In an era of protests against the national anthem, the pledge of allegiance and traditional concepts of “patriotism,” one college is fighting back.
The College of the Ozarks launched a new required course for all freshmen titled, “Patriotic Education and Fitness,” to ensure that even if students do decide to protest something in America, they aren’t doing it out of ignorance.
“There’s a remarkable amount of ignorance in college students, no matter what their grades, nowadays,” said college president Jerry Davis to Inside Higher Ed. “And it goes back to how they’ve been taught.”
Why did they create the course?
One of the five pillars of the College of the Ozarks is “patriotic education,” and Davis wanted to take that to the next level.
“We can all be patriots, but we can’t all be in the military,” Davis said. “We think that higher education should take a leadership role in closing what we think is a cultural gap, if you will, between the 99 percent [of American citizens] that don’t serve in the military, and the 1 percent that does. We don’t need that gulf to widen — we need it to close.”
What does the course include?
The four credit hour course will be non-partisan and will include physical- and military-oriented educational components, such as:
- Map reading
- Rifle marksmanship
- Military organization
- American flag protocol
Can you force patriotism?
For Davis, it’s not about forcing students to think a certain way, but about establishing the priority of being knowledgeable about the country and understanding of the value of patriotism.
“We require them to take English and other things, because we think that’s important,” Davis said. “It communicates a value, that it’s important.”
Davis understands students will still criticize the military or the government at times, but he wants them to have an appreciation for the things all Americans have in common.
“I want them to have an appreciation for the country in which we live,” Davis said. “They should understand how it works, and they should understand more about the military and how it operates. And they should come away with the idea that we’re all Americans, and we have these things — or should have these things — in common.
(H/T Inside Higher Ed)