New Learning Path Is Back to History; Bush Announces Schooling initiatives.(NATION)(CULTURE, ET CETERA)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 19, 2002 | Go to article overview

New Learning Path Is Back to History; Bush Announces Schooling initiatives.(NATION)(CULTURE, ET CETERA)


Byline: Josh Earl, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Karl Marx may have helped draft the Constitution, as far as some Americans are concerned.

A survey conducted by Columbia Law School found that 35 percent of the 1,012 voting-age residents polled thought the nation's founding document contained the Marxist dictum: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

On Tuesday, President Bush marked the Constitution's 215th anniversary by announcing programs to combat such historical amnesia.

"Our founders believed the study of history and citizenship should be at the core of every American's education," he said. "Yet today, our children have large and disturbing gaps in their knowledge of history.

"The primary responsibility for teaching history and civics rests with our elementary and secondary schools, and they've got to do their job. The federal government can help" with three initiatives, he said.

The first, called "We the People," will be headed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and will promote American history and civic education through grants, teacher-training seminars, a lecture series and a national essay contest.

"People increasingly are forgetting what shaped their past and led to a national identity," NEH Chairman Bruce Cole said. "When a nation fails to know why it exists and what it stands for, it cannot be expected to long endure."

The National Archives is supervising "Our Documents," the second initiative, which will provide classrooms with Internet access to 100 of the nation's most significant documents. It also will provide history lesson plans to teachers.

The third initiative is a forum on American history and civics, scheduled to convene early next year at the White House. …

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