The Edmond Sun

Local News

June 17, 2013

Professor: Constitutional heritage can bring sense of belonging to U.S. citizens

EDMOND — Education is fundamental in preparing a citizenry to live under a free constitutional republic, said Kyle Harper, founding director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage at the University of Oklahoma. Harper is also the senior vice provost at OU as well as an associate professor of Classics and Letters.

A sense of identity by belonging to a tradition is an ingredient in being part of a free republic, he said while speaking to the Edmond Republican Women’s Club on Monday. An educated citizen must be aware, alert and intelligent to care about public affairs, he said.

“For the Romans it is part of their Republican tradition,” Harper said. “For us as Americans it is part of our American heritage, being able to understand the creation, the uniqueness of the American founding; to understand the legacy of the freedom that’s been preserved by the Civil War, the two World Wars and beyond.”

The ideal of creating citizens for the republic is deeply imbedded in the history of America’s higher education, Harper said. Born and reared in Edmond, Harper is a graduate of Edmond Memorial High School. Harper earned his bachelor’s degree in Letters at OU. He later earned both his master’s degree and doctorate in history from Harvard University.

The Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage is a new program training students to understand the foundations of American constitutional rule, Harper said. Included are constitutional studies of classic literature, Greek and Roman origins of constitutionalism.

“It includes courses in political philosophy, the belief that reading John Locke and other political philosophers the founding father’s read is fundamental in understanding the way they created the constitution,” Harper said.

Course work also includes courses in the history of the country’s founding as well as modern constitutional history relating to the Civil War and the civil rights movement. There are opportunities for debate. Religion and the constitution, law and justice are some of the 25 courses taught.

“I think if any student took 15 hours in our curriculum and got a major or minor in Constitutional Studies, they would be extraordinarily prepared for citizenship,” Harper said.

In early March, IACH will offer a teach-in on the Civil War. Thousands of people will visit the campus on a day yet-to-be scheduled to hear six scholarly lectures on American heritage.

“I just think it is fundamental that everyone have this background,” said Billye Peterson, club member.

Ferlin Kearns asked Harper his opinion of the federal program, Common Core, when trying to prepare children for citizenship. Kearns said Common Core involves asking corporate leaders what is needed to gear children’s education.

Science, engineering, technology and math, the STEM disciplines, are fundamental to education, Harper said. More engineers are needed in Oklahoma, he added. The U.S. needs to lead the world in the 21st century information age, Harper said.

Higher education in the U.S. remains the best in the world, Harper continued. However, he said common education ranks 15-20 in most measurements.

Education in the U.S. has primarily centered on STEM disciplines for the past 10 to 15 years, while liberal arts, the type of education necessary for a free society including history, government, humanities, arts and literature are in jeopardy of being further de-prioritized, he said.

Liberal arts is in danger of being further deprioritized if federal funding for common education is one-sided for STEM, Harper said. Technical and liberal arts fundamentally go together in education, Harper said.

TO LEARN MORE about free online civic education by the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage, visit freedom.ou.edu.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Boston 1 Arcadia man, 80, prepares for 111th marathon

    A year ago, Arcadia resident Tom Briggs was well into the Boston Marathon course when he heard runners nearby talking about an incident up ahead.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Anne Josette Hill Police seek teen last seen in Edmond-north OKC area

    The family of a missing teenage girl made a plea to the public Friday to help them find the Casady honors student.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-19 Calendar

    For information about Edmond senior programs, stop by and pick up a monthly calendar, check out the website at edmondseniorcenter.com or call 216-7600. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and reservations are needed a day in advance by 11 a.m. For lunch reservations, call 330-6293 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO plans Earth Day Fair

    The University of Central Oklahoma invites the community to celebrate sustainability with its Earth Day Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 22 in locations throughout Central’s campus.
    The fair kicks off at 10 a.m. around Broncho Lake with exhibitions from local businesses, state agencies and student organizations. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about its environmental mission and message.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO School of Music closes semester with concert series

    The University of Central Oklahoma School of Music will wrap up its instrumental performance season with three concerts featuring Central students April 29 through May 1 at Mitchell Hall Theater located on the UCO campus.    

    April 19, 2014

  • Fine Arts 1 Auction benefits Fine Arts Institute

    The Spring Sampler dinner and auction event April 12 at Oak Tree Country Club benefitted the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • Literally, books come to life for club

    When some of the women at Touchmark at Coffee Creek got together to form a book club, they didn’t know it would be so much fun and become such an important part of their lives.
    The group of about a dozen residents gets together monthly to not only discuss the assigned novel, memoir or classic, but also to immerse themselves in the setting and culture of the book. There is no limit to their creativity.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit edmondsun.com, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • jc_HarveySparks.jpg Pastor seeks congressional seat

    Working in the Congressional 1st District office of Congressman Jim Bridenstine was an eye opener for Harvey Sparks, he said. His analytical exposure to Congress has sparked his drive to run for the Congressional 5th District of Oklahoma, said Sparks, R-Oklahoma City.
    Sparks has been a pastor for the majority of his professional life. Sixteen months ago, he was asked by 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine to come work in his Washington, D.C., office. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters and a son, ages 10-3.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results