Teaching and learning are so inseparable that the men who crafted and wrote the Constitution dared not mention either. Hence, public education and schooling are not in America’s founding document.
The Founders were learned folk, as were many of their descendents, who agreed to designate three simple words, E pluribus unum, as part of the Great Seal of the United States.
These days, though, even English-speaking Americans and immigrants are probably unaware of the Latin words and the English translation — “out of many, one.”
If we’re not cautious during these destructive times, those definitive words will be lost in translation — especially if the chickens chattering in the public square rip the E pluribus ribbon from the beak of the majestic bald eagle carrying it. The bandits could do worse and tag the motto with graffiti or proclamations that ascribe hate or racial indignation.
Debasing and destroying history and traditions are part and parcel of the violent confrontations and kerfuffles with innocent people minding their own business.
The current state of affairs is a sad testament to America’s motto, for which we stand. A Great Seal initially was considered on the evening of July 4, 1776, when independence from monarchical Great Britain was declared. Congress eventually granted its blessing.
The motto, the eagle and the seal reflect deep and far-reaching roots — historical facts and truths that should be taught at home (as my heraldic artist dad, who designed for the federal government taught me) and in school.
For far too long, teaching and learning often ignore the facts and the history lessons, and instead focus on trends and cultural sideshows. Even our so-called state-of-the-art libraries have lost some of their academic luster, zooming in on cafes, books and copying machines.
Andrew Carnegie, the Mr. Money Bags of public libraries, has a library in his name in the nation’s capital. Carnegie funded the project, and when it was dedicated in 1903, it became the District’s first desegregated public building.
The Carnegie Library is no more; today it’s named the Apple Carnegie Library — and you know what Apple is, don’t you?
Ironically, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser snipped a ribbon on the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Oh joy, huh?
Actually, no. Most if not all of the city’s libraries are prohibiting the use of study rooms, study groups and tot-to-teen reading groups.
Shush! Latter-day protesters and educators don’t want you and yours to know.
So, shout it atop the mountain. E pluribus unum! Or out of many, one — since public schooling steers clear of Latin.
⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at email@example.com.
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