Better Citizens Take Care of Their Families

Good citizens take part in their community.  Better citizens take care of their families.  If you’re looking for the executive summary, that’s it.  If not, what follows will entertain and infuriate you.

Being a Good Citizen, Ohio Public Schools Version
Being a Good Citizen, Ohio Public Schools Version (click the image for a larger version)

There’s an article making the rounds on the internet that details an Ohio father’s response to a handout given to his second-grade daughter in class. The gist of his complaint: in several places the handout refers to rights the government “gives” citizens.

The father, Andrew Washburn, is, of course, completely correct. As Kyle Olson, founder of the Education Action Group, put it in his interview with the Mr. Washburn,

“So Emma brought home a very interesting handout from school the other day. So informative! I didn’t know that our rights come from the government! Thank you, government!” he sarcastically wrote.

“And thank you, (Butler County school district), for teaching my eight year old daughter all about her rights!” he added.

Washburn tells EAGnews his daughter attends a Butler County, Ohio district.

Among other things, the worksheet claims:

Rights are special privileges the government gives you.

Because the government gives us rights, we have the duty to be good citizens.

Someday you will be given the right to vote.

“You see, I know how important it is to get to children early in their lives and make sure they understand how it is in the world. Otherwise their impressionable minds might be corrupted by falsehoods like the idea that our rights come from our Creator and that we are born with them,” Washburn posted on Facebook.

After all, the Declaration of Independence makes it clear the rights of Americans are “endowed by their Creator.”

“I personally hold myself to be a patriot, committed to the spirit of 1776 and the American way of life,” the father tells EAGnews.

“As someone steeped in the Enlightenment philosophies of Locke, Paine, and Jefferson, the idea that government is the fount of our rights is a morally repugnant one to me. The whole tone of that handout seemed to be ‘Government gives you your rights and you should be grateful.’ This is what they taught children in the Soviet Union. In fact, the entire handout smacks of a tribute to Comrade Stalin,” he says.

I, however, noticed another point in the assignment (italics added by me):

“Good citizens take part in their community. They give to the poor. They help clean parks. They keep up to date on current events. Then the help wherever they can. It is also important to conserve our natural resources. Using energy wisely, treating animals fairly, and picking up trash all help to give back to our country.

Personally, I’d be a lot happier if they’d just clean their rooms. What about responsibility to family? It strikes me that this is far more important than “treating animals fairly” whatever that means.