A student in Bryant School District in Arkansas brought home a worksheet that presented her with a scenario that referred to the Bill of Rights as “outdated” and that as part of a special committee she would need to throw out two of the Amendments.
The worksheet was handed out to Sixth grade students in a History class. According to the girl’s mother, Lela Spears, she has not received any government or civics classes and this was the first assignment dealing with the Constitution or Bill of Rights. The school district is participating in the embattled Common Core curriculum.
When asked if there was any portion of the Bill of Rights she would be willing to give up, the mother said
The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The amendments recognize a person’s inalienable rights to things such as free speech, due process, trial by jury, and the right to bear arms, as well as many other staples of traditional American values. They also establish limits on Federal power.
Question and Answer with Lela Spears:
How does the assignment make you feel about the type of education your child is receiving?
After she brought it home and explained her assignment to me, it made me question exactly what she was being taught. Where I can see a class using critical thinking skills to modernize the words, as to help them better understand the Amendments, giving an assignment to remove two then add two with little explanation as to why is upsetting. When I asked my child what the assignment was to teach her she had no idea. Only that she was TOLD to do it. She didn’t even understand what the Amendments meant. How can she make an informed decision when she doesn’t understand what she is “throwing out”? That was new to me. I also did not like the fact her teacher used, “you have been selected to help a special committee” bullshit.
Do you feel the Bill of Rights is “outdated?”
I wouldn’t say outdated in the sense that we need to throw out the Amendments and start fresh. I do think some of the wording could be modernized along with clarifying parts where there has been/can be misinterpretation.
Do you think that after this assignment your child might have believed that the government has the ability to change the Bill of Rights by some special committee, rather than by a 2/3 majority vote in the House and Senate?
Funny thing, she was never told how the Bill of Rights is amended; I do not believe that amended was even used in the class language, only “changed”. I read through the handouts she was given (they do not use a book for this class, nor take one home to study from, only handouts that are put in a box for their table to share and place in their binders), around 6 in total, and nothing about how an Amendment is ratified. I believe that, with the wording of the assignment, many children will think that the Bill of Rights is amended and can be changed by a “special” committee instead of an act of Congress. I know that my child will not think this is true since I have made it my mission to be very much involved in her education.
As more anecdotal evidence emerges concerning what will be taught under the Common Core, states are beginning to rethink their position on the program.