Last week, several Johnston students and parents protested three new board members (Clint Evans, Deb Davis and Derek Tidball) recently elected who signed the 1776 Pledge. The protest occurred before the new board members were sworn in.
Those protesting want those board members to denounce the pledge promoted by 1776 Action in response to Critical Race Theory (CRT), the 1619 Project, and curriculum espousing ideas originating from CRT in schools.
There is nothing racist about the 1776 Pledge, and there isn’t anything particularly controversial about the pledge.
Candidates who sign state they believe:
- The United States of America is an exceptional nation whose people have always strived to form a more perfect union based upon our founding principles.
- Our Founding Fathers – including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson – as well as leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. were among the greatest Americans to ever live, and they deserve to be honored as heroes.
- Our children and grandchildren should be taught to take pride in their country, to respect our founding principles of liberty and equality, and to have a sense of American history that is both truthful and inspiring.
- Civics education should focus on the serious study of our founding documents and principles – not coerce students into engaging in extracurricular political action on behalf of contemporary policy positions.
- Our young people should be taught to view one another not according to race or gender, but as individuals made in the image of God.
- Teaching children to hate their country and each other is immoral and deeply harmful to our society and must be stopped.
The idea that America is exceptional has been a widely held, bipartisan belief spanning generations. Teaching children to take pride in our nation and respect our founding principles has never been considered controversial. Civics education should teach kids about our founding documents and principles, not partisan activism. Recent polling has shown a depressing lack of knowledge of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights among Americans.
Children should learn about the warts of American history but not be taught to hate our nation or others. Learning to respect people as individuals regardless of race or gender should be encouraged.
How any of this is considered controversial is mind-boggling.
Those who sign pledge to:
- Restore honest, patriotic education that cultivates in our children a profound love for our country.
- Promote a curriculum that teaches that all children are created equal, have equal moral value under God, our Constitution, and the law, and are members of a national community united by our founding principles.
- Prohibit any curriculum that pits students against one another on the basis of race or sex.
- Prevent schools from politicizing education by prohibiting any curriculum that requires students to protest and lobby during or after school.
The actions candidates pledge to take based on the beliefs espoused are reasonable, especially at the local school board level.
Also, the simple fact that Johnston residents voted to elect candidates who sign this pledge demonstrates that voters want the school board to go a different direction (something seen in other Iowa communities like Ankeny). Elections have consequences, something a good civics education will teach students as well.