United States Constitution has gotten a lot of attention lately. The debates at the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of President Obama’s federal healthcare law have sparked interest, as well as concern, about the importance of our nation’s premier founding document.

Unfortunately, it seems that defending the Constitution is not something that people normally place high on their list of priorities. All too often it feels as though citizens and politicians on Capitol Hill are looking for ways that government can get involved in our lives, rather than adhering to the idea that the Constitution grants limited and enumerated powers to the federal government.

So when a bill came to the House floor that would require Ohio public schools’ curriculum to include the teaching of important historical documents, I immediately recognized its importance. It is necessary that the students of our state be taught about the documents that have shaped our nation and helped it become the beacon of freedom that so many people recognize throughout the world.

Specifically, Senate Bill 165 requires the State Board of Education to include into the state’s social studies standards the original texts of historical documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, Northwest Ordinance, US Constitution and the Ohio Constitution. The only way to expect the next generation to understand and uphold the virtue of liberty is to teach it to them. This is the job, not only of teachers, but also parents.

Learning the original texts of these documents is also important because it helps put their words and missions into context with the times they were written. Knowing the words of the Declaration of Independence, for example, does not make much of an impact unless one understands why it was written in the first place. If students understand that our Founding Fathers came to America to escape high taxation and restricted freedom under the British Crown, then their message of independence and liberty are that much more meaningful.

Our freedoms are by no means guaranteed. They will only be safe as long as there is an educated citizenry willing to stand up and fight to preserve them. Senate Bill 165 is but one piece of legislation, but I believe it can make a long-term, positive impact.


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