“New Civics” means Global Governance”

October 28, 2003

By Tom DeWeese

The Declaration of Independence is quite clear about where government power is supposed to come from. It says “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” In other words, the people of the United States give power to the Government. Government does not have the power to “grant” our rights. Where, according to The Declaration, does such an idea come from? According to the Declaration, such ideas are “Self-Evident.” Or, in the language of today’s youth, “DUH!”

So, given that The Declaration Of Independence is one of the two most important documents in the history of the United States, one would expect that such concepts would be the very foundation of the civics curriculum in our nation’s public schools. Well, DUH! Not if the Center for Civics Education (CCE) succeeds in bamboozling Congress into passing H.R. 1078, the “American History and Civics Education Act of 2003” to establish the “Presidential Academies to Teach the New Civics.”

“New Civics.” Look out! Get ready for some more “newspeak.” According to CCE documents promoting the New Civics, “old civics” were a “heavy-handed, mind-numbing” indoctrination of “uncontested political loyalty to the state and society….” In other words, it suggested loyalty to our sovereign nation, the United States of America.

So what is “New Civics”? Well CCE provides a wonderful answer for that question: “In this century, by contrast with the past, we may reasonably speculate that education for citizenship in a democracy will, with each decade, become everywhere more global, international and comparative in curricular content and processes of teaching and learning. And we ought to think now about how to improve our current curricular frameworks and standards for a world transformed by globally accepted and internationally transcendent principles and processes of democracy.”

Now for those you who are constantly puzzled by current events and wonder why today’s school kids lack understanding and loyalty to our great nation, now is your opportunity to catch up. In case you missed the paragraph above, New Civics is a proposed public school curricula advocating global government and global citizenship in which GOVERNMENT grants our rights. New Civics is opposed to sovereign nations and limited government under the control of the people.

Such ideas do not come from America’s founding documents. To the contrary, our Constitution was written to try to protect us from the globalist concepts presented in the New Civics.

Our Founding Fathers created a government that was controlled by the people rather than the other way around. The rule of law was to be supreme over group whims and pop fads. Such concepts were, and are, unique in a world ruled by dictators, kings and potentates. That’s why it’s so important that American children are taught the unique concepts of the American ideal of free markets, free minds and a free society protected by concrete laws. What else should be discussed in civics class other than the tools needed to keep such a system in place?

These are the ideals that the CCE and its New Civics seek to deride. They have no interest in keeping the American Republic in place. The New Civics teaches that the U.S. model of Republican democracy is just a “long-standing American tradition” unique to the U.S., but no more important than any other model of democracy.

The New Civics teaches that American classrooms would be doing a disservice to students by suggesting that America’s recognition of inalienable rights deserves any superior place in the spectrum of world politics. Instead, they pack the genius of our Founding Fathers with every run-of-the-mill democracy on the globe, including those with no recognition of individual liberties. American students are now to learn that we’re nothing special.

Our Bill of Rights, so vital in the establishment of the American Constitution, is now depicted as “negative rights.” The American model of rugged individualism where citizens are free to pursue their own wants, needs and dreams, but without direct involvement of the government, is considered a “negative” in the New Civics. Never mind that it was that system that created the greatest economy and standard of living the world has ever known and that our government recognized that we had unquestionable rights from birth.

According to the New Civics curriculum, Socialist democracies like Estonia and Lithuania have “positive constitutionalism in regard to human rights.” That means that the government is required to provide a broad array of social and economic entitlements. “Human rights” is defined as an expansive social welfare state. The human rights model used in the New Civics is not the U.S. Bill of Rights, but the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which would put world government in charge of overseeing every aspect of our public, personal and family lives. The UN’s document of described social, economic and solidarity “rights” are called “positive rights.” Estonia, according to the new American civics standards, is a better model for the new century.

The term “National Sovereignty” never appears in the textbook that accompanies the New Civics, called “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution.” In lesson 37 of the textbook, the question is asked: “How may citizenship change in the Nation’s Third Century?” The answer is clearly revealed on page 202 of the textbook:

  • “The achievements of modern technology are turning the world into a global village.”
  • “National corporations are becoming international.”
  • “The culture we live in is becoming cosmopolitan, that is, belonging to the whole world.”
  • “The issues confronting American citizens are increasingly international”
  • “Issues of economic competition, the environment, and the movement of peoples around the world require an awareness of political associations that are larger in scope than the nation-state.”

Now what could such an entity be? The United Nations perhaps? The section of the book ends with this question: “Do you think that world citizenship will be possible in your lifetime?”

The fact is the Declaration of Independence was specifically a declaration of national sovereignty. How can American schools’ civics classes, authorized by the very federal government established by the Declaration of Independence and paid for by American taxpayers, now ignore American sovereignty?

Why is such legislation now being considered before Congress? Because new reports have shown that American students are woefully ignorant of how our government works and those recent graduates already working in society show an alarming disinterest in the voting booth. So the drive is on to teach civics “better.”

It must be understood that, since 1994, America’s public schools have been forced to use the National Education Standards adopted to accompany the federal Goals 2000 curriculum. The education received by those very students and young adults whose ignorance now alarms today’s officials were the 1994 national standards.

Worse, the 1994 standards for civics were written by the Center for Civic Education; the same CCE now authorized by Congress to create the enhanced version laid out in H.R. 1078. Under federal grant, the CCE creates the standards, creates the curriculum and distributes it to schools by federal law and federal money. The CCE also receives federal tax dollars to train teachers to teach their version of civics. At one such training class a speaker diminished the meaning of the Declaration of Independence as simply a political declaration to justify a violent revolution. His comments were typical of the tone of the class.

Such curricula are the reasons for the growing public panic about education in our schools as American students continue to fall behind other nations. Rather than learning about the American system of government, unique to anywhere else on earth, they are being indoctrinated into accepting the UN’s version of global governance. And lest you think that President Bush has solved the problem, his “Leave No Child Behind Act,” written by Ted Kennedy, re-authorized the Goals 2000 Standards, and finances nearly $100 million to pay for more curricula like the New Civics.

Congress as usual is clueless to the problem. Members have apparently only read the outline of H.R. 1078 which does specify that key events, individuals and ideas of founding of the American Republic be taught in the classrooms. They have failed to review the ideas being promoted by the organization they have authorized to carry out the implementation. That can be the only explanation as to why currently 216 members of the House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 1078.

However, there are signs that some members of Congress are starting to realize their mistake as six members have recently removed their co-sponsorship from the bill. If enough members can be persuaded to look at the facts instead of rubberstamping anything under the name of education then H.R. 1078 can be stopped and American civics can be saved. Otherwise the ideals of Jefferson, Madison and Franklin will eventually be obliterated from the nation they founded.

For more information…

Center for Civics Education (CCE) tries to defend itself…

Edwatch.org responds to CCE’s claims…

Beware the New Civics…

Useful tips on taking action…

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.