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United States constitution instruction in the elementary schools of Butte County, California

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OTITED STATES CONSTITUTIOMtt INSTRUCTION:^ IN
THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS OF BUTTE CQUNTX, CALIFORNIA,
A-Thesis
Presented to
the Faculty of the School of Education
University of Southern California"
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Science in Education
fcy
Edwin Alonzo Hendrix, Jr
August 1941
UMI Number: EP54225
All rights reserved
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UM I
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UMI EP54225
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T h is thesis, w r it t e n u n d e r the d ir e c t io n o f the
C h a ir m a n o f the ca n d id a te ’ s G u id a n c e C o m m itte e
a n d a p p r o v e d by a l l m em bers o f the C o m m itte e ,
has been pre se n te d to a n d accep ted by the F a c u lt y
o f the S c h o o l o f E d u c a t io n o f T h e U n iv e r s it y o f
S o u th e rn C a l i f o r n i a in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t o f the
re q u ire m e n ts f o r the degree o f M a s t e r o f Science
in E d u c a tio n .
.......
D ean
Guidance Com m ittee
Louis P. Thorpe
Chairm an
E. E. V/agner
D. Welty Lefever
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
PAGE
I . THE PROBLEM AND TERMS U S E D ................
The problem. • • . • • • • . . . ............
2
Statement of the problem . . ..............
2
Importance of the s t u d y *.............
2
Definitions of terms ........................
Classification of examination questions. . .
Multiple choice. .
...............
True-false question.
................
8
8
9
9
Fill-in-blanks ................ . . . . . .
9
Thought question
9
...........
Factual question • « . • • • • . • . • . . •
10
Status of instruction.
10
.........
Procedures used in teaching.
Outcomes • •
........
10
. . . . . .
11
Limitations............
12
Scope of the survey.
...........
Weaknesses of the study.
. . . . . . . . . .
Organization of the remainder of
the thesis
II.
1
STATUS OF THE TEACHING OF THE
.....
CONSTITUTION. . . .
National survey.............
12
12
15
16
16
Trends in textbooks..........
16
Attempts to legislate. . . . . . . . . . . .
18
iii
CHAPTER
FAG-E
Actual Instruction * • . # ...........#
.
A new theory and technique . . . . . . . . .
18
19
Development of constitution studies in
the public schools . . . . . . . ..........
19
Early instruction in constitution study# ♦ ♦
21
Relation of the teacher to constitution
study.......... . . . . . ........ . .
•
22
111 • THE PROCEDURE AND SOURCES OF D A T A 4 ............
24
The questionnaire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
24
Eighth grade constitution questions# . ♦ # . .
26
IV. RESUETS OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE . . . # . ........
31
The place of eighth grade constitution study *
31
Basis of constitution instruction# . # ♦ ♦ # ♦
33
Time devoted to constitution s t u d y ..........
34
Use made of certain procedures . . . . . . # #
37
Memorization selections required # ..........
39
Grades and number of pupils participating
in constitution instruction# . . . . . . . .
Summary #
V.
43
. . • .
43
THE EXAMINATION QUESTIONS ON THE CONSTITUTION. .
47
Classification of the questions
used. ..
. .
47
General content of examination questions •
• •
SO
Treatment of the legislative department. . . .
52
Treatment of the executive department........
§4
CHAPTER
PACE
Treatment of the judicial department . . . . •
57
Treatment of miscellaneous questions
on the constitution* . ♦ ..................
61
Treatment of the history of the
constitution • .
. . . . . .
63
Content of an average t e s t .........
Summary.
VI.
65
.
SUMMARY AMD CONCLUSIONS...............
Summary. . . . . . ........................
Conclusions.
65
68
.
69
71
BIBLIOGRAPHY........ .......... . . ...............
76
APPENDIX. .
79
...............
LIST ©F TABLES
TABLE
I.
PACE
Comparative Size of Elementary Schools in
Butte C o u n t y ............ • ........... . . ♦ *
II.
The Place of Constitution Instruction as
Indicated hy Thirty-eight Teachers ........
III.
•
..............
.............
40
Outcomes Hoped for in Constitution Instruction
as Indicated toy Thirty-eight Teachers. . . . .
VIII.
36
Memorisation Requirements as Indicated toy
Thirty-eight Teachers........ ........... . .
VII.
36
Use Blade of Certain Procedures toy Thirty-eight
Teachers
VI.
35
Time Devoted toy Each Teacher to Constitution
Study as Indicated toy Thirty-eight Teachers. .
V.
32
Basis of Constitution Instruction as Indicated
toy Thirty-eight Teachers
IV.
13
42
Orades and NUmtoer of Pupils Receiving Constitu­
tion Instruction as Indicated toy Thirty-eight
Teachers • • • • ...........................
IX.
Different Types of Questions in Forty-five Sets
of Examination Papers. . . . . . . . . . . . .
X.
44
48
Treatment of Various Phases of the Constitution
in Forty-five Sets of Examination Questions. .
51
TABLE
XI.
Treatment of legislative Department in
Forty-Five Sets of Examination Questions .
XII.
Treatment of Executive Department in
Forty-Five Sets of Examination Questions .
XIII.
Treatment of Judicial Department in
Forty-Five Sets of Examination Questions .
XIV.
Treatment of Amendments in Forty-Five
Sets of Examination Questions............
XV.
Treatment of Miscellaneous Parts of the
Constitution, in Forty-Five Sets of
Examination Questions. .
XVI.
............ .
Treatment of History of the Constitution in
Forty-Five Sets of Examination Questions .
XVII.
Content of an Average Test Computed from
Forty-Five Sets of Examination Questions .
CHAPTER I
THE PROBLEM AND DEFINITIONS OF TERMS USED
Interest in the United States Constitution .has been
characterized by periods of intense public concern and then
times when the complacency of the American people almost
ignored the supreme Ihw of the land.
