As Constitution Day (Sept. 17) approaches, a new online survey of over 5,500 moderate and conservative American adults found that they are very concerned about the education students are receiving. When asked “Do you feel that public schools are doing a good job at educating America’s youth on the U.S. Constitution” an overwhelming 94% responded no.
“This survey was prompted by a couple of things,” said Norm Novitsky, founder of IC Liberty Films and producer and director of the award-winning Constitution movie, In Search of Liberty. “There have been earlier polls showing a lack of Constitutional knowledge, such as the McCormick Tribune Foundation survey highlighting that only one in 1,000 adults were able to name all five rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.”
“And then,” he continued, “there is the probably little-known fact among the general populace that any school receiving public funds is required to teach the Constitution on September 17.”
In 2004, then-Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2005 that on Sept. 17th each year all public schools and governmental offices are to provide various educational programs to promote a better understanding of the Constitution among our citizenship.
“It seems,” Novitsky said, “that our schools are not following this legislation passed 14 years ago, and probably not for many years prior, based on the this and earlier surveys and polls that have been conducted. The Annenberg Public Policy Poll, for instance, showed only 38% of adults surveyed could name all three branches of government.”
As Founding Father and 3rd President Thomas Jefferson said, “Educate and inform the whole mass of people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” Fellow founder and 2nd President John Adams echoed these sentiments when he declared, "Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people."
Many problems faced by Americans today are due to ignorance or willful neglect of the Constitution by elected officials that the general public just does not realize, where they probably would if they were better informed.
Due to President Nixon conducting spying activities on Americans by the FBI and CIA in violation of the Constitution, during the Carter administration, Senator Edward Kennedy (Dem-MA) introduced to Congress the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which it passed and which Act, itself, violates the Constitution. There are many such examples of rights being usurped by elected officials, despite going against the US Constitution.
With more knowledge of the US Constitution, Americans would be better equipped to decide on candidates who will actually live up to their oath of office that each and every one of them take upon election or re-election, which is, “I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
Our movie, In Search of Liberty, is designed to educate Americans, young and old alike, on the very basics of our Constitution and create a desire to learn more, bringing that beloved document back into the hearts and minds of all Americans.