Anonymous asks:

Should elementary school children in the U.S. be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Should every classroom fly the flag?

When I was a child, this was a standard practice, but I'm finding that at the elementary schools my daughter has attended, it is sporadically done (if at all). I've been told by the teachers that there's no school mandate for the allegiance to be said, and that the district (and principal) doesn't even provide flags for every classroom.

I'm saddened by this because I think the allegiance and flying the flag are ways to instill a sense of pride in one's country, and to honor the service men and women who are sacrificing their lives abroad in the name of protecting our freedoms here at home.

What do you think: should the pledge be a requirement at U.S. schools? If you don't think it should be a requirement: do you think some other form of patriotism should be taught to children? I'd especially like to hear from teachers: how are you teaching children civic or national pride?

I'll be sharing your responses (and those of other parents and teachers in our community) in my follow-up with the principal, PTA and district superintendent of my daughter's current school. Thanks for your input!
In Topics: School and Academics, Helping my child with social studies / history, Volunteering and citizenship
> 60 days ago



Allyn Anderson
Jul 22, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Absolutely, we should be teaching our children to be positive, civic-minded adults. And as you have implied, saying the Pledge of Allegiance daily is an easy way to start building civic-minded children. If the principal doesn't have the money for flags (today many of our schools are facing funding shortages), talk with your local PTA, Rotary Club, American Legion, and local Veteran's organizations to see if they could help you get a flag into every classroom. Maybe schools could collect pennies from children to buy the flags. Let your local TV and radio stations know of your need, and ask for public support.

As an experienced social studies and National Board certified teacher, I know how important it is to promote civic awareness. Today there are so many assaults in the media and around the world on our American way of life; we need to let our children know what we stand for --- what is important to us.  I also know that what children practice and support in elementary and middle school years they tend to practice and support in adult life. That means we need to teach the children what we want them to know: how to vote, how to respect others' and their opinions by having civil discourse, how to manage money, how to respect our ancestors and their sacrifices for our freedom, how to show respect for today's veterans and the need for their service today. As you can see, I could go on forever about this topic.

As a civic-minded person, I am concerned that most states don't focus on civic education. I guess they feel children will absorb it through osmosis. Fortunately, I  live in Virginia, where the state school board feels that direct instruction in reading, math, and the social sciences (citizenship, government, history, economics) are important and tested as part of Virginia's response to the NCLB act. However, it continues to frustrate me when I speak to young folks AND adults who are non-Virginians and find they believe that the President is more powerful than Congress or that Senators and Congressmen are more powerful than their constituents. Today's apathy is not what our forefathers sacrificed everything for.  We need to raise children who are able to participate in today's world with a focus on civic resonsibilities in the AMERICAN way --- not as a response to one's independent wishes or in a way that "feels good," but in a way that shows civic mindedness.

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Additional Answers (2)

BruceDeitri... , Teacher writes:
Here's one answer. Tell her why you love the country and like to see it honored. No preaching, just your feelings. E.g., "We are lucky to be here."

The whole point of "social studies" is often to strip away the old-fashioned stuff. But there are lots of holidays where you can explain a little background.
> 60 days ago

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#1nana writes:
YES the pledge should be said and taught why we are thankful to be able to stand and say the pledge to our flag. YES we should have prayer and have the bible stories read to our little angles in the school. if you look at people in their late 50 and 60's that had this in school and the children in their 20 to 30's that did not you will see a difference. teen's with babies,12 year old drug addiction problems,no remorse for the wrongful things they many sexual partners,young children abused, husband and wives with different sexual partners YES YES YES  put prayer and the pledge in school.pray to the god you believe in . be taught there is a god in heaven and he may have a different name to different cultures, but there is a god.
> 60 days ago

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