Monday, October 26, 2009
Massive national problems were the cause of the request. Their food was rationed to starving levels; they had to work with only the promise of pitiful pay; they were without medicine or proper medical care; they didn’t have proper clothes or blankets to protect them from the elements. Because of a weak Congress and uncooperative States, mounting national debt and run-away inflation were overwhelming.
Their only hope was in him, for he was a proven great leader. He understood them and their problems. Surely, as king, he would force changes to solve these monumental problems.
But George Washington would have none of it. He viewed such ideas “with abhorrence.” He described monarchical ideas as “big with the greatest mischiefs that can befall my country.”
His chastisement to those king seekers continued: “If you have any regard for your country, concern for yourself or posterity, or respect for me, … banish these thoughts from your mind, and never communicate, as from yourself or anyone else, a sentiment of the like nature.”
Washington knew that the solution to their very real, heart-breaking, and troubling problems must come in a “constitutional way.” But why? Why was it so important to rely on a constitution for the people to solve societal problems?
Washington and the other Founders had lived under a monarchy and were well read in the history of monarchies. They knew that all monarchies treat people the same – as their property without natural rights, to be treated by whim, and as “subjects” without any equality before the law.
But Washington knew that given the nature of a corruptible monarchical government, a written constitution would give equality before the law and protect the equality of rights for all its citizens. Thus, people – protected by a written constitution – will solve problems with intelligence and heart.
Therefore, in the words of Washington: “Let us have one [a constitution] by which our lives, liberties, and properties will be secured.” In addition, he said to make it “a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair.”
Consequently, Washington knew what guided his leadership method. “The Constitution of the United States, and the laws made under it, must mark the line of my official conduct.” As president, his method of leading “has uniformly been to overlook all personal, local, and partial considerations; to contemplate the United States as one great whole; … and to consult only the substantial and permanent interests of our country.”
No king ever showed such leadership. And to further separate him from kingship, Washington spoke against “employing influence. … Influence is no government.”
Given his understanding of kings, Washington warned: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Therefore, be careful of creating kings!
Undoubtedly, President George Washington would be appalled by any US president who would try to influence everything – from what we eat to what we drive, from where (and when) to see a doctor to where the next Olympic games should be held – that is, everything except for the Constitutional security of “our lives, liberties, and properties.”
Without question, he would be mortified, horrified, and disgusted to watch a “Pledge” video of anyone, and especially anyone with influence such as celebrities, which ends with this promise, “I pledge to be a servant to our President.” (Actual video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51kAw4OTlA0)
Was this the kind of leadership shown by George Washington? No. Understanding that “this Constitution is really … a government of the people” he claimed his role was “a servant of the public.” Not the other way around.
In contrast, kings demand, arbitrarily change or ignore laws for their own use, and influence inappropriately.
To counter today’s culture demise, the Republic Academy was founded to educate its students in the 3 Ls that helped to establish the United States: Learning, Liberty, Leadership. By gaining a correct understanding of the character of the great leaders who were the founders of this country, today’s students will become tomorrow’s true leaders.
Republic Academy offers classes for K-12, tutoring for all ages, and homeschool coaching. Please see our website at www.RepublicAcademy.com or contact Terri at 580-736-0100.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
When my oldest son was in kindergarten in the late 1980s, I became friends with a retired schoolteacher who had been a reading specialist in the public school system for 50 years. She asked if my son’s teacher was using phonics to teach reading. I answered that the teacher was using the whole language method. My friend shook her head, declared that phonics was the only way to teach reading, and bemoaned that children throughout this country were not being taught the necessary tools of phonics. Without this tool, she continued, schools will create a nation of illiterates.
Since then, I have discovered the truth of my friend’s statement and concern. Did you know that dyslexia and functional illiteracy did not exist prior to the 1930s in Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, and the United States – all countries using a phonetic alphabet? No dyslexia, no reading disability, no illiteracy except for those who were not taught to read, states the Austrian author of Why Johnny Can’t Read. Prior to the 1930s, phonics was taught; after the 1930s, other methods were substituted for phonics either partially or completely.
