It appears that at Yale, a student did an experiment using his fellow classmates. He videotaped students as he discussed the petition he was attempting to have them sign. The petition was asking students to agree that the First Ammendment should be abolished. The irony? If the First Ammendment were abolished, the right to petition (or to speak freely at all!) would be gone.
In case you need to be refreshed, here is the First Ammendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I was shocked at the response of student after student who thought this was a good idea. And better yet, they were Yale students. As the Fox News anchor pointed out, this is where we educate our future Presidents, Supreme Court Justices and Judges. This is a scary thought. I could comment on several levels of this discussion, but will restrain myself to just a couple. First, let’s get this one out of the way. Just because you are educated at an Ivy League school, does not guarantee intelligence or common sense. This may make my Ivy League school friends angry, but after seeing this video, I think it confirms my statement. I was a rebel in my younger days and did not apply to any Ivy League schools. Teachers and administrators suggested that I should apply to such a school as one of my ‘potential’ schools. However, I was just on the front end of the trend that encouraged high school students to create a “College Wish List” and to apply for 10+ schools, or to attend multiple seminars in the hopes of increasing SAT scores. The rebel in me wanted a school with a good music program and marching band and a school with sound, established Christian fellowship. My research was unable to uncover those things at an Ivy League school, so I opted for different educational institutions. I will never regret that decision and I guess that I have passed that on to my own children. I do believe that we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, but I don’t see that Ivy League schools are necessary to that end. We can do that at other institutions as well. So, be careful to elevate Ivy League students…they are normal people just like you and me and sometimes they do and say things that surprise us.
So, now let us return to this First Ammendment issue. I don’t blame the Ivy League school…instead, I blame the high school education of these students. Especially if they took AP Government and Civics. One of the greatest experiences my children ever had was the ongoing discussion at Chrsitiana Homeschool Academy about the various forms of government in our world. Each year they were reading about and evaluating the world as they worked through a chronological study of history. The senior year capped off that discussion with a thorough examination of the Consitution of the US, Federalist Papers and other books/documents that caused them to discuss world governments and governing styles. This fall, our 12th Grade Great Books tutor happened to wander over to the ‘lower school’ building and shared a story about her class. In the midst of the discussion about socialism, she asked all the students to get out their wallets. She asked them to give them to her and then promptly took out the money in each of those wallets. Only one student hesitated to hand over the money. As she tallied up the money, she then announced that she would keep most and would give a little to each of the students. Her point? They so easily gave her the wallets without QUESTIONNING why she was doing this. A week or so later, she did this again and some of the students still handed them over. Without question. That is the problem…WITHOUT QUESTION. We have become a culture/society that is doing things in a rote way, not examining and questionning what is going on around us. Have you examined where your tax money goes? Do you know how your donations are being used? What is going on in the Senate and House of Representatives today?
At Christiana, we require that our students READ and RE-READ the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, Supreme Court decisions and writings of the Founding Fathers. It is important that we all read and know these materials. Have you read the Constitution? Could you read the original Constitution? No, not an on-line transcript! The original? It is in cursive, which brings up another discussion for another time. Now, don’t misunderstand…I am not telling you that you have to go to Christiana, although we would welcome you! But, I think a sound homeschool education should include a close examination of our founding as a country. We should know where we have come from AND where we are going and should be part of the accountability process. Will we hold our leaders to that Constitution or will we slowly allow it to fade away as Yale students seemed so ready to do as evidenced on that video.
Some of you may counter my argument, saying that Public Schools teach this same thing. However, I went to public school and didn’t do a close examination of any of these documents. Maybe students get an introduction in AP Government and Civics, but not the day to day discussion and examination like one can do in a homeschool setting.
So, consider homeschooling in high school so that your children can take a close look at these wonderful documents and writings of our Founding Fathers. We have a unique and wonderful story in the United States, but many of our students cannot tell that story. And, if the Yale students had their way and abolished the First Amendment, it might bring an end to that story…just some things to think about!
-Kim Jernigan, Middle School Tutor