would you believe
- Subject: would you believe
- From: kber <kber@EARTHLINK.NET>
- Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002 21:25:22 -0500
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
that knowledge of the constitution is not a necessary qualification for
being a legislator in Florida? I have pasted below a news clip about a
bill in the state of Florida. My comments will appear at the end.
Florida Legislation Update
Fort Walton Beach, FL - January 14,
A bill calling for reciting a
portion of the Declaration of Independence in each school in
the State of Florida, has been
introduced by State Representative Jerry Melvin (R-Fort
"HB 885 has been introduced to
stress the importance to reaffirm the American ideals of
individual liberty and to become
familiar with the fundamental human principles of
government upon which the new
nation was to be founded," Melvin said.
The portion to be recited is: "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 purs8uit of Happiness. That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among
Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
"I love this country and am proud
of the foundations our Founding Fathers used in putting
together a Constitution and
Government unequaled in history," Melvin said, "and I am
concerned that present day students
are not given sufficient instructions on such
documents as our Constitution and
Bill of Rights."
Melvin said he hoped other House
and Senate members will cosponsor the measure.
During the first special session in
October, 2001, 64 House members were shown as
sponsors of an identical bill.
721-R Second St. NE ? Washington,
202-544-9555 ? 202-544-9724 (fax) ?
© 2000, Declaration Foundation ? ®
All rights reserved.
Technology/Design by Gen-X
Now, I admit I am not a lawyer, although I did teach government for 3
years. But I can read. The 1943 Pledge of Allegiance case West Virginia
v Barnette, was decided not on the freedom of religion grounds many had
expected (the case originated because Jehovah's Witnesses view pledging
to the flag as violating the rules on a gravne image found in the Ten
Commnadmnets) but on free speech grounds - the decision makes clear
that freedom fo speech includes the right not to speak. The state (of
which a public school is considered a part) can therefore not compel any
recitation that is not part of instruction. it doesn't matter if its
the Pledge, the Declaration, the Constitution... the principal
established in the Barnette case is the same.
Why is it that we peridocially have to go through the same garbage -
the assumption is that if we don't compel such mass recitation somehow
our children won't learn?
next we will compel sutdents to recite our test pep rally words... oops,
aren't some schools already doing that? Hmmm, maybe the problem is
deepr than I thought.
and by the way -- the Pledge ws written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, an
avowed socialist, as part of the celberation of 400 years since
Columbus. Until 1940 the compulsory recitation began with the hand over
the heart on "I pledge allegiance" with the arm then being extended in
the direction of the national emblem on the words "to the flag." Thry
dooing it and you might see the problem.
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