Independence Day in Public Schools

July 3, 2007

by Tammy Drennan

I think that Independence Day should not be commemorated in public schools. It’s like celebrating the Nativity at a meeting of atheists – they don’t believe in it.

Maybe instead of celebrating the rejection of tyranny and the adoption of a new form of government – a restrained and limited one, students would be better off debating the meaning of liberty.

They could research and discuss the role of government in defining the future and compelling citizens to conform to it. They could compare the education philosophies of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Castro’s Cuba, modern-day China and the United States.

Maybe their teachers, school board members and school union representatives could sit on a panel and take questions from the students. The students might ask such things as:

• How did America become such a sought-after country before compulsory state schooling?
• Why did the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals say that parents’ rights ended the moment their children walked through public school doors each morning?
• Why is the state allowed to pressure businesses into not hiring people without high school diplomas?
• What are the implications of the state offering rewards to citizens for turning in truants?
• Are we really a free people when the state can control our first twelve years of intellectual and social development?

There are many more questions, of course, but those are a few students should have the right to ask and have answered.

Do we still live in a free country? I think it would be more accurate to say that we still live in a country with the option of freedom. The greatest threat to that freedom is our unwillingness to exercise it. The unexercised muscle becomes weak and finally useless. Unexercised liberty does the same.

Let’s teach our children how to embrace their liberty and make it strong.