Never since constitu­
tional ratification in 1709 has the public manifested such
concern over the Constitution as during the period since the
World W£r.
This awakening of a national feeling has been attri­
buted to the following trends :
(1) the World War intensi­
fied national consciousness which carried a tone of anxiety;
(2) contemporary religion was at the same time encountering
unprecedented problems and much needed aid was to be found
in character building; (3 ) industrialism was making profound
changes in the relations of men to each other without de­
veloping ethical standards applicable thereto; (4) science,
invention, and commerce were multiplying contacts among
nations and races; and (5 ) the commomman was acquiring
\
modes of self-expression that were without precedent in
history*1
1 George A* Coe, Educating for Citizenship (New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934), pp. 18-19.
Our unparalleled technical advancement is gradually
absorbing provincialism and is making for an improved
national unity*
The paramount educational reflection of
this trend is the lack of proper ethical codes of conduct
to complement the mechanical achievements of :this machine
age*
I . THE PROBLEM
Statement of the problem*
The purpose of this study
was to determine the status of instruction in the United
States Gonstitutlon in the upper grades of the elementary
schools of Butte County, California*
Emphasis is directed
toward the eighth grade as that is the grade level where
such work is known to be centered*
It was decided, through the use of a questionnaire
and a:,study of examination questions, to secure certain
information, which when compiled and interpreted would
determine the status of United States Constitution in­
struct! on in"the Bfctte Gounty elementary schools•
Through this study an attempt was made to determine
whether the present teaching of the United States Constitu­
tion is fulfilling the generally accepted aims for such
work*
Importance of the study. The World War created a
3
constitutional consciousness which, by 1924, found thirtyone states requiring the teaching of the federal constitu­
tion.2
The presidential administration of Franklin D.
Roosevelt has brought the federal constitution within the
focus of every fireside.
This was primarily due to the
adverse rulings of the Supreme Court,^ and was further
intensified by the so-called court-packing plan in the
President’s Judicial Reform message to Congress on February
5, 1937*
Democracy, with its constitutional form of government,
was brought to world wide attention when the war between
Germany and Great Britain as the principal foes began In
1939*
Continuing on through 1941 this conflict was built
up throughout the world as the supreme showdown between
ideals of governments
democracy versus total!tarinism.
Thus, again as in;1917, a world crisis is calling
the attention of the American people to their form of
government.
As a result of this the people are re-dedicating
themselves to the American way of life which has evolved
2 D. C. Knowlton, ’’The United States Constitution in
Schoolbooks of the Past,” The Social Studies. 29*7-14,
January, 1936.
5 E. ffi. Ericksson and T. H. Steele, Cons11tut1onal
Basis for Judging the New Deal (California: Rosemead Review
Press, 1936), p. 64.
4
from our constitutional form of government•
It must be kept in mind that acquisition of mere
facts is not indicative-of an intelligent understanding of
the United States Constitution.
The mastery of a large mass of facts about the
constitution does not mean that a person thus equipped
will be more critical, or more objective, or more wise
in his attitude toward this document.
For that reason the following marks of education for
citizenship are accepted as the broad aims of instruction in
the United States 0onstitution5
(1) definite convictions
as to what constitutes worthwhile living; (2 ) interest in
socially shared values; (3) real! zatlon that the state has
a definite focus; that there is an open space where citizens
may freely do what they will without official guidance, or
pressure, or discrimination? (4) become initiated into un­
solved problems, life actualities that are usually promoted,
not hindered by the usual school policy of silence. 5
Acceptance of these aims of constitution teaching
does not preclude the assimilation of facts•
On the con­
trary, factual knowledge is the basis of all attitudes,
Ideals, and understandings• These alms are statements of
the desired growth to be effected within the pupil, rather
^ A. 0. Fosander, "A Quantitative Study of Social
Attitudes", School Review,. 43:614-620. October 1935 ♦
5 Coe, op. cit., pp. 12-15•
than any eaumeration of .what the teacher is to do.
Emphasis
is thus placed on results rather than mode of instruction*
Vast sums of money are spent for education.
People
want their children to have more and more educational ad­
vantages*
This parental urge glorifies material and social
advantages *
But only rarely, it seems, do parents conceive the
hotter life in political terms*®
Principles of government which preserve, protect,
and defend such attainments seem to be relegated to
adulthood or left to take care of themselves*
It is in
this sphere that constitutional instruction will be of
greatest value.
California, in line with forty-two other states,?
has legislation requiring instruction in the Federal Con­
stitution*
Section 3•761 of the California School Code®
requires that the course of study in the elementary schools
of each city, county, and city and county shall provide
instruction in civics including a study of the Constitution
6 ifria* P* 119*
? H. Arnold BSnnett, The Constitution in School and
Colleges (Hew Yorks G. P. Putnam1s Sons, 1935)» pp. 251-69*
® SchoPl Code
1937)t 193 PP*
(Sacramento:
State of California,
of the United States.
Authority to prescribe the course
of study for the elementary schools of the county is vested
in the county boards of education.
The Bdtte County Board of Education requires that
each eighth grade pupil before being awarded a diploma of
graduation shall satisfactorily pass a test on the United
States Constitution.
The method of presentation and selec­
tion of testing devices is left to the discretion ©f the
individual schools.
However, a;list of the questions used
must be accepted by, and filed with, the county superin­
tendent of schools.
This treatment of the subject by the Butte County
Bbard of Education is in accordance with the recommenda­
tions of the Educational Policies Commission of the national
Education Association.
This Commission upholds the legal
right of the state to prescribe what shall be taught but
concurs that laws prescribing
/
• . . curriculum content, teaching processes, and
time allotments may not only cripple the initiative of
the teacher but prevent the attainment of socially
valuable objectives. .
