

Greetings Mr. Koster,

I’m writing to you today to ask you to defend my children, my family, me and all Missourians against the destruction of my rights and freedoms by the Federal Government. As you know the Congress finalized the vote on Sunday to make me illegal just for being alive… …unless I submit to their health care requirements.

If this is not in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the document that created the Federal Government from the States, then I don’t know what is. Will it be when they force me to buy a certain car? Will it be when they force me to buy certain food? Will it be when they force me to buy a certain light bulbs?

It is a slippery slope that we are on if we do not stop this usurpation of our freedoms.

I ask you along with full force of the State of Missouri to fight this encroachment on freedom through law suit, legislation, and resolution.

Thank you,
Brian Bollmann
Jackson, Missouri

In God We Trust

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2010 in Health Care, State Sovereignty