South Dakota Tea Party Alliance President, Shad Olson, announces today a plan to help educate South Dakota children about the founding principles of the United States by launching the ‘Constitution Challenge,’ an after-school, competitive knowledge club focused on the language and ideas in the United States Constitution. Olson, an outspoken proponent of Constitutional government and an advocate for a return to founding principles says the program will challenge public and private schools around the state to improve students’ knowledge of America’s founding documents and early history, and motivate them to go farther in advancing their historical fluency.
“More and more, we realize public and private schools alike face difficult challenges in meeting the educational needs of our students,” Olson said. “It is our hope that the ‘Constitution Challenge,’ will offer a fun and informative opportunity for students to expand their understanding of America’s unique system of government and the unparalleled freedoms it guarantees.”
Olson says the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance will invite local Tea Party chapters around the region to help start and administer the volunteer program in their local school districts. Based on the familiar, ‘quiz bowl,’ model of statewide geography and spelling bees, Olson says it’s hoped local students will compete on school and city levels for admission to a state competition. While details are tentative, Olson says finalists would then vie for an all expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. to meet with national leaders and tour key historic features.
“What better way to cultivate a natural interest in the inner workings of American government than by visiting our nation’s capital and seeing the process, up close,” Olson said. “Getting a patriotic vacation out of the deal would be a fitting prize for really digging into the history of our nation.”
Citing a recent survey that found 70% of America‘s graduating high school seniors couldn‘t name George Washington as the nation‘s first President, Olson says public/private cooperation is a must for educational improvement. Packaging the ’Constitution Challenge,’ as an after-school alternative increases the program’s value as school districts struggle to provide opportunities for children left alone until their parents get home from work. Volunteer involvement by local Tea Party chapters will make the program cost-free for schools and parents. Curriculum will be non-partisan and universally available, Olson says.
“It would be our hope that school leaders across South Dakota would embrace this effort to give our children a renewed understanding of America’s best and proudest traditions,” Olson said. “The South Dakota Tea Party Alliance is very interested in developing practical ways of applying our love for country to the problems facing our nation. Education is key to maintaining an informed citizenry capable of preserving the freedoms that are steadily being eroded in America.“