The importance of this study evolves from a?broad
implication of the meaning of the United States Gpnstitu-
^ Educational Policies Commission, The Purposes of
Education in the American Democracy (Washington, D .07: The
National Education Association, 1938), p* 138*
7
tion as opposed to the strict eonstructionideabased on
the text of the constitution and its amendments.
Any Interpretation of the Constitution involves
interpretation of history in general. The formation,
adoption, development and interpretation of the Con­
stitution must be considered as a> phase of history.
Any treatment of the constitutional process as separate
from the conditioning; and determining; environment is
arbitrary and does nott correspond to the realities of
the total situation* u
Such interpretation of history in analyzing the
constitution is generally regarded as the basis for the
often heard unwritten and elastic clauses of the constitu­
tion*
It is impossible for anyone to anticipate future
events-— more-absurd still for the Constitutional Conven­
tion of 1?87 to have forseen the A&ericat that would unfold
during the ensuing 15^ years .
Even the framers did not regard the content of the
constitution with awe*
This fact has been illustrated by
an author who states that opposition to inclusion of a bill
of rights was based upon the theory that, *• . .fundamental
rights cannot be secured by codification.
Eternal law
cannot be written. . .“*2.
^ Charles A. Beard, “Historiography and the Consti­
tution” , The Constitution Reconsidered. Edited for American
Historical Association by Conyers E. Head (New fork:: Columbia
University Press, 1938), p. 160.
^ Roland Bainton, “The Appeal to Reason and the
American Constitution”, The Constitution Reconsidered. Edited
'by Conyers Head (New Xork: Columbia University Press, 1938),
p • 127•
a
Mitchell traces the development of our-unwritten
constitution as follows when he states that the document,
♦ • « has been reasonably flexible and elastic
through Judicial interpretation and through amendments
that are made from time to time. Through natural
growth and custom an unwritten constitution is arising.
The G onstitution says nothing ahout a budget or a
parcel post, yet we have them. The Constitution does
not provide for boards and commissions, yet we have
them. The Constitution provides for an elaborate, for­
mal , lengthy method of electing the president, yet the
next day after our national election, we know who the
president will be* Our unwritten Constitution, in­
cluding political parties, is a reality although not
a part of the written Constitution. • *12
The constitution cannot be set down as a; creation
of 1787 with a few amendments, but rather, it is the em­
bodiment of American culture, our laws* customs, and our
traditions.
This broad scope is emphasised by Kenworthy
who says, . * .to study the Constitution ofthe United
States is to study the history of the nation.
To limit
its scope is difficult* .
II♦ DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Classif 1cat!on of examination-questions.
In tabula­
ting the examination questions used by Butte County const!-
12 Waledo F. Mitchell, "The Constitution", Teachers
College Journal. 8:17-23, November 1936*
^ Leonard S. Kenworthy, "Adolescent America”,
Education. September 1937> p* 47*
tution teachers* the following-classifications were used:
multiple choice, true-false, fill-in-blank,, thought, and
fact*
Multi pie choiee* A multiple choice question is
one in whi eh two or more answers are gi ven, from whi ch
the correct answer is to be cho sen*
Eegardle ss of out -
line form in presenting this type of question, each
separate answer required is counted as a question*
True-false quo a11on♦ A true-false*question is a *
statement which must be marked in some manner, either true
or false. Each true or false statement is regarded ai
separate question.
Ftll-in-blanks * All statements containing a blank
space to be filled in are included 1n this group.
The
blank space mayIntroduce or complete the statement*
Be­
cause of the various ways of arranging this type of question,
each blank space is regarded as a single question*
Thought question.
M u s e d in this thesis 9
- a thought
question is one requiring an answer based on facts as opposed
to the simple stating of facts*
A thought question requires
an opinion which has been obtained through a related know­
ledge of various bits of information.
10
In order to eliminate as much subjective interpretac­
tion as possible, the following types of questions are not
classified with thought questions; multiple choice, truefalse* and fill-in-blanks.
Factual question* A factual question is understood
to mean any questIon which requires a definite preci se
answer.
It is a question that has only one objective
answer*
In this thesis the following types of questions
are not classified with factual questions:
multiple
choice, true-false* and fill-in blanks.
Status of instruction.
The status of instruction in
the United States Constitution is taken to include the
following:
(1) the amount of time used; (2 ) the basis of
instruction* such as textbooks* pamphlets, reference material,
or outlines; (3) the amount of correlation of the subject
with other school studies;. (4) the various procedures a
teacher may use in instruction; (5 ) the outcomes which the
teachers hope for as a result of such instruction; and (6 )
the examination questions which eighth grade pupils are re­
quired to satisfactorily pass before they may be graduated.
Procedures used in teaching.
Only those tangible
devices and procedures which were capable of being definitely
stated in an objective manner were Included as procedures
used in teaching*
11
This study did not concern itself with how a teacher
caused hi s pupils to memorlze the preamble but notes the
fact that the preamble was memorised.
It did not attempt
to find out how a reading table was used but records the
fact that such was used.
Thue, methods and procedures used in teaching were
limited to these discernable evidences of the teacher-pupil
relationship.
Anything pertaining to the manner in which
such evidences were-laanipulated to complete the teaching
situation were excluded*
Outcomes.
Space on the quest1onnaire prohlbited a
precise definition of outcomes.
However it is regarded as
the far-reaching aim of teaching and not -the -immediateresult of a single lesson.
Thus, an Immediate result of
United States Constitution instruction may be the memori­
zation of the preamble, but the outcome would probably be
an appreciative understanding of the purpose of our Consti­
tution and an insight into the inalienable right of a?,
people to decide their own plan of government.
Although this study concerned itself with, the exam­
ination questions used by teachers, the outcomes would be
the values achieved during the study rather than the grade
on the examination questions.
12
III.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDX
Scope of the survey# This thesis was concerned only
with the elementary schools of Butte County, California*
Thls county 1s located in the central part of Northern
California*
It is 1 ,698 square miles in area*and has
about forty-thousand population#
Located, on the eastern
hank of the Sacramento River, Butte County is somewhat
equally divided Into diversified agricultural lands hoard­
ing the river and the mountainous Sierras to the east.
