I had the opportunity over fall break to visit Gettysburg and Valley Forge in Pennsylvania. My feelings of patriotism increased on those memorable American History sites; also my gratitude for those that have sacrificed so much to obtain and keep the many freedoms of our country we enjoy. I am reminded of several comments I have heard challenging our youth’s patriotism and their knowledge of the Constitution of the United States. Several have stated boldly that these topics are not taught or respected in schools anymore. I cannot speak for other schools and districts, but the schools in Wickenburg Unified School District still teach and hold these ideals to be most important.
Here’s a few examples:
Teaching about the Constitution begins heavily in Grade 5. How the Constitution was created and the principles within the document, the branches of the government and the structure of the national government.
The U.S Constitution is built into the seventh- and eight-grade Social Studies curriculum. Discussions on how it was formed and its content, how it applies to our government and what rights Americans have because of it are all taught and tested.
Required credits for high school graduation:
1 credit American History
.5 credit Economics
.5 credit American/Arizona Government
1 credit World History/Geography
At Wickenburg High School American History’s entire course curriculum is based on the U.S. Constitution. Students are taught what problems existed before the Constitution existed and how it was ratified and how the government is set up as a result of the Constitutional Convention. They cover the Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches of the government. Government students actually read the U.S. Constitution, Article by Article, and are tested on the material.
Per Arizona Department of Education, all our high school graduates are required to pass a civics test identical to the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Students at all levels are taught the values and principles that are basic to American constitutional democracy and the republic, such as individual rights, popular sovereignty, common good, patriotism, rule of law, freedom of conscience and expression, privacy and civil society, justice, representative government, checks and balances, freedom of religion, civilian control of the military, and equality.
Every day the Pledge of Allegiance is recited out loud in ALL grades, K-12. I am always moved when hearing an entire student body, hats off and hand over heart, state allegiance to our country.
Veterans Day was Monday and our schools participated in activities honoring our veterans. Elementary schools created walls honoring family members who have served in the military. In addition, we as individuals can look for ways to teach and honor our country and those that serve and sacrifice to keep our freedoms.