The SAR Magazine

Winter 2018-2019

The SAR MAGAZINE is the official quarterly publication of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution published quarterly.

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Page 13 of 47

14 SAR MAGAZINE By Craig W. Rhyne, AFDC Sub-Committee Chairman T HE PROBLEM: Our nation's youth and even its adults are not very aware why our founding fathers fought for liberty and why they created our Constitutional Republic. Most don't know the principles on which our nation was founded and why they should bother to defend it ... or to even keep it. The polls bear this out: As reported in The Washington Post a year ago, a survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center found that most Americans are ignorant of basic facts about the Constitution. More than one in three people (37 percent) could not name a single right protected by the First Amendment. Only one in four (26 percent) can name all three branches of the government. One in three (33 percent) cannot name any branch of government. None. Not even one! The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs commissioned a poll in 2009 that found that 77 percent of students in public high schools there could not name George Washington as our first president. (A poll in Arizona had similar results.) In fact, "the majority of millennials (58 percent) would prefer to live in a socialist, communist or fascist nation rather than a capitalistic one," according to a new poll by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (per the Washington Times, Nov. 2017). Yikes. These are voters who will determine the future of America! The question we need to ask ourselves is: "What kind of a country do you want to leave to your children and grandchildren?" The solution: We need to up our game with education, making it a priority of the Sons of the American Revolution, and reach more students and adults. Fortunately, Brooks Lyles Jr., chairman of the NSSAR Education Committee; his predecessor, Larry Stevens; and Presidents General Tom Lawrence, J. Michael Tomme, Larry T. Guzy and Warren Alter share this vision with the AFDC Sub-Committee. The America's Founding Documents Curriculum project holds great promise to reach millions of children in schools across the country. We have created an excellent, 20-period course targeted to all public, private and homeschools. It is a turnkey program that includes lesson plans, discussion questions, activities, quizzes and a final exam. Graduates will receive a certificate from the Sons of the American Revolution through local SAR chapters. In the course, students receive instruction about the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the U.S. Constitution (including the Bill of Rights). In the current version, which is being tested in several schools and homeschools, we also include the first inaugural addresses of Presidents Washington and Jefferson. The goal is to reach all students in the United States. But this should be viewed as only the beginning of broad-based education programs by the SAR. We need to expand our horizons and focus much more on education. If we don't, we will continue to see our Constitution watered down and vilified. When we meet, we proudly recite the SAR Pledge, which includes these powerful words: "We the descendants ... reaffirm our faith in the principles of liberty and our Constitutional Republic, and solemnly pledge ourselves to defend them against every foe." But the lack of knowledge about our nation's founding principles and documents—and a declining interest in upholding them—begs this question: "What must we do to fulfill our pledge in the face of this clear and present danger to America's very survival?" Implementing the America's Founding Documents Curriculum in classrooms across the country will provide an excellent way for us to follow through with our pledge, especially since our Constitution is under siege. History tells us that most great civilizations collapsed from within, not because of foreign aggression. We need to educate our citizens, especially our youth! I am pleased to report the progress made earlier this year at the Spring 2018 Leadership Meeting of the NSSAR Trustees. They approved a budget to make grants to the schools and teachers who would "flight test" the curriculum, complete detailed reviews and make suggestions on how to improve it. The tests will be done by the end of 2018, with necessary changes made in early 2019. At the Trustees meeting, Education Committee Chairman Lyles also launched, with his own funds, the Nathan Hale Fund to advance the AFDC project and other educational activities. The AFDC Sub-Committee is now developing a national marketing plan, and we hope to launch the curriculum across the country by April of 2019. I urge you to support the AFDC project and make education a higher priority in the SAR. Please contact me if you would like to help get the curriculum introduced to a school in your area. For more information about this exciting project, please contact Craig Rhyne at (206) 719- 6368 or Address: P.O. Box 368, Bellevue, WA 98009. If possible, contribute to the Nathan Hale account of the NSSAR by contacting Brooks Lyles Jr. at (913) 306-4261 or What Do Americans Know About Our Founding?

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