Bloomberg Schools Flunk Constitution
By Nat Hentoff
The Village Voice
August 31, 2011
Years ago, when I was interviewing Justice William Brennan in his Supreme Court chambers for my book, Living the Bill of Rights, he suddenly became somber.
“How,” he asked, “can we take the Bill of Rights off the pages and into the very lives of students?” He was aware, even back then, how little time was spent in our public schools on who we are as Americans and what it keeps taking to protect our individual liberties against overreaching governments. (This was before George W. Obama.)
Were he still with us, Brennan would be even more disturbed by a report from an organization that honors his principles and actions, the Brennan Center for Justice in New York.
On April 13, the center released “A Report Card on New York’s Civic Literacy” by Eric Lane and Meg Barnette. The report received scant attention or follow-up, but a week later in the New York Daily News, Eric Lane–Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Public Service at Hofstra University Law School–did get space to emphasize that here and nationally, “unless we quickly address our disengagement from and ignorance of the way our government works through aggressive teaching of the basics in our schools, the nation’s very strength and prosperity will be at stake.”
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