Great Citizens or Great Drones?

droneIt was becoming pretty apparent that the South Dakota Board of Education didn’t have the student’s best interest in mind when they jumped on board with the problematic and controversial Common Core education standards a few years ago. It was done quietly, without input from the public or lawmakers, and that’s never a good sign.

Now that I hear the SD Board of Education has just approved new standards that do not require schools to teach early U.S. history in high school, there’s no doubt.

Ironically, as a recent Daily Journal article indicates, the board came to this decision even after university professors made it clear that students aren’t ready for college-level history because they aren’t getting what they need in high school.  This decision is rather like working on a vehicle assembly line where the guys down near the end tell you that the cars are defective because they’re missing a dozen or more bolts by the time the car reaches them….and the guys in charge of the middle part of the process decide the car needs a dozen less bolts.

Ted Cruz 2016


There is no reason whatsoever that a full American history class could not be taught in junior high, and then another full course taught in high school.  The junior high class could build the foundation of the basics, and the high school class could build on that to delve deeper into the important points in American history. While music and athletics can be good things, other than reading and math skills, there is probably nothing more important to a developing mind than history. If something has to go to make room for more history education, there are plenty of things to choose from in the modern classroom.

One need only spend a little time online to become awestruck at the astonishing level of ignorance that plagues the American people. As a writer, I am regularly and routinely left with the unpleasant task of trying to educate liberals (in both major political parties) about important aspects of American history that should have been covered in junior high and high school–but apparently weren’t.

These people have no concept of what’s in the U.S. Constitution beyond a notion of allegedly sacrosanct “separation of church and state” (a statement which is found nowhere in the Constitution or any of the founding documents, and neither is the concept as Leftists understand it).  They see the Constitution as more useful for defending debauchery than in defending the right of conscience.  The enumerated powers and the limits that Article 1 Section 8 puts on government are an alien concept, and their idea of government is more a tool to take from people you don’t like and give to others, than it is to ensure that all people are treated equally under the law. The reality that only the legislative branch, not the executive or judicial branch, can make law?  Please.

Woodrow Wilcox


Many people today have no idea what’s in the Declaration of Independence beyond a vague excuse to shoot fireworks and eat burgers on the Fourth of July, with no grasp at all of the source of the inalienable rights we fought five bloody years of war to secure. Far too many have no idea why we even have a national celebration on July 4 every year. The fact that the U.S. Constitution cannot be understood without first understanding the Declaration of Independence wouldn’t even occur to the majority of Americans today.

They know nothing of what the Mayflower Compact says or the importance the early settlers of America placed on the Bible.

They know nothing of the reason virtually all of the colonies were founded, and the authority to which the first Europeans to settle America looked.

They know nothing of the fact that there would not be a United States were it not for the “Black Robed Regiment” of pastors who taught colonial Americans about their God-given liberties that would eventually be cited in the Declaration of Independence.

They know nothing of how the Constitution was crafted, or of the Federalist Papers which explain how the U.S. Constitution works and why it does the things it does.

They know nothing of what Alexis de Tocqueville observed about the conduit of liberty, and the source of American greatness and exceptionalism (in their minds, American exceptionalism is something to be ashamed of and downplayed).

Because few of these things are taught at all in school anymore (or worse yet, the teachers are anti-American Leftists who teach the opposite of the truth), helping someone who missed out on these facts early on is extremely difficult, even when it is laid out factually in front of them on a silver platter. As Thomas Paine said, “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”  This statement is cousin to the saying attributed to propaganda artist Joseph Goebbels: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.”

Without a solid education in early American history, young Americans are completely unprepared and ill-equipped to maintain a grip on their legacy of freedom (which may just be the entire point of moves like the one taken by the SD Board of Education).  Further, trying to build a good citizen (which is what some might say is the primary objective of school) without a thorough understanding of early American history is like trying to build a skyscraper without a foundation.

It seems our legislators have yet another mistake by the “education experts” to clean up in the next session. That is, if our bought-and-paid-for RINO establishment will allow the “Republican” supermajority in the legislature act like a Republican supermajority and restore sanity to our education system.

If it’s going to happen, it will be because we the people of South Dakota lit a fire under them that they cannot ignore.  As Ronald Reagan said, when you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.

Is this a hill to fight for? I believe it is–and make no mistake, we and the few good legislators in Pierre are going to have to fight for every inch of ground. But it’s worth it.

If you can rob a people of their history, you can rob them of their freedom, and pretty much anything.  It’s easy to steal something from a person that they never knew they had, and America’s unparalleled liberty and unique form of limited government is something that was established in the era the South Dakota Board of Education now considers of little importance to teach.

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. – Thomas Jefferson

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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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  • DCM7

    It’s no wonder that people can make claims, with a straight face, like “America wasn’t founded on Christian principles at all.” They’ve grown up being taught all manner of falsehoods and shielded from all manner of truth.

    • Thisoldspouse

      The left absolutely depends on enforced amnesia for the masses.