Dec 24, 2012

Prepared Social Studies Standards Hearing Testimony of Representative-Elect Cindy Pugh

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Good Morning.  My name is Cindy Pugh and I’m speaking today as a concerned citizen.

Thank you Judge Nielson for this opportunity to testify today to express my concerns about the new academic social studies standards before you. My concerns come from several sources.

First, as a mother who is deeply concerned about the future of my children and those of this state and nation, it is very disturbing to me to see the loss of academic rigor and cultural literacy when comparing the 2004 version of these standards to the 2011 version.  There seems to be a loss of historically important people and events from a wide diversity of races, ethnicities, cultures and political viewpoints.  These vary from Ronald Reagan to Martin Luther King to Mao Zedong or from the Cold War to Western Civilization. Opposition to these standards emanates from groups with a wide variation of political thought, from Education Liberty Watch to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Secondly, as a co-founder of the Southwest Metro Tea Party concerned about fidelity to the Constitution and fiscal responsibility, I am alarmed to see the lack of clarity in teaching foundational principles, such as that of government’s role to protect the foundational and unalienable rights of life, liberty and property and other important concepts, the understanding of which is crucial for students growing into citizens that can and will maintain our republic.  I also believe that knowledge of economics and how to recognize when there is too much government interference in the economy is very important as well.

Finally as a newly elected legislator about to be sworn in for the first time, it pains me to see violations of legislative intent, as well as how state sovereignty is being violated in education both by the mandates of No Child Left Behind and the creeping imposition of a national curriculum via the linking of the Common Core English standards to the social studies standards.

I’d like to end with two quotes which have informed my thoughts and passion for this issue.  The first is by James Madison: “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.”  The second is by George Washington: “A primary object…should be the education of our youth in the science of government.  In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing…than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”

I agree with many of the other testifiers here today that these standards should either be rejected in their entirety or at least substantially modified with the 2004 standards kept in place unless or until one of those things should happen.

Thank you for your time.

[Note: This post has been updated to reflect some additions that Representative-elect Pugh made at the hearing]

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