There are fifty-three elementary school districts in
Butte County.
Fifty-seven schools have gradelevels where
instruction in the United States Constitution is given.
This is shown by Table I •
Weaknesses of the study.
It is self-evident that a
study of this nature cannot escape weaknesses.
This is due
to the human factors involved.
In general, survey findings are less dependable than
14
they are commonly believed to be.
Their dependlbl11ty
varies in direct relation to the amount of subjective mater­
ial requested.
For example, the outcomes hoped for in
^ W. S. Monroe, "Dependability and Value of Survey
Types of Investigation", School and Society. 38;521, October
1933*
13
TABLE I
COMPARATIVE SIZE OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
IN BUTTE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
Teachers in
the school
Number of
schools
1
36
2
9
3
2
4
3
5
1
6
1
8
2
19
1
32
1
55
1
Total schools
57
constitution Instruction arc true only at the time they
were written and must he accepted in: light of interpreta­
tions placed on them by the writer.
It is apparent that
Ideas concerning outcomes are constantly evolving and no
person tabulating returns can take into account the indi­
vidual inlerpretatlons of subject ive answer s.
The material obtained from the questionnaire repre­
sents only two-thirds of the eighth grade constitution
teacher of Butte County#
Thus, the conclusions resulting
from the questionnaire results must be accepted in light
of the returns obtained.
The possibility of error in the clerical tabulation
of facts has been reduced to a negligible minimum by
careful checking.
It is Impossible to ascertain the extent to which a
response may tell what should be rather than what is .
Teachers
are frequently Influenced by prevailing public opinion or
by pronouncements of persons of prominence.*^
It must be carefully noted that this thesis did not
attempt to survey local conditions and needs with respect to
United States Constitution instruction.
It is recognized
that such local conditions and needs should form the basis
for this work.
15 Ibid.
Ah adequate program and procedure in one
school may not fulfill the same educational expectations
in, another locality.
IV.
OECJAHIZAfXOH O^ THE REMAINBERr OF THE THESIS
Chapter II Is devoted to a review of the literature
pertaining to the status of the teaching of the United
States Constitution; Particular attention is given Bennett's
national survey*
Emphasised parts of this survey are trends
in textbooks, attempts to legislate, status of actual in­
struction and a presentation of a new theory and technique
of instruction.
Other literature reviewed concerns the development
of constitution studies in the public schools and the rela­
tion of the teacher to constitution study.
In Chapter III is found the procedure followed and
the sources of data listed.
Included is a description of
the questionnaire and a- copy of the questionnaire.
The results of the questionnaire will be found in
Chapter IV.
As a part of the review of the findings this
chapter contains tables and closes with a summary and
conclusions•
The examination questions are presented in Chapter
V.
Chapter VI is devoted to a~ summary and conclusions of
the entire study.
CHAPTER II
STATUS OF THE TEACHING OF THE CONSTITUTION
There are many works concerning the const!tution hut
few attempts have been made to survey present practices of
teaching the subject.
This seems a bit unusual in view of
the widespread use of that document as the basis of in­
structional courses from elementary schools through college.
The brevity and conciseness of the text coupled with uni veral patriotic fervor has resulted in numerous pamphlets,
syllabi, and self-made outlines to be used as a basis for
instruction*
I.
NATIONAL SURVEX
This book, by Binnett,1 published in 1935* is m.
thorough treatment of the United States Constitution as
taught in schools and colleges.
It contains a compilation
of the textbooks used, lists all attempts of the various
states to legislate the subject into the curriculum* re­
views the actual instruction in use, and presents a new
theory and technique of teaching.
Trends in textbooks♦ Constitution and civics text­
books were reviewed by Bennett from 1796 to the present
College
1 H. Arnold Binnett, The 0 onstltution in School and
(New York s G-. P* Putnam *s Sons J, 1935 *
IT
in three- groups*
up to 1885, forty-six books were studied
in concluding that they were Inclined to exalt the letter,
not the spirit of the Constitution#
Growth by statute,
judicial decision, and usage was ignored*
Political party
development and important court decisions were rarly cited*
Interesting excerpts illustrate these points.
From 1886 to 1920, nearly 150 texts were studied in
reaching the following conclusions:
(1) binding and
typography improved; (2) emphasis changed from federal to
local and state government; (3) the clause-by-clause and
question-and-answer type of text gave way to the running
discussion method; (4) more emphasis was found on the
functioning of government, political parties, and voting
machinery.
For the period since 1920, Bennett finds from 128
texts that the United States Constitution was becoming more
popular• More books were being devoted solely to the con­
stitution, yet they were scarcely more critical and less
defective than heretofore*
No text was yet realizing the
pedagogical potentialities of that document for the younger
generation.
Current American History textbooks were examined for
their treatment of the Constitution with only ai minority of
the 10? having a mode of treatment with a newer viewpoint.
Those intended for the upper grade or Junior high
school were more conservative than those of senior high
school level*
Attempts to leg!slate* fhe practice of legislating
political instruction into the school is traced by Bennett
from 1642 to the present time.
Impetus to the movement
resulted fro® the Civil War but the great wave of legisla­
tive prescriptions may be traced to the World War.
Constitution instruction statutes are new in force in
forty-three states.
An analysis of these statutes and re­
turns of a questionnaire from educational leaders form the
opinion that in general, the purpose of elevating the
United States Constitution to a place in the curricula has
not been realized.
Actual Instruction*
survey this field, courses
of study, examination questions, and other materials were
used by Bennett in addition to the textbook analysis.
Vir­
tually no attention is given before the seventh or eighth
grades.
Courses of study seem adequate but on the whole
the tests indicate that the student is expected to know
what is written In the Constitution from the preamble to
the twenty-first Amendment and a little that is between the
lines; but not much more.
