News of Otsego County

Declaration of Independence

Geertgens: Writer explains ‘what schools should teach’


Writer explains ‘what
schools should teach’

In a previous essay, I asked; Why Do We Have Schools?

Parents and other family members took on the major responsibility for teaching children whatever it was they thought they should know. As in much of the animal kingdom, the adults play a very important role in teaching their young what they need to know to survive. We are born and eventually we die. Those who best learn how to survive, usually live the longest. But is that really true for us humans?

My mother used to say, “ignorance is bliss.” There are times that I believe her, but in most cases, ignorance will not get you very far in life. When settlers first came to the New World, they embarked on a bold adventure. There were new challenges and survival was just one of them. After living in relative freedom for over 100 years, the rule of the King began to take its toll on some of those freedoms. From this frustration came the words; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Where does that quote come from? If you cannot answer that question, then our schools have failed. The founding fathers realized that if each generation after them were not taught about the reasons for the revolution and the documents developed as a result of their frustrations with the king, then the experiment would fail. They knew the importance of teaching the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States to future generations. That is one answer to the title question.

In the early days of our country, our society had that role. Parents had that role.

Read Declaration Of Independence; Then, Stand Up For It
Letter from JAY FLEISHER

Read Declaration

Of Independence;

Then, Stand Up For It

To the Editor:

The Fourth of July has come and gone.  Mine was special.  It wasn’t the parade or the fireworks.  It was the reading of the Declaration of Independence by 46 community volunteers at the Shakespeare & Company facility in Lenox, Mass.

If you haven’t read the Declaration of Independence for many years (I sure haven’t) it was a real eye opener.  Phrase after phrase, line after line, document the reasons for why the 13 colonies chose to declare independence from the King of Great Britain, George III.  Each reason rang true with stunning clarity.

In this document our Founding Fathers enumerated multiple examples of oppression that sadly apply as well today as they did in 1776.  Reference to freedom of speech, equality for all regardless of race and religion, respect for the rights of immigrants, refusal to assent to laws, obstructing the administration of justice, cutting off trade with foreign nations, and excited domestic violence.

All of these oppressive acts continue today, and are defended by many current elected officials who function with a greater interest in their own political careers than that of the people and the nation they were elected to represent.

Do I sound angry?  You’re damn right, I am angry.  Angry with elected officials, Republican and Democrat, who ignore the principles and guidance of the Declaration of Independence.

If you haven’t read the Declaration of Independence recently, I encourage you, even challenge you to read it with an open mind, then ask yourself if America is currently living up to the tenets described by this historic declaration.

Stand proud by standing up for America – an America described by the Declaration of Independence.


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