I just read a book that challenged me. Not that it was a difficult read, but rather what I read caused me to wonder where I have been all these years. I graduated high school, went on to college, took all the required classes to graduate and never once was I exposed at least to my memory the information in this book. At least never exposed in a way that made me angry. Angry by realizing that our country has been losing the foundations that were set in place to keep it free. It helped me understand how a few changes could so jeopardize our American freedoms. The book you ask….. 1913 by Oliver DeMille, a history of a “Turning Point of Freedom” in our United States.

The Four key Turning Points that have made a huge impact on our freedom as Americans are:

  1. The Sixteenth Amendment which allowed Congress to get money directly from the people without consent of the States. Prior to this the federal government received a large portion of its tax money from the State government.
  2. The Seventeenth Amendment changed the way Senators were selected. Originally they were selected by the State and with the 17th Amendment they are now elected by popular vote. As a result Senators are much less likely to look out for the States interests over the interests of the Federal government.
  3. The establishment of the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is really a privately owned business that prints money and loans it to the Federal Government.
  4. The Butler Case which gave the Supreme Court the ability to decide what its own powers are by interpreting the Constitution and putting itself  above the other branches of government.

The Four Turning Points have taken away the system originally designed by our Founding Fathers in framing the Constitution to create a system of checks and balances by a separation of powers. As a result the Federal government now has the ability to go beyond the powers as outlined in the Constitution when it comes to spending and power. It is now a National Government.

This book which I highly recommend reading will outline in much greater detail, but in an easy to read manner, to help the reader clearly understand the changes that were made in 1913 and 1936, and how those changes impact each and every American today. DeMille also lays out how we as Americans can return to the founding principles that created a fair and equitable opportunity for all.

If you care about America’s future this is a must read.

Our Failing Education Systems

Speaking of life and leadership, I read several interesting articles on the failure of our institutional public school systems to provide the quality education necessary to prepare our children to compete in today’s competitive environment.

An interesting article entitled The Great Debate on American Education by Oliver DeMille of The Center for Social Leadership discusses how many recognize the need to make change but cower in timidity to make the necessary changes to improve our failing system.

Former business and science reporter for the Washington Post and Best Selling author Malcolm Gladwell author of the books Tipping Point and Outliers as the DeMille’s article states, “suggests the leadership right now in many arenas — including education– is occurring outside the main stream.”

It is obvious why. Here in Pennsylvania an article in the Commonwealth Foundation states that there are “nearly 82,000 Pennsylvania children trapped within the 141 worst performing schools” “Germantown High School in Philadelphia where the school homepage touts its mission as providing all students with the academic, technological & social skills needed to be productive & contributing citizens in our society.”  The reality is quite different as the school in “2009-2010 had only 8 percent of its 11th graders reaching proficiency in math and only 17 percent reaching reading proficiency.” Rather than failing the teachers they are rewarded with tenure and a retirement program that is far above the private sector.

Main stream is not working. We can debate all day long, but it will take the courage of leadership, or a leadership revolution if not in our government then in our parents to do what is best for our children