Arkansas Lawmaker Wants to Bring Back Journalism Class Requirement in Public Schools.


Reported by Marine Glisovic / KATV / Tuesday, January 22nd 2019

Last year Arkansas lawmakers voted to remove a requirement that Arkansas public schools were required to offer journalism classes as an elective, calling it a mandate.

Arkansas State Rep. Julie Mayberry, R-Hensley has filed legislation requiring all Arkansas public schools to offer journalism as an elective.

It’s a requirement that she said dates back to 1984.  She told told KATV she was appalled when lawmakers did away with the requirement. That prompted her to file House Bill 1015 this legislative session.

Under Mayberry’s proposed legislation, all Arkansas public schools would be required to offer journalism as an elective. It’s a requirement that she said dates back to 1984.

“Journalism is essential to our American government,” she said. “We have three branches of government so that we have a watch on each department. But who keeps an eye on them? The journalist.”

Mayberry said journalism classes aren’t just about training future journalists but about teaching future generations how to stay informed. “People are sharing information and not understanding where the source is,” she said.

“They’re just trying to get something out there really quickly. And in journalism school we are taught make sure you get the story right, get your facts straight first and then present the story. And that’s not what’s happening right now, so it’s something everybody can learn from.”

Lawmakers against bringing back this requirement said it puts public schools in a difficult position.

“Journalism is a great class,” said state Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado. “I think it’s a great profession. But mandating by the state that every single school teaches it puts a financial strain and other strain on schools. I grew up in a very rural school. My graduating class was 60 people and we barely had enough teachers for Spanish and other kind of basic courses.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement that he opposes the bill on similar grounds.

“I appreciate Rep. Mayberry’s efforts to include journalism in all of our schools, but I believe the decision to do so is best left to local school districts,” he said. “All Arkansas high schools have the option to offer a journalism course, and in fact, the vast majority already do. Journalism is an important area of study, and high school is the perfect place for students to learn the fundamentals of gathering news and checking facts. However, with 38 courses already mandated in every Arkansas public school, another mandate would be burdensome and expensive for many districts—especially those with limited resources.”



One thought on “Arkansas Lawmaker Wants to Bring Back Journalism Class Requirement in Public Schools.

  1. It is more important that students be prepared to be good citizens and understand both their rights and their responsibilities under our Constitutional Republican form of government.

    Therefore, the most important instruction students can receive in high school is early American history and specifically our Constitution.

    Too few people today seem to understand why we use an Electoral College rather than popular vote.

    There are two primary reasons, one shattered by one of the worst American presidents, Woodrow Wilson with his illicit proclamation that the 16th and 17th amendments were ratified (they were never ratified by the requisite number of states WITHOUT modification, that is, “as is”… but Wilson was determined to destroy the fundamental character of our Constitutional Republic and create the basis for claiming our government was a “democracy” (it is not a democracy in any form and, in fact, our Founders warned of creating a democracy).

    The word “democracy” is not found in any form whatsoever in our Constitution, which remains the supreme law of the land, despite being routinely ignored by Congress and abused by the courts.

    Proper instruction in public education would teach students that the most governmental power is reserved to the people and the states (reaffirmed by the 10th Amendment). It would also quash the notion that this country is (or should ever be) a “democracy” (two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner).

    Originally, in order to vote, a citizen was required to be a landowner. The purpose was to ensure voters had displayed sufficient responsibility of ownership and had a stake in government staying on the narrow path our Constitution lays out for the federal government.

    Under our Constitution, the federal government has the LEAST (legitimate) power (most seem to believe it has the most) as spelled out in Article I, Section 8, whose preamble further constrains the use of that power to ONLY “provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States” — and not target any particular class of citizens with either reduced or enhanced rights and privileges.

    No amendment that does not alter Article I, Section 8, can extend the powers of government… yet that is how our courts have abused our Constitution to political ends inconsistent with the clear intent of the Founders.

    This attempt to realign and expand the powers of the federal government is part of an insidious attempt to abuse our Constitutional Republic by treating our Constitution as a “living breathing document” which is pure nonsense.

    There are two legitimate ways our Constitution can be altered by the amendment process. First, by amendments proposed by Congress and ratified by the States. Second, by amendments proposed by a convention of States and ratified by the States. There is no legitimate process by which courts can reinterpret the clear meaning of our Constitution or whereby amendments can tack on trailers claiming Congress has the authority to enforce the provisions of an amendment BEYOND the constraints on Congress dictated by Article I, Section 8. Yet that abuse of power has become common, leading to the massive bloated federal government we have today.

    This country is organized as the United States, states that are united by common purpose and wherein each state has greater governmental power than the federal government except in those very few areas where the federal government is given supremacy by our Constitution (specifically in Article I, Section 8).

    There is no constitutional authority for federal powers that created: Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, the Dept. of Education, the Dept. of Energy, any federal agency dispensing welfare in the form of housing support, education support, food stamps, etc…. those are ALL the responsibility of state and local governments.

    Our Constitutional Republic was established to preserve the fundamental power of individuals to control their own destiny in a nation where citizens accepted their responsibilities to their own interests, their community’s interests, their state’s interests, and their nation’s interests, in that order. This is a system that provides any individual support at the most local level.

    There is no right to “free stuff” (nothing is “free” in life… it must all come from somebody).

    When members of either party refer to our Constitutional Republic as a “democracy” or “constitutional democracy” they are displaying their own ignorance and lack of proper understanding of our Constitution and the system of government it creates.

    Unlike the absurd “constitution” of the European Union (a monstrous document that is offensive to individuals on many levels), ours is a constitution written so that anyone with elementary education and reading skills can understand it. It is a travesty that some public schools no longer teach students about our constitution and the very limited government it creates.

    Understanding our Constitution is a classroom instruction far more important than journalism, though there is certainly a mountain of evidence to support the need for better journalism in our nation today (e.g., “fake news” and “propaganda news”).

    If we are to save this nation from the purloiners of freedom who gain power by pandering to citizens in need by offering “free stuff” they are “entitled to” in a “democracy” then it is critical that every student be required to understand the original intent of our Constitution and the Constitutional Republic it establishes.

    There is nothing the federal government does better in areas such as welfare, education, etc., that cannot be done more economically and efficiently by the state and local government, reduced federal tax burden and regulation would free states to offer required programs, many of which could be voluntary.

    Any student who goes through our public education system and yet believes this nation is a “democracy” has been abused by an education system promoting disinformation rather than education.

    And any public education system that fails to require a comprehensive civics education that accurately represents our Constitutional Republic and teaches the dangers of “democracy” and those who would alter our government by subterfuge, is failing miserably in preparing students to be good citizen stewards of our Constitutional Republic.

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