Constitution Day is an opportunity to focus national attention on a growing problem. The July 19 news story "Law Requires Lessons on Constitution; Federal Workers, Students Affected" noted that surveys indicate students know more about "American Idol" than they do about the Constitution. Further, in a recent national study, nearly half the students surveyed believed the government can censor the Internet, and one-third thought the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees.
Today's students are tomorrow's stewards of the Constitution. As we look to the start of a new school year, we encourage all teachers to avail themselves of the free tools and teaching guides available to develop integrated curriculums that bring civic learning into classrooms on Constitution Day and all year long.
Coral Gables, Fla.
The writer is vice president and chief program officer of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a supporter of teachfirstamendment.org.
A July 20 news story ["New Law Requires Workers To Learn About Constitution; Federal Employees' Lack of Knowledge Is Lamented"] perhaps unknowingly proved that such studying is necessary.
The Cato Institute was right to suggest that Linda Springer, director of the Office of Personnel Management, and other agency officials may want to direct employees to pay special attention to the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and of the press.
Asked by reporters about the lessons, one woman declined comment and said, "I'm not allowed to talk. . . . It's a requirement of my agency."
Eldon Girdner, a special assistant in OPM's office of communications, also watched whoever reporters sought out; he said that eavesdropping was standard procedure and declined to go away when asked. Evidently, Mr. Girdner has not read the Constitution either.