Feeling exists that not suffi­
cient time is given to adequate study of the constitution.
A new theory and technique.
Due to the critical
analysis of material considered, Bennett presents his plan
of teaching the Constitution#
Hot much more than familiari­
ty with the factual elements can be expected below the
eighth grade, although with proper application this method
should be valuable at that level#
That the plan may be
considered reactionary by polictical scientists is expected
by Bennett.
The essence of this neo-Juridical method is as
follows:
begin with an extract from the Constitution, trace:
the history of its insertion in the document, then see how
it has been developed by the various methods of Constitu­
tional growth.
These methods are statutory elaboration,
executive order, judicial decision, formal amendment, and
custom.
The final step is the forming of an intelligent
opinion relative to the further development of the clause.
II.
DEVELOPMENT OF CONSTITUTION STUDIES
IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The public schools have always emphasized the develop­
ment of patriotism. Current conditions demand vigorous
attention to this Important aspect of citizenship.2
2 Biennial Report of the California*State Department
of Education. State of California, Department of Education
Bulletin, No. 6 , March 30, 1939*
20
This statement from the biennial report of the“California
State Department of Education shows plainly that the public
school of today is expected to give time and emphasis to
current government trends and practises*
Continuing with
regard to constitutional developments the report states
specifically: "The repeal of the eighteenth amendment has
increased the schools responsibility on the subject of
alcohol11•
That recent years
have brought the subjects of
current events and civics to the fore
knowledge*
is a matter of common
But as regards national laws,
Educators are beginning to realize what a large per­
centage of voters and tax-payers never go to school be­
yond the elementary grades, and hence the subject of
civics should be taught in the elementary grades even
as low as the third and fourth g r a d e s . 5
The fact that we are living in so important an era,
both politically and economically, does, therefore* only
give added Importance to
the study of current events* It has
been said of our current period,
We are living In an era which may well become as
significant in history as that in which our forefathers
framed the Constitution of the United States.^
P
Russel I»* Donnelley, "Making the Constitution Ah
Outline for a- Timely; lesson on iiistory", Grade Teacher.
September 1936, p. 44*
4 Ibid.
Early instruction: 1ft Qonstltuti on study^* While our
modern method of studying the Cons11tut1on: somewhat, . . .
relegates our basic law to the rear of the textbook* •
civics manuals of the nineteenth century were occupied
mostly with a minute clause analysis of the Constitution
as a legal paper*
Pupils were drilled in the principles
of American government as these were stated in the basic
law*
Phis type of study was entirely in keeping with the
political atmosphere of these early days, for the under­
lying problem for years was division of the Union over the
economic ramifications of slavery*
Both the North and the
South sought to define the Constitution in terms of their
own economic and political thought*
As a result the Con­
stitution was our chief political symbol on the eve of the
Civil War*
Following the Civil War and its aftermath, the Con­
stitution underwent a severe strain, and although several
amendments resulted, * ♦ .there was no permanent change in
the popular attitude towards the national charter. * *^.
Following the World War when the attention of the
5 H. Arnold,Bennett, "Education and the Constitution
An Issue Evaded", Progressive Education. April 1937, p. 268
6 Ibid.. p. 268
world was turned toward the aims and purposes of democracy,
instruction in civic government reached heretofore unknown
heights#
Patriotic associations, seeking to combat radical
tendencies, promoted observance in the school, first of a
Constitution Day, and later, of Constitution Week#
National
essay contests were conducted in which millions of students
took part in writing about our constitutional government#
these movements brought enactment of laws in forty-three
states requiring instruction in the Constitution*^
Relation of the teacher to -Constltution study• As
the movement for greater instruction in patriotism through
an understanding of the Constitution grew stronger,
teachers
responded in spite of the motive of the movement, namely, to
combat radicalism#
Many teachers realised that a super**
patriotic attitude toward the Constitution • • .would later
render difficult readaptation to a social order in which
change was Inevitable# • #®
This is what happened when President Franklin D.
Roosevelt attempted United States Constitutional interpre­
tations and Supreme Court-changes in order to meet depression
emergencies#
Cries of unconstitutional were echoed every-
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.
wherev
Obviously a teacher . # *should never be ai props*gandist for her own views* but she may properly allow both
sides of a question to be discussed b y h e r pupils. . #^
Then too, teachers are often times influenced by
what others think of the political interpretations they
are teaching*
In other words, teachers • * *have no
assurance that their vows to support the Constitution, will
be interpreted rationally by the powers that be# . #10.
Thus the tendency will be in many cases to avoid the sub­
ject*
It follows that leadership?in constltutional inter­
pretation will come, from instructors whose posltions are
relatively secure against removal because of any political
or economic opinions•
§ John W&trous, "American institutions, Material for
Use in Studying the Constitution^" Grade Teacher# September
1937* p*46.
CHARTER III
THE PROCEDURE AND SOURCES OF DATA
la organizing this study it was decided to secure
certaindata> which, when compiled and interpreted would
determine the status of constitution instruction in Bhtte
County, California*
It was assumed by the investigator
that such information would lead to a better realization
of the accepted outcomes for such teaching*
The Information was obtained through the use of a
questionnaire sent to each eighth grade teacher together
with a survey of examination papers secured from the
County Superintendent of Schools*
These examination
papers were filed by each eighth: grade teacher9 together
with a list of all pupils satisfactorily completing them>
at the office of the Butte County School Superintendent•
I.
THE .QUESTIONNAIRE
The questionnaire Items were planned to cover all
phases of the teacher-pupil relationship in connection with
constitution instruction*
It was deemed necessary at first
to locate in the curriculum where such instruction was
presented•
The commonly used curricular combinations of regular
causes or social study units were listed with a space for
25
for the teacher to Indicate any special place where he
might he giving constitution instruction.
