Ark. school instructs students to alter Bill of Rights as part of classroom assignment

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, October 8, 2013

An Arkansas school district has become the latest in a long string of schools this year to teach students an altered version of the United States Constitution.

According to The Blaze, sixth graders in the Bryant School District in Bryant, Ark.,were given a class assignment earlier this month in which they were told to “revise, omit two and add two amendments” to the nation’s founding document.

Lela Spears, the mother of one of the students assigned this unique exercise, told the Digital Journalthat the students were required to take part in a theoretical special committee – the “National Revised Bill of Rights Task Force.” The committee’s primary goal: to revise the Bill of Rights to “ensure that our personal civil liberties and the pursuit of happiness remains guarded in the 21st century.”

“Your task as a member of the NRBR Task Force is to prioritize, revise, prune two and add two amendments to the Bill of Rights,” the assignment read. “To gain some wonderful new insights and powerful arguments/viewpoints from the young people in America, I am requesting that at the end of your persuasive presentation, each of you submit you own proposals for the Revised Bill of Rights with your omissions and additions well supported with valid and rational arguments.”

Spears objected to the assignment because it made her question what her daughter was being taught.

“Where I can see a class using critical thinking skills to modernize the words, as to help them better understand the Amendments, giving an assignment to remove two then add two with little explanation as to why is upsetting,” she told the Daily Journal. “When I asked my child what the assignment was to teach her she had no idea. Only that she was TOLD to do it. She didn’t even understand what the Amendments meant. How can she make an informed decision when she doesn’t understand what she is ‘throwing out’?”

School officials later confirmed – and stood by – the assignment, telling The Blaze that the details of the exercise have been misrepresented by the media.

“The whole point is that students can read the text that is worth reading. They can make sense of that, they can understand it, and they can understand the claim and make an argument for the counterclaim,” Bryant School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debbie Bruick-Jones told The Blaze

She also noted that the assignment was actually meant to stress the significance of the Bill of Rights, and that the class had discussed the original document before the assignment was given out – a claim, she says, Spears had fabricated to the Daily Journal.

“We would never undermine the Bill of Rights. The goal was to have students appreciate each one,” she added. “I think that assignment in itself makes you really think which one you could do without. … If you can make your case for each and every one, and you determine you can’t do without any of them, you can still get an A on the assignment.”

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