ERROL PUTMAN: Pledge of Allegiance should be used as a teaching tool

TO THE EDITOR:

Here we go again. Another politician has gone on record proposing the Pledge of Allegiance be required recitation for all school children. For this measure they have support, “I did it, why shouldn’t they?” But for what purpose?

To require school children to recite the Pledge from kindergarten through graduation from high school would mean students could conceivably recite the Pledge 2,340 times. And in many cases come away with a fractured “retelling” of the Pledge of Allegiance – complete with mispronunciations.

Think about it. Wouldn’t it make a great deal more sense to engage students in thorough heartfelt lessons, complete with examples of “liberty” and “justice,” than simply requiring our young people to mindlessly engage in a daily recitation of the pledge?

Doing what they do best, teachers could develop lessons for each grade level designed to promote student discussion and involvement as part of a positive academic exercise regarding the pledge. Students might actually emerge from such an experience with a highly meaningful and internalized reference to the Pledge of Allegiance.

For older students, for example, teachers could craft lessons that involve them in example-driven discussions of what liberty means, or assign students to debate the justice or injustice of issues currently in vogue, such as we have here in Michigan. Selected topics could include: emergency managers, abortion, voter suppression, stem cell research, eliminating corporate taxes, suspending duly elected representatives from the legislative, etc. (Building student activities around authentic and/or personal experiences is simply good teaching.)

But getting back to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as “we all did when we were young,” how is that working out for all of us, especially the reference to “. . . with liberty and justice for all?”

Errol Putman

Blanchard

Leave a Reply