Mary Mostert Educates ASD Board

To: Alpine School District:
American Fork, Utah
Superintendent Henshaw, and Board Members

Because I am the author of books on the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, recently I was contacted by some residents of the Alpine School district who are concerned about the District’s Mission statement: “Educating all students to ensure the future of our democracy”. (http://www.alpine.k12.ut.us/phpApps/genericPage.php?pdid=2789)

I wrote an e-mail to your public relations people, whose e-mails are listed below the mission statement pointing out that the Alpine School District is not IN a Democracy, but in a Republic which is clearly guaranteed by Article 4 Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States:

“The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.”

The Constitution of the State of Utah in Article I, Section 2 says :

“The State of Utah is an inseparable part of the Federal Union and the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the Land .”

Article III paragraph 4 of the Utah Constitution, which lists four irrevocable ordinances unique to Utah, states:

“The Legislature shall make laws for the establishment and maintenance of a system of public schools, which shall be open to all the children of the State and be free from sectarian control.”

Sectarian Control not only pertains to control of the schools by any religious sect, but any other sect, i.e. any group, party or faction united by a specific doctrine or under a doctrinal leader. (Utah Constitution: http://le.utah.gov/~code/const/00I01.htm)

From the response I received from Michelle Gray and from other information on your website, it appears that the Alpine School District has violated both the precepts of the U.S. Constitution, and the precepts of the Utah Constitution by implementing sectarian support of a specific doctrine that is contrary to the precepts of a republican form of government guaranteed by the Constitution.

I realize that there are many people today who do not understand the Constitution or the differences between a democracy and a republic.  Yet, I note that you yourselves run the Alpine School Board on republican, not democratic, principles.  You have school board meetings, policies and decisions that are not democratically decided by all the people in your district.  They are decided by you, who are elected representatives of the people living in your district.  You appear to want to teach the children a doctrine you don’t practice yourselves.

I recently wrote the two paragraphs below to help some younger people who asked what the difference was between a democracy and a republic.   I am somewhat surprised to learn that these differences are not very well understood by those who wrote and adopted your mission statement.  Here’s the difference:

The following references are from my 1848 dictionary which explains more clearly than modern dictionaries the differences that the Founding Fathers were debating when they replaced the Articles of Confederation in 1787 because the nation was beginning to slide into anarchy, a common cause in the failure of democratic nations:

A democracy is government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is in the hands of the people.

A republic, from the Latin words les publica means “a public affair;” in which the sovereign power is exercised by representatives elected by the people.

In France and Quebec, Canada, Bastille Day is celebrated as “the birth of democracy.”  The historic event celebrated on Bastille day is:

In France on July 14, 1789 a mob of 8,800 people stormed the Bastille, a fortress-prison in Paris built by and a symbol of the Bourbons. The mob freed the prisoners, seized the ammunition stored there, wrecked the building and killed the guards.  The “law” and the prison were created by the Bourbon kings that ruled France from 1589 to 1793.  The law and the prison were democratically demolished by the people of Paris.

There were no representatives. The people of Paris, having seized supreme power by force, removed the king, guillotined him, and took control of the city.  This started the French Revolution, which actually was a civil war in which more than 17,000 men, women and children were seized by factional groups and beheaded.

In America, in 1776, a group of 55 men of the Second Continental Congress, who were elected by the people to represent the 2.5 million people of the 13 colonies, met in Philadelphia and wrote a document that declared the end of the rule of kings that inherited their position of power.  Although not all the people in the colonies WANTED independence, they did not reject the document, though eventually many did move to Canada.

In 1777 the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation as its form of government.  There was no judiciary or executive included in the Articles.  There was a treasury and the Congress was given the right to decide matters of peace and war and other decisions.  By 1787 the weakness and ineffectiveness and democratic lack of unity of the Articles of Confederation led to the new nation starting to slide into anarchy

To save the country from anarchy, a Constitutional Convention made up of 55 men selected by their State Assemblies, met to write the Constitution.  At no point in the founding of this nation was democracy ever part of the process.

I received a brief paragraph from Michelle Gray that didn’t address the issue, but simply re-enforced the confusion of the mission statement.  I had written to point out that our nation was not founded as a democracy.  In fact, a great deal of effort was put into writing a document that tried to make SURE that the nation never deteriorated to the level of a democracy.

She wrote back, on the same day (February 18) a paragraph I notice has been added on your website:

“The Mission Statement was drafted after meeting with a committee comprised of district administrators and Board of Education members.  The mission statement is inclusive of the Moral Dimensions of Teaching (that echo the values of our district in addition to setting the performance standards and directing the implementation of our mission).  It was adopted by the full Board of Education in an open board meeting and has been shared with the District Community Council as well as all School Community Councils in the district.  It has been met with favorable comments with few exceptions.”

So, I gather you folks are the authors of the statement which proclaims the Alpine School District mission is to train students in your district to ignore both the US Constitution and the State of Utah Constitution?   If you really believe so strongly that we need to become a democracy, don’t you think it would be appropriate to allow the parents of the Alpine School District to democratically follow the example of the founding of the French democracy and take direct physical action?  Or, perhaps you could open this discussion up based on the current republican form of school board control and allow public discussion and a vote on what the school district’s mission is?

