Jackson Sun -
Kudos to Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who continues to be a quietly effective legislator. His latest accomplishment is the passage of a bill creating summer academies for outstanding teachers and students of American history and civics. This isn't headline-grabbing legislation. Still, it will have a profound effect on our nation's future. President Bush should quickly sign the bill.
Alexander's bill creating the Presidential Academies for teachers and Congressional Academies for students is modeled after Tennessee's Governor's Schools system, which has proven to be highly successful. The need for these schools never has been greater.
For years, many schools have neglected to teach students basic American history and civics. As a result, we have raised a generation of students lacking the basic knowledge of where we came from politically and how our government works. This cannot continue.
Students need to understand why our country was founded. They need to understand the mistakes we've made as a country and the impact those mistakes have had so we can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Students need to have a working knowledge of government and of our Constitution. That knowledge is a vital part of creating an informed citizenry capable of protecting and preserving our nation's most sacred principles.
Right now, we have soldiers fighting to plant the seeds of democracy in Iraq. How can they do that if they don't understand those principles themselves?