District 51 board member suggests change in textbooks

“Seven Miracles That Saved America”  by Chris Stewart and Ted Stewart



“Our Constitution Rocks” by 14-year-old Juliette Turner



Photo by Dean Humphrey—Jeff Leany School board candidate—- Sent as Leany Jeff mug 101011



Book 3 CPT 01171



Book 2 CPT 01171.



QUICKREAD

Excerpts from “What Would the Founding Fathers Think?” by David Bowman.

The premise of the book is that Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and James Madison travel in a time machine to explain to modern U.S. children the country was built on religion, topped by values and virtues that aided in self-governance, with the country governed by local, county, state and federal government, listed in descending order of size and control. The second half of the book posits the pyramid has been inverted in recent years in an unsustainable fashion. Quotes from the book include (punctuation/emphasis is as it appears in the book):

* “Governments help protect us, educate us, settle disputes, make needed laws, and do a few other things…all to help the people enjoy their rights. They are not supposed to be involved in every little part of your life!”

* “Who knows what you need at school? Your teacher/principal -OR- Some person 1,000 miles away who works in an office?”

* “Government protects your right to TRY, it doesn’t provide an EQUAL SUPPLY.”

* “People who are irresponsible, lazy, self-centered, and/or dishonest (in other words, lacking values & virtues) need to be governed in two ways: They need to be CONTROLLED & They need to be TAKEN CARE OF.”

* “And what’s the government’s job in all this? To control, take care of everyone, and make sure the wealth is distributed equally??? No! The government’s job is to handle dishonest and criminal activity among businesses and corporations. That’s it. Other than that, Government needs to just get out of the way! Let the PEOPLE build the economy and trust that CAPITALISM WORKS!”

* “Grow closer to God. Attend church. Learn to pray. Read your Bible or whatever religious book your church has. Don’t be afraid of these things or think they are ‘not cool.’ Like I said, we can’t expect there to be morality in the country without religious principles.”

Excerpts from “What Would the

Founding Fathers Think?” by David Bowman

The premise of the book is that Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and James Madison travel in a time machine to explain to modern U.S. children the country was built on religion, topped by values and virtues that aided in self-governance, with the country governed by local, county, state and federal government, listed in descending order of size and control. The second half of the book posits the pyramid has been inverted in recent years in an unsustainable fashion. Quotes from the book include (punctuation/emphasis is as it appears in the book):

■ “Governments help protect us, educate us, settle disputes, make needed laws, and do a few other things…all to help the people enjoy their rights. They are not supposed to be involved in every little part of your life!”

■ “Who knows what you need at school? Your teacher/principal -OR- Some person 1,000 miles away who works in an office?”

■ “Government protects your right to TRY, it doesn’t provide an EQUAL SUPPLY.”

■ “People who are irresponsible, lazy, self-centered, and/or dishonest (in other words, lacking values & virtues) need to be governed in two ways: They need to be CONTROLLED & They need to be TAKEN CARE OF.”

■ “And what’s the government’s job in all this? To control, take care of everyone, and make sure the wealth is distributed equally??? No! The government’s job is to handle dishonest and criminal activity among businesses and corporations. That’s it. Other than that, Government needs to just get out of the way! Let the PEOPLE build the economy and trust that CAPITALISM WORKS!”

■ “Grow closer to God. Attend church. Learn to pray. Read your Bible or whatever religious book your church has. Don’t be afraid of these things or think they are ‘not cool.’ Like I said, we can’t expect there to be morality in the country without religious principles.”



District 51 School Board member Jeff Leany hopes to introduce texts into local schools that fill what he sees as a need for more instruction on the U.S. Constitution and early American leaders. Some local parents, though, are questioning the political message in at least one of those books.

Leany said he scoured civics books used in the school district, local online K-12 programs and Caprock Academy and was “not too pleased” with the district’s books.

A District 51 curriculum specialist in social studies and science will update all board members at Tuesday’s school board meeting on what texts are used to teach U.S. history, government and the Constitution in the district and explain when and how the subjects are taught. Leany said he wants that curriculum to change.

“I think we spend way too much time learning what doesn’t make our country great,” Leany said. “I’ve been seeing what’s out there and looking for better alternatives.”

So far, Leany’s reading list has included “The 5000 Year Leap” by W. Cleon Skousen, “Seven Miracles That Saved America” by Chris Stewart and Ted Stewart, “The Real George Washington” by Jay A. Parry, “1776” by David McCullough, “What Would The Founding Fathers Think?” by David Bowman, and “Our Constitution Rocks” by 14-year-old Juliette Turner. He bought copies of the books for himself and for other board members in hopes of persuading them to consider adopting some or all of the titles into District 51 curriculum.

Although he would like to see that adoption happen right away, Leany acknowledged he hasn’t gotten much response from fellow board members yet.

Board President Greg Mikolai said Friday he hasn’t yet had a chance to read the books. Any hope for adoption would depend on if the books meet state curriculum standards, he said. Board Vice President Leslie Kiesler said she has not had a chance to read the books either and said the board has not discussed the texts as a group.

Board member Ann Tisue said she’s in the same boat of not having a chance to read the books yet, but said she supports the idea in general of students learning “the principles our country was founded on…that more freedom equals more prosperity.” Tisue said she has been impressed with the book “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand and would find it appropriate for high school classes, but she has not pursued the idea.

Board member Harry Butler said he has skimmed over the books and doesn’t have a problem with what he’s seen. On a personal level, Butler said he would like to see the Bible included in literature instruction and likes the idea of having more books about the Constitution in schools.

“What harm can it do?” he asked.

A local parent group is asking the same question after Jessica Mulvey, a member of Save Our Students, received a copy of “What Would The Founding Fathers Think?” from Butler that had been given to the board member by Leany.

Mulvey said she was shocked by some of the illustrated book’s content, which contains repeated warnings about wealth redistribution and emphasizes a link between religion and virtues and values.

“I’m responsible for my kid’s belief system, and it’s not the school’s job to over-step that,” Mulvey said.

Save Our Students board member Rob Pierce said he feels the book is inappropriate and focuses more on political issues than facts about the Constitution. Pierce said he’s not saying constitutional law shouldn’t be taught more in local schools, just not with a book that he feels endorses either conservative or liberal politics.

“Government shouldn’t tell our kids what to believe or not, or who to vote for or not,” he said.

Group member Randall Reitz, who has kids ranging from kindergarten to fourth grade in the district, said he has been impressed with the books he has seen the district pick for his kids.

Like other Save Our Students members, he isn’t sure the books will reach a board vote.

“My thought is it’s probably not going to go anywhere,” he said.

Leany said he is hoping for that vote because he wants students to learn more about the lives of the Founding Fathers and their intentions for the Constitution.

“I think we are very lax on the cornerstone of what our country is,” he said. “I’m just trying to teach kids what made us great and appreciate how awesome our country is.”


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