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HomeOpinionDisputing Textbooks: The Textbook of Learning Part 1

Disputing Textbooks: The Textbook of Learning Part 1

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This column series offers replies to what is published in the current “text books,” which are adopted by the State and school districts.

BY HAMILTON HANSON

This textbook – previewed but not used by Hernando County School District – that I am reviewing is Magruder’s Florida American Government Interactive by Savvas Learning Company, promoted to the District in 2023 for the six years of student learning from Aug 2024 to Jun 2029. While speaking of democracy, again, I am herein discussing the use of such term by this reference book purchased in 2023.
Topic 1 is labeled “Foundations of Government and Citizenship.”

Topic 1.4 is labeled “Basics of Democracy.” I find this disturbing for two reasons: 1) By Article IV, Section 4, of the US Constitution, we are NOT a democracy and 2) in no other location do I find such a comparable article labeled “Basics of Republic” which Article IV, Section 4 indicates that we are!
If Democracy had not been singled out for greater information, and had all the other major forms of governance – monarchy, democracy, republic, anarchy and dictatorship – all been described in such a complete discussion, the book would be a very excellent reference book.

The discussion regarding democracy is very complete and informative, and in its description, it provides the reader exactly why the US is not a democracy.

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We do not use majority rule as a standard for legislative activity EXCEPT in the House of Representatives (and most state legislatures). Even the US Senate uses a super majority of 60 percent. The US President is elected by an Electoral College. Constitutional Amendments take 2/3rds or 3/4ths of the electorate.

On page 34 of the text is a description of democracy as Majority Rule, Minority Rights. “In a democracy, the will of the people and not the dictates of the ruling few determines public policy.”
So, I must ask, when was the last time you were allowed to sit on the “floor” of ANY legislative gathering – local, state or national – and vote on any policy being discussed in such a chamber? THAT is the essence of democracy – the voters make all the rules, set the taxes/budgets, establish all the “projects” and policy. By state law, some of the New England states still use TOWN MEETING DAY every year to perform exactly those tasks at the local/town level. But, they do not occur at the national level.

So, the US is not a democracy by definition, by how it operates or by the Constitution itself. Since we are not one, why take so much space to teach our students fallacious material? Why spend taxpayer dollars on something no longer used by the students? How about writing a section labeled: The US is a “Republican form of government” which elects its REPRESENTATIVES by majority votes?

I will continue this “writing” by discussing the information written in the book.

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