He state textbook is prescribed for teaching the
constitution* so the second part of the questionnaire was
devoted to finding out the basis for the instruction.
In
this way the degree of use of texts, syllabi, personal
reference material or like material could be determined.
Part three of the questionnaire was inserted to
determine the amount of time devoted to a study of the
United States Constitution.
Some teachers plead lack of
time as theprincipal reason for not achieving the proper
re suit s in a teaching sltuati on♦
The use made of certain teaching aids comprises part
four,
fourteen teaching devices were enumerated in prefer­
ence to listing of teaching methods, such as unit plan,
problem-project, or socialized recitation.
The author
contends that teaching methods are too indefinite and not
clearly defined in the minds of the teachers to obtain any
reliable information as to their use«
The plan used was to
list evidences of different modes of teaching and from the
choices made of certain aids, methods of procedure could
to some extent be determined.
To discover how widespread memorization was required
was the intention of part five.
Asking for instructional
outcomes was the most important as well as the most diffi-
26
cult part of the Questionnaire to handlev
This is evident
fromthe Intangible nature of educational outcomes*
In surveying outcomes the choice is either to list
major known, outcomes and permit the teacher a: selection; or
simply request the teacher to list her outcomes for such
instruction.
The method of allowing the teacher to list her out­
comes was employed because it was felt aa more accurate
tabulation of outcomes could thus be obtained*
Although this study was more directly concerned with
the eighth grades, part seven was inserted to find out how
far down in the grades, instruction in the constitution was
given.
The usual practice in small schools where aiteacher
has more than one grade in a class is to give the same
social studies unit to all•
Finally a request was made to list any additional
Information pertinent to the teacher's instruction in the
United States Constitution.
teacher remarks.
A space was thus left for
The questionnaire will be found on page
twenty-eight.
II. EIGHTH GRADE CONSTITUTION QUESTIONS
Each eighth grade teacher must file a set of questions
used in instruction in the United States Constitution with
the County Superintendent of Schools.
Before diplomas
27
can fee granted the teachers must certify that their eighth
grade pupils have satisfactorily passed this examination.
No standards ©f instructional procedure, examination con­
tent, or passing grade are set up by the County Board.
However, Issuance of diplomas is subject to acceptance of
the report of the teacher.
The examination questions filed fey the eighth grade
teachers during the school year 1939*1940 were obtained
from the office of the County Superintendent of Schools.
These questions were expected to yield the following data:
(1) tabulation of facts concerning the Constitution which
appear in the tests; (2) relative number of factual and
thought questions; and (3) average number of questions
used.
The results of the questionnaire will be found in
the next chapter*
In addition to a discussion of the
results, tables are presented to show a capitulation of
the results.
Chapter V will be devoted to an analysis of the
examination questions.
tables•
Significant data?, is presented in
INSTRUCTION IN?:THE UNITES STATES CONSTITUTION:’
ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, 11939-1940
Please check (X) or fill In the following blank spaces s
1. How is eighth grade constitution taught in your school:
a. As a regular course-— ---------
—
b* As a part of a social studies unit-
Yea
No
— Yes
No
c. Combined with United States History— — — Yes-
No
d* Combined with Civics-------- — --------- Yes
No
e* Other provision
v :
2. What is constitution instruction based upon:
a* Text for each pupil-— —
Author and title
— ---- ---- <*— Yes
':
No
b* Syllabus or outline for each pupil------ Yes
Author and title
No
c. Teachers plan and reference material
No
d. Other provision
Yes
_________ 1 • ' ~- ' ~
3. About how much time is devoted to constitution study:
a. Number of school weeks per year
b. About how many periods per week are used
for such work
____ '
_________
c. WHat is the approximate length of such periods
4* Check(X) what use you make of the following:
None
a. Reports
Some
----------{___) (_
b. Posters--— — *-(_
C
)
Often
)
Very
Much
(______ (___)
(____ ) (___)
29
None
c. Lectures
--- --— —
Some
_)
d. Cartoons— —
_)
(
)
(
)
(
(_____)
(
)
(m____
e* Reading table________ {;________(_
f. News Clippings--—
Very
much
Often
_)
(___(________ __
)
(
)
(
)
(
g. dramatization---------(___ _)
(
)
(
)
(____
h* Bulletin board-------- (____ )
(
)
(
)
(
1. Historical pictures—
»(
)
j* Pupil-made notebooks— (
)
k. Question and answer
lists---------- ----—
)
(
1. Teacher-led
discussions—
)
m. Wall or blackboard
charts*— ---------- — (
)
n* Assignment recita­
tion
)
(
)
(
)
C____ )
(
)
)
(____ )
(
(
)
)
L ____ )
(_
(
)
(_
_
(
(___ (
)
(
(_____ )
(
o. Other procedure
5* If any, tell what memorization selections you requires
6# What outcomes do you hope for in constitution instructions
7* In what grades Is constitution instruction
pre sented_
____ ;
_______ __
How many pupils participate in this instruction.
»♦
Please list additional information concerning your.constitu­
tion instruction which is not covered by the above
CHAPTER IV
RESULTS OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE
Of.the fifty-seven questionnaires sent out, thirtyeight replies were received for a?return-of 67 per cent.
Seventeen one-room: schools, avtwo and as four-room school
failed to return the forms*
Although only two-thirds of
the schools are represented, 93 per cent of the eighth
grade pupils of Butte County are represented by the returns*
The place of eighth grade constitution study*
Table
II shows the place in the curriculum of this subject*
United States Constitution study was combined with other
work by 71 per cent of the teachers*
The remaining 27 per
cent teach It only as a regular eourse.
Combining with a social studies unit was the plan
of twelve, or 32 per cent, of the teachers, while five
teachers reported teaching the subject as a regular course
in addition to combining it with other studies.
