But, will Kentucky’s public school students ever learn what it is?
During 1863, at the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln formally established the holiday of Thanksgiving to be observed on November 26th. It was a remarkable statement about the fundamental thankfulness of Americans for their freedom and liberties made at a time of major strife and hardship.
Actually, the concept of a day of thanksgiving started well before Lincoln formalized the holiday. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims in the New World, an event which set in motion the observation of the first thanksgiving celebration in the New World.
And, the Pilgrims had some special things to be thankful for, including an unprecedented level of freedom. As they were preparing to land in their new home, the Pilgrims came together onboard their ship The Mayflower to create a remarkable document, the Mayflower Compact. It was the “first document to establish self-government in the New World,” providing a very basic outline for the functioning of a free society that would benefit all.
Concepts in the Mayflower Compact provided a basis for future developments leading to the US Constitution, which continues today to provide Americans with a framework for self-government that offers unparalleled opportunity for personal advancement and freedom.
Certainly, the story behind Thanksgiving is important – one every Kentucky child deserves to learn. But, there’s no guarantee that will happen in the current Kentucky Academic Standards for Social Studies. You see, the important Mayflower Compact and the Pilgrims who created it are totally omitted in the Bluegrass State’s standards, which are supposed to tell us what students will know and be able to do as a result of their education. In fact, you will search the Kentucky social studies standards in vain to find any mention of Abraham Lincoln, too. And, he was born here!
It’s not like this in other states. Current social studies standards in
It’s not right – it’s actually downright disrespectful of our past!
But, it doesn’t need to be. Thanks to important contributions to self-government, such as those made by the Pilgrims, our legislators have the power and authority to demand better standards. They just need to hear that enough of you think kids learning about Thanksgiving, the Mayflower Compact and Ole’ Abe is important to make that happen.
Do be thankful this Thanksgiving for the many blessings we enjoy as Americans, but also consider those blessings could easily be lost if our youth are left ignorant about our nation’s important past. So, make a resolution over your turkey dinner to tell Frankfort to get rid of the turkey social studies standards that currently govern what our public school kids will learn about history and other important subjects.