Civics lesson: A questionable keynote | New Hampshire
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Civics lesson: A questionable keynote

October 11. 2017 11:46PM

America’s experiment in democracy is never more than a generation from failing.

That is why giving children a solid education in civics is vital. A recent survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center found more than a third of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, and only a quarter could name all three branches of government.

The New Hampshire Institute for Civics Education is helping to bridge that gap by providing workshops for elementary, middle, and high school teachers on how to improve civics education.

But the institute didn’t do its homework before inviting the keynote speaker for Friday’s middle school workshop.

University of Ottawa professor Joel Westheimer preaches left-wing ideology over history, activism over facts. The foreword to his most recent book was written by radical Howard Zinn. Westheimer is a colleague of Weather Underground terrorist bomber William Ayers.

Institute chair Mary Susan Leahy says the board didn’t know about Westheimer’s associates when he was asked to participate in Friday’s seminar.

Inviting such a speaker does not invalidate the institute’s good work. We would suggest picking future speakers who focus more on history, and less on political activism.

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