Through the events of 9/11, many Americans have learned the true meaning of patriotism. The war on terrorism has affected everyone in one way or another, and we have truly come together as a nation to get through these difficult times. Patriotism, for many of us, has been a strength in a time of seeming darkness.
Patriotism is a very important principle, but should it be taught as a unit in Colorado public schools?
A bill proposed for the state Senate would require just this.
Senate Bill 136, written by Jeff Conway, would add a subsection to the existing K-12 education requirements requiring each public school in the state to teach a unit on patriotism in each grade level. Under the change, teachers would be required to give a historical review of what it means to be an American and discuss the rights, privileges, and responsibilities involved with United States citizenship. This instruction would have to be implemented in every year of public schooling.
We at the Collegian believe that understanding the true principles behind patriotism isn’t something that can be taught in a class.
You can teach about our country’s history and current problems, but you can’t teach feelings.
Patriotism is defined as the love and devotion for one’s country. Love and devotion aren’t facts or figures that can be memorized or written in textbooks. They are intense feelings that can’t be forced.
Requiring a course that tells people how to feel goes against the main principle on which our country was founded: freedom.
As far as discussing rights, privileges, and responsibilities involved with citizenship and historical reviews of our country, these points are already covered in the schools. Each student attending public high school in Colorado is required to take a civics course and at least one year of American history before they graduate. We believe that the information that can be taught about patriotism would be covered in these classes. Patriotism could be incorporated into the curriculum for younger students without making it a requirement.
Perhaps Colorado legislators should focus on their own learning; a bill requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance was postponed indefinitely on Feb.5, showing that motions to increase patriotism haven’t succeeded in the past.
We feel that not only that this bill proposes an inappropriate requirement, but that it is also wasting our legislature’s time. When there are other pressing issues dealing with both education and national security, their time could be used more effectively.