Mary Mostert

Author: A Hunger for Liberty Leads to the Declaration of Independence & The Threat of Anarchy Leads to the US Constitution

10 Responses to “Mary Mostert Educates ASD Board”

  • JC:

    Thank you for an excellent letter. I can only hope that it will receive the attention it’s due. Unfortunately ASD seems intent on being “correct” in all things and unwilling to listen to the many parents (not the few as I believe you were told in your brief response from ASD) who have contacted them expressing concern about the mission statement.

  • Buffy Snell:

    We are losing our liberties in this country at an alarming rate because of political ignorance. The fact that the inaccurate “Mission Statement” has been adopted by the “full Board of Education, the District Community Council and the School Community Councils in the district” is NOT consoling. It simply reflects the mammoth task we have before us of re-educating our educators.

  • Buffy Snell:

    One more thing I’d like to add. Let’s just say that we were a democracy. “Majority rule” sounds good in theory, right? But what if the majority is ever wrong? What if the majority decides that morality is relative? That all Jews deserve to be burned or gassed? That people with dark skin should indeed be enslaved? The implications of such misguided thinking could have far-reaching, devastating affects on Society as a whole. The Constitution of the United States is not brilliant because it is anchored in “the people”. It’s brilliant because it is anchored in truth. And truth, though fixed, can and does and is becoming unpopular.

    Buffy Snell

  • harrypayne:

    It appears to me that some (or all) of our educators are not well educated in the principles of the founding of our Great Nation. The Mission Statement of the ASD can and really should be changed to reflect the true principles of freedom and liberty. Education begins at the top, then proceeds to the education of the students.

    How can we remain free when we are not being taught what real freedom is and should be?

    I would propose that all of us be more involved in the processes of our school district and make sure that: correct moral, ethical and historical education be taught in our schools to our children. Math, English and History in their correct and complete forms are necessary to keep us from falling into the destructive patterns that other nations have and are falling into. In fact, few other courses need be added to those basics of education. I feel that TOO MANY other courses detract from and confuse and do not prove to be productive in educating our next generation. After our youth have the basics, then they are better able to move on to higher education, having a firm foundation in those things that really do matter.

    My basic education was obtained at the hands of Provo School District and my children received theirs in the Alpine School District, many districts have fallen into this pattern. We need to know the difference between a Republic and a Democratic form of government and make sure that our children do too.

  • amberoseinjune:

    Well put, and thank you for clearing up the fuzzy understanding of democracy vs. a republic. I hope that ASD can put humility first and listen to facts and reason.

  • amberoseinjune:

    Well put, and thank you for clearing up the fuzzy understanding of democracy vs. a republic. I hope that ASD can put humility first and listen to facts and reason.

  • edarrell:

    So, then, Mostert does not believe that Madison knew what he was talking about when he named his political party the Democratic Republicans? What sort of a republic does she think we have? Monarchical? Socialist? Soviet?

    Then she whines about “sectarian control,” butchering the legal understanding of that phrase (religious), and joining you in your crusade for sectarian control, but demonizing the word “democracy.”

    Both Oak and Mary need to go back to school, to study history, government and law.

  • Mary Mostert:

    Reply to edarrell
    James Madison’s View of Democracy
    It won’t help to go back to school to learn what James Madison’s views on the differences between a democracy and a republic were. Obviously, while that was a major issue in the writing of the U.S. Constitution, the Alpine School District doesn’t seem to know, much less teach, what kind of government the U.S. Constitution created. Besides, it takes a lot less time to simply READ what James Madison wrote on the subject in Federalist Paper No. 10 on the subject. (see: http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa10.htm )
    The kind of factious spirit edarrell displays in his comment is the subject of Madison’s Federalist Paper 10. It is entitled “The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection.” Madison states, that a “pure democracy”, that is “a society consisting of a small number of citizens who assemble and administer the government in person can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction” and concludes that leads to there being “nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.” Even back in 1787, it appears, obnoxious individuals used the same kind of argument that edarrell used in attempting to convince people they were “right!”
    What James Madison said in Federalist Paper 10 about democracy was:
    ”Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”
    It is obvious that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress support democracy. They have passed the Health Bill and have promised other bills designed to limit our liberty, control our thinking and redistribute wealth. As a result, we are seeing a rapid increase in turbulence and contention that is incompatible with our personal security or our rights of property.
    Mary Mostert

  • Mary M.:

    It won’t help to go back to school to learn what James Madison’s views on the differences between a democracy and a republic were. Obviously, while that was a major issue in the writing of the U.S. Constitution, the Alpine School District doesn’t seem to know, much less teach, what kind of government the U.S. Constitution created. Besides, it takes a lot less time to simply READ what James Madison wrote on the subject in Federalist Paper No. 10 on the subject. (see: http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa10.htm )

    The kind of factious spirit edarrell displays in his comment is the subject of Madison’s Federalist Paper 10. It is entitled “The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection.” Madison states, that a “pure democracy”, that is “a society consisting of a small number of citizens who assemble and administer the government in person can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction” and concludes that leads to there being “nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual.” Even back in 1787, it appears, obnoxious individuals used the same kind of argument that edarrell used in attempting to convince people they were “right!”

    What James Madison said in Federalist Paper 10 about democracy was:

    ”Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”

    It is obvious that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress support democracy. They have passed the Health Bill and have promised other bills designed to limit our liberty, control our thinking and redistribute wealth. As a result, we are seeing a rapid increase in turbulence and contention that is incompatible with our personal security or our rights of property.

    Mary Mostert