SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER PROPOSES THAT ANCHORAGE SCHOOLS PLAY NATIONAL ANTHEM AND ALASKA FLAG SONG AT BEGINNING OF EACH WEEK

October 30, 2018

 

By Anchorage School Board Member Dave Donley

This communication is from Dave Donley as an individual member of the Anchorage School Board and is not transmitted on behalf of the Anchorage School Board or the Anchorage School District.

 

Current Anchorage School District policy requires that, in addition to students daily reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, schools should conduct regular patriotic activities.  A recent survey of Anchorage schools reported some schools do so but not all.  One “patriotic activity” I have proposed as a School Board Member and parent, is that all schools play the National Anthem and the Alaska Flag Song at the beginning of each school week.

 

With all the current emphasis on diversity it is important to also emphasize national unity and patriotism in our schools. Unlike most homogeneous countries around the world that have a single ethnic culture; there are surprisingly few things that unite and bind Americans together as a people.  Most obvious of these ties that bind include our flag, our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, our firm belief in democracy, our republican form of government, our belief in freedom of speech, our belief in freedom of religion, the importance of citizenship, the importance of public service, and our unique American culture that includes patriotic and historical music.  These are elements of our American culture that our public schools have taught for over 200 years.  Today the growing diversity of our population makes them more important than ever.

 

I was born in Anchorage and grew up singing both the Star Spangled Banner and the Alaska Flag Song regularly in school.  Alaskans take great pride in our flag, designed by an Alaskan Native, and our state song about our flag.  Our students should learn and sing our official state song in school.

 

Our National Anthem combines elements of patriotism with history, culture and music.  Listening and singing the National Anthem is one of the few things that Americans do together in group settings.  All our children should have the opportunity in public school to learn and learn about our National Anthem.  Current District Policy respects the right of individuals not to participate in the flag salute and the same protections would apply to participation in respecting and singing the National Anthem. 

 

U.S. Federal Court of Appeals decisions have authorized public buildings displaying the National Motto “In God We Trust.” Aronow v. United States 432 F.2d 242 (1970)  Even when finding mandatory prayer in public schools to be inappropriate the United States Supreme Court has recognized the importance of teaching patriotism in our schools finding appropriate: “the fact that school children and others are officially encouraged to express love for our country by reciting historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence which contain references to the Deity or by singing officially espoused anthems which include the composer's professions of faith in a Supreme Being, or with the fact that there are many manifestations in our public life of belief in God”  Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 82 S.Ct. 1261, 8 L.Ed.2d 601 (1962).

 

Harvard ethnomusicologist Kay Kaufman Shelemay has explained that music and “singing can be transformative,” and can help create a unified community from diverse individuals.  So as we recognize the new American diversity, let’s not give up on those parts of our American culture that help hold us together as a nation.  Let’s have Anchorage schools take five minutes once a week to play our National Anthem and the Alaska Flag Song.

 

Contact: School Board Member Dave Donley.

ASD message phone:  907-742-1101 ext. 6     Home: 907-561-8234 

ASD email: donley_dave@asdk12.org

 

This communication is from Dave Donley as an individual member of the Anchorage School Board and is not transmitted on behalf of the Anchorage School Board or the Anchorage School District.

SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER PROPOSES THAT ANCHORAGE SCHOOLS PLAY NATIONAL ANTHEM AND ALASKA FLAG SONG AT BEGINNING OF EACH WEEK

October 30, 2018

 

By Anchorage School Board Member Dave Donley

This communication is from Dave Donley as an individual member of the Anchorage School Board and is not transmitted on behalf of the Anchorage School Board or the Anchorage School District.

 

Current Anchorage School District policy requires that, in addition to students daily reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, schools should conduct regular patriotic activities.  A recent survey of Anchorage schools reported some schools do so but not all.  One “patriotic activity” I have proposed as a School Board Member and parent, is that all schools play the National Anthem and the Alaska Flag Song at the beginning of each school week.

 

With all the current emphasis on diversity it is important to also emphasize national unity and patriotism in our schools. Unlike most homogeneous countries around the world that have a single ethnic culture; there are surprisingly few things that unite and bind Americans together as a people.  Most obvious of these ties that bind include our flag, our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, our firm belief in democracy, our republican form of government, our belief in freedom of speech, our belief in freedom of religion, the importance of citizenship, the importance of public service, and our unique American culture that includes patriotic and historical music.  These are elements of our American culture that our public schools have taught for over 200 years.  Today the growing diversity of our population makes them more important than ever.

 

I was born in Anchorage and grew up singing both the Star Spangled Banner and the Alaska Flag Song regularly in school.  Alaskans take great pride in our flag, designed by an Alaskan Native, and our state song about our flag.  Our students should learn and sing our official state song in school.

 

Our National Anthem combines elements of patriotism with history, culture and music.  Listening and singing the National Anthem is one of the few things that Americans do together in group settings.  All our children should have the opportunity in public school to learn and learn about our National Anthem.  Current District Policy respects the right of individuals not to participate in the flag salute and the same protections would apply to participation in respecting and singing the National Anthem. 

 

U.S. Federal Court of Appeals decisions have authorized public buildings displaying the National Motto “In God We Trust.” Aronow v. United States 432 F.2d 242 (1970)  Even when finding mandatory prayer in public schools to be inappropriate the United States Supreme Court has recognized the importance of teaching patriotism in our schools finding appropriate: “the fact that school children and others are officially encouraged to express love for our country by reciting historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence which contain references to the Deity or by singing officially espoused anthems which include the composer's professions of faith in a Supreme Being, or with the fact that there are many manifestations in our public life of belief in God”  Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 82 S.Ct. 1261, 8 L.Ed.2d 601 (1962).

 

Harvard ethnomusicologist Kay Kaufman Shelemay has explained that music and “singing can be transformative,” and can help create a unified community from diverse individuals.  So as we recognize the new American diversity, let’s not give up on those parts of our American culture that help hold us together as a nation.  Let’s have Anchorage schools take five minutes once a week to play our National Anthem and the Alaska Flag Song.

 

Contact: School Board Member Dave Donley.

ASD message phone:  907-742-1101 ext. 6     Home: 907-561-8234 

ASD email: donley_dave@asdk12.org

 

This communication is from Dave Donley as an individual member of the Anchorage School Board and is not transmitted on behalf of the Anchorage School Board or the Anchorage School District.