Two teachers noted that constitution study was applied
throughout the year*
Another stressed it throughout the
year in social studies with an intensive three weeks course;
near the close of the year*
Due to transients, one teacher reported teaching the
constitution three times:
first, as a colonial unit; second,
32
TABLE II
THE PLAGE OF CDNSTITUTIOIEilNSTRUCTION
AS INDICATED BY THIRTY-EIGHT TEACHERS
Instruction placement
Teachers
per cent
number
As a part of a social studies unit
12
31.6:
As a regular course
11
28*9
Combined with civics
5
13*1
As a part of a?social studies unit
and as a regular course
2
5.3
Combined with civics and as a
regular course
2
5.3
Combined with United States history
1
2*6
As a regular course, as a part of a
social studies unit, and combined
with civics
1
2.6
Combined with United States history
and combined with civics
1
2*6
AS a regular course, combined with
United States history, and combined
with civics
1
2.6
As aa.part of a social studies unit,
combined with United States history,
and combined with civics
1
2*6
A® ai regular course, as a part of a>.
social studies unit, combined with
United States history, and combined
with civics
1
2.6
33
with reference material and questions; and third, by
giving the pupils question and answer lists.
This teacher
further stated that next year she plans to complete this
work as a regular course during the last part of the term.
This would eliminate the necessity of duplicating the work
for the pupils transferring to her eighth grade a few weeks
prior to graduation.
Combining with current events twice a week plus a
short drill course in the spring were ways of accommodating
the constitution instruction, according to one reply.
An­
other teacher answers that his instruction in the United
States Constitution was partly combined with social studies
and pupil club work.
S
'
A teacher in a one^room school reported that she
started her constitution Instruction just prior to natural­
isation proceedings in the county superior court.
After
the pupils had some background work * she took them to visit
the naturalization proceedings*
She reported the pupils
much Impressed and inspired.
One reply added the-comment that the constitution
should not be studies in grammar grades but should be placed
in high school civics.
Basis of constitution instruction.
Half of the
teachers bffise their instruction on their own plan supple­
34
mented by reference.
Table III shows the basis of instruc­
tion as Indicated by the thirty-eight replies to the-quest­
ionnaire ♦
A text in thehands of each pupil is provided by
fourteen schools.
Ten of these individual texts were state
books for history and civics and were not primarily Intended
to be used as United States Constitution textbooks.
One teacher reported making good use of a weekly news
sheet.
An outline for each pupil was used by ten teachers.
In three cases the outline used was the work of the teacher,
while two reported developing the outline as a result of the
class work.
Two replies stated more material suitable for
the grade level was needed.
Time devoted to constitution study.
The que stionnalre
revealed considerable difference regarding the time scheduled
for constitution study.
The number of weeks used ranged
from two to thirty-eight per school year.
number was eight weeks.
The medium
Table IV, page 36, shows the amount
of time used by each teacher*
The number of periods per week ranged from one to
ten, with a-imedium of four.
The length of periods ranged
from a minimum of fifteen minutes to ninety minutes with
a medium of forty minutes per period.
This part of the questionnaire was difficult for
35
TABUS III
BASIS OF CONSTITUTION INSTRUCTION
AS INDICATED' BY THIRTY-EIGHTH TEACHERS
Basis of Instruction
1.
Teachers plan and reference
material
Teachers
number.
per cent
19
50.0
2.
Text for each pupil
5
11*2
3.
Text for each pupil, outline for
each pupil, and teachers plan
and reference'" material
5
13.2
Text for each pupil and teachers
plan and reference mater1al
4
10.5
Outline for each pupil and
teachers plan and reference
material
3
7.9
6.
Outline for each pupil
1
2.6
7.
Text for each teacher and out­
line for each pupil
1
2.6
4.
5;
TIME DEVOTED BY EACH TEACHER-TO CONSTITUTION
STUDY AS INDICATED BY THIRTY-EIGHT TEACHERS
Weeks
per year
2
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
4
5
5
5
6
6
6
6
6
6
8
8
8
8
Periods
in week
Minutes
in period
5
2
4
5
2
4
5
60
50
50
90
40
20
20
50
45
15
40
50
25
60
40
4^
30
45
25
30
60
40
5
10
5
5
5
3
2
3
4
6
10
5
5
3
5
Weeks
per year
Periods
in week
Minutes
in period
8
10
50
30
9
5
4
40
9
4
9
50
40
9
5
50
9
5
10
0
0
10
2
20
10
2
25
12
2
20
12
30
3
12
40
3
5
16
20
4
18
30
25 (stressed in Soc. St.)
1
36
40
1
40
38
Max*
Med*
Min*
38
8
2
10
4
1
90
40
15
NOTE: This table should be read as follows: ' Two
weeks of the school year was used for constitution study by
one teacher; there were five periods in each week of sixty
minutes each in length*
Three weeks of the school year was used for constitu­
tion study by one teacher; there were two periods in each
week of fifty minutes each in length*
37
some to answer due to the manner in which their constitu­
tion instruction was correlated with social studies, cur­
rent events, club work, history or civics*
Another Hstress­
ing as
it came up11, found it impossible to fill in the
amount
of time devoted the work*
Use made of certain procedures.
Part four of the
questionnaire listed the most commonly used devices for
motivating a study of the constitution*
Following these
statements were spaces for the teacher to indicate the
degree of use of such items.
The use made if the items
<*■%
was noted by checking a blank underneath one of the follow­
ing statements s none, some■, often, or very much.
As expected most teachers use most of the procedures
some of the time. This is attested by the average of
seventeen
teachers noting some use of each of the fourteen
items•Table V shows the
frequency of use by the teachers
of all procedures considered.
AAreadlng table is most widely used; fourteen teach­
ers used a reading table very much and nine used it often.
Teacher-led discussions and new clippings were next In order
of popularity, with ten using them very much and eleven
using them often.
Historical pictures* reports, bulletin
boards, and question and answer lists were frequently used
devices.