In fact, the founding era of this country began with well-educated individuals. It has been estimated that during the Colonial period, the literacy rate in New England ranged from 62% for women up to 95% for men. Their books were the KJV Bible and non-religious books.
For an example of this massive literacy, in 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense and within two months had sold more than 100,000 copies. To put this into perspective, a non-fiction, philosophical book in 1985 would have had to sell eight million copies within two months. The only event that gets that kind of attention is the Superbowl.
Unfortunately, our country has serious problems with reading. … And science and math. Clearly, if someone cannot read, that individual cannot learn math or science or anything else that requires reading. In addition, poor readers are adversely affected as adults, being limited in their employment abilities.
An in-depth study of American public education on an international level was performed by McKinsey & Company, a business consulting firm. Their report, “The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools” from April 2008, is a scathing indictment of the poor level to which America’s public schools have fallen. Here are two statements from the report:
“The United States lags significantly behind other advanced nations in educational performance and is slipping further behind on some important measures.”
“In addition, the gap between ours and others’ performance widens the longer children are in school.”
Closer to home, The Duncan Banner reported on June 19, 2003 that on a national test only 36% of Oklahoma high-school seniors “could understand and analyze challenging material. That skill level, defined as proficient, is the focal point of the test.” Proficiency means at grade level. In addition, Oklahoma fourth and eighth graders “showed a significant decline” in reading performance.
From the latest national test, known as the Nation’s Report Card, or NAEP, only 26.5% Oklahoma’s fourth and eighth graders were reading on grade level. State Sen. Earl Garrison (D-Muskogee), a longtime educator who holds a doctorate in education, wrote on September 23, 2008 in the Muskogee Phoenix, "More than 20 percent of our state's population, or nearly 400,000 people, can't read."
McKinsey ended their report with this statement: “Middle-class parents typically do not realize that their schools are failing to adequately prepare their children for an age of global competition. Our findings suggest this middle-class complacency is unjustified and should be challenged.”
At Republic Academy, our reading standard is that of the founding era of this country. In order to achieve this, we have an intensive phonetic reading, writing, and spelling program lasting from Kindergarten through fourth grade.
Terri Walker, administrator at the Republic Academy, Duncan.
For more information, please call 580-736-0100 or see the website at www.RepublicAcademy.com
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Last week at the Cole Town Meeting in Duncan, the greatest clapping came when speakers demanded a return to the Constitution and the principles that the Founders used to establish the United States. Most Americans know that we are losing our liberty with these new laws and bills. And we don’t like it. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t know what the Constitution details, nor do most Americans comprehend those founding principles.
For about 20 years, I have studied the society of the American Colonists leading up to and including the creation of the US Constitution. These people – all of them from farmer to merchant to lawyer – were highly educated.
Living in the New World, far away from the mother country, they knew firsthand the requirements for liberty: hard work, personal effort, extensive knowledge of government, history, and economics, and a reliance on God and family.
Living under a monarchy, they experienced firsthand the loss of liberty, or political bondage, through increased taxes and more and more government control.
As I have thought about their situation and ours, it seems to me that we are going backwards from liberty back to bondage, this time into the political bondage of socialism. Therefore, the only way to return to liberty and our country’s founding principles is through hard work, personal effort, extensive knowledge of government, history, and economics, and a reliance on God and family. Today, we have the advantage of reading not only what the Founders read but also what the Founders wrote and spoke.
A good start to a personal and family study would certainly begin with our country’s “Political Scriptures” – US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Washington’s Farewell Address, Federalist Papers (especially number 10), and liberty and law verses of the Bible, the most oft quoted source of the Founders.
Thomas Jefferson with his tremendous comprehension of liberty wrote, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
We need liberty because “liberty is what allows human excellence to thrive, and is the critical element that enables us to fulfill our personal missions,” explains Dr. Andrew Groft, president of George Wythe University. History attests to this phenomenon: no liberty, no progress or growth or freedom; know liberty, know progress and growth and freedom.
The next time there is a town meeting, may the applause be for liberty.