Originally created 02/14/01

Defeat silly mandate

Some lawmakers think they're more qualified to teach civics than teachers and principals.

The latest example of classroom meddling is legislation proposed by South Carolina State Sen. Joe Wilson, R-West Columbia, that would require public school students to recite the first 56 words of the Declaration of Independence before starting class each day.

Why just the first 56 words? The historic Declaration is a literary masterpiece of freedom. Shouldn't students be made to learn it by reciting every word of it every day? And follow it up with a singing of America the Beautiful?

Of course, all this would be in addition to the moment of silence and pledge of allegiance to the flag that many Palmetto State schools already require. At this rate it won't be long before public schools will be spending nearly all their time fulfilling General Assembly mandates.

If Sen. Wilson and his like-minded colleagues think they have a better idea of how to teach history than educators charged with the task, then they ought to make a mid-career switch into the teaching profession.

Meanwhile, lawmakers should heed words of the state's Education Department which warns that command-and-control from Columbia takes away valuable instructional time. Taxpayers are also required to spend money defending the edicts in court - money that would be better spent in the classroom.

When legislators start pushing mindless legislation like Wilson's, it just proves they haven't got enough to keep them busy in Columbia until June. It's time to go home, boys and girls.


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