A major element of America being a “melting pot” nation during the last century was that both public and parochial schools taught children about the popular and higher culture. Students were immersed in American literature, American language, American history, American heroes, and American holidays. This resulted in generations of Americans having a common heritage despite major immigrations from foreign nations like Ireland, Germany, Asia, and the Slovak countries.

America’s education system has always focused on than the “3 r’s,” Reading, Riting, and Rithmatic. In former generations our institutions of learning gave us a good education and a sense of national heritage and identity that led to a high degree of patriotism and national pride.

I know what I’m talking about. I am a fourth generation product of German immigrants. My paternal great-grandfather was the first Caucasian baby born in Hall County, Nebraska. My maternal great-grandfather came to America, found his way to Nebraska, homesteaded and mail-ordered a German bride. By the 2nd generation, my family was bi-lingual. By the 3rd generation we spoke only English. I was never taught to revere my German roots. Oh, we ate German dishes and it was fun to listen to my great-grandmother get angry and speak (shout) German. But in America, my family has always been American.

These simple observations beg the question: Why do we, in today’s America, seem to focus on teaching our children everything about their diversity and so little about what makes US one people – one nation?

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