Dramatizations, lectures, and cartoons were the
38
TABLE V
USE MADE, OF CERTAIN .PROCEDURES.
BX THIRTY-EIGHT TEACHERS
Number of teachers usins: *•
Procedure
None
Some
Often
Very
much
Reports
1
18
14
5
Posters
6 •v
'
22
3
1
Lectures
8
22
1
1
Cartoons
4
23
6
0
Reading table
3
12
9
14
News clippings
2
14
11
10
14
16
1
0
Bulletin Board
3
15
10
8
Historical pictures
1
20
6
8
Pupil-made notebooks
6
13
5
9
Question and answer lists
2
17
9
8
Teacher-led discussions
1
15
11
10
Wall or blackboard charts
9
10
10
1
Assignment-recitation
6
23
4
3
Dramatisation
NOTE: This table should be read as follows: one
teacher did not use any reports, eighteen teachers used them
some, fourteen teachers used them often, and five teachers
used them very much.
leaBt used.
One teacher noted frequent use of their radio
system for programs.
Memorisation selections required•
There were fifteen
separate memory selections listed, while eight of the
schools indicated that no memorization was required.
Two
teachers who Indicated no memory work was required, added
that as a result of the study their pupils were familiar
with emphasized parts of the Constitution* particularly
the preamble,
fable VI lists the memory selections and the
number of teachers requiring each.
The preamble was the most often studied memory
selection and was required by thirty teachersv
The presi­
dent's oath of office must be memorized in seven schools
While three teachers require powers of Congress to be memor­
ized.
The following memory selections were found only once
each in the surveys
harmony between states; qualifications
of officers; powers denied congress; how a bill becomes a
law; Gettysburg Address; American Creed; cabinet; supreme
court; departments of government; applied powers; bill of
rights; and president1s duties•
Outcomes hoped for in constitution study.
replies failed to list any outcomes.
Only two
One reported no great
value in constitution study in elementary schools.
Unless
40
TABLE VI
MEMORIZATION REQUIREMENTS AS INDIGATED
BY THIRTY-EIGHT TEACHERS
Memorization required
Preamble
Number of teachers
30
President1s oath of off!ce
7
Powers of Congress
3
Harmony between states
1
Qualifications of officers
1
Powers denied Congress
1
How aabill becomes a law
1
Gettysburg Address
1
American Creed
1
Cabinet
1
Supreme Court
1
Departments of government
1
Applied powers
1
Bill of Rights
1
President’s duties
1
No memorization required
8
41
the study grows out of a real Interest in our government
it is meaningless and too often children study merely to
pass attest, according to this reply.
The separate outcomes listed, amounting to seventyfive, were, after tabulation found to fall in s e w n groups.
These may be found in Table VII.
These statements are
very broad and overlapping, however in each aa-definite
phase is emphasized.
To strengthen within the pupils, ideals of citizen­
ship, was the aim of twenty-three teachers while seventeen
want their pupils to understand and appreciate the demo­
cratic principles of our government.
Emphasis on the
constitution itself was noted by fifteen teachers who hoped
their pupils would know and understand more about that
document.
The historical aspects leading to the making of our
constitution were considered important by seven teachers
and six schools hope for pupil government to be a. result of
constitution instruction.
To perpetuate and develop democracy was an outcome
for five teachers, while two want their pupils to learn how
our government is run.
One teacher wanted his pupils to
have the knowledge and desire to reconstruct our "tottering
social and economic structure democratically and through
the constitution”.
42
TABLE VII
OUTCOMES HOPED FOR: IN CONSTITUTION .INSTRUCTION
AS INDICATED BX THIRTX-EIGHT TEACHERS
Outcome
Frequency
To strengthen within the pupils, ideals
of citizenship
23
To understand and appreciate the democratic
ideals of our government
17
To understand and know more about the United
States 0onstltuti on
15
To understand difficulties leading to the
making of the United States Constitution
7
Practice in self-government (pupil-government)
6
To perpetuate and develop democracy
5
To learn how our government; is run
2
Failed to list any outcomes
2
No value in constitution study
1
43
Grades and number of pupils participating In eonstitutlon instruction*
In no school did this instruction go
below the seventh grade, while thirty-seven per cent of the
schools combined the seventh and eighth grades for the
work#
The number of pupils receiving this instruction by
each teacher and their grade level is shown in Table VIII.
Only one teacher did not Include the eighth grade.
Continuing with a reason for this, he stated that that
grade had received the instruction the previous year and
it would have been a.duplication of work to have included
the eighth grade again*
Six of the replies indicated an application of selfgovernment to the four upper grades.
Summary.
Constitution instruction in Butte County
elementary schools was about equally divided, as far as
curriculum placement is concerned, between a separate
course, combining It with social studies, or combining it
with civics.
Most schools that combined this work with
other parts of the curriculum devoted a few weeks near the
close of the school year to an Intensive study of the
constitution alone.
Outstanding as a basis for such instruction was the
teachers plan and reference material.
Most schools place
an outline or guide in the hands of each pupil.
These
44
TABLE VIII
GRADES AND NUMBER OF PUPILS RECEIVING
CONSTITOTION INSTRUCTION, AS INDICATED
BY THIRTY-EIGHT TEACHERS
Grade
level
Number
of pupils
Grade
level
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
7-8
8
8
7-8
7*8
7*8
7*8
7-8
8
1
1
1
1
2
2
2
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
5
5
6
6
6
7
8
7-8
7-8
7-8
8
7-8
7*8
8
7
7-8
8
7-8
8
8
7*8
8
8
Total pupils
Ntimber
of pupils
7
8
9
9
11
13
15
16
17
20
25
36
45
64
80
120
165
723
NOTE: Thds table should be read: first teacher
gives the Instruction to the eighth grade and has one pupil
in the class,
hast teacher gives the instruction to the eighth
grade and has 165 pupils in this class*
outlines were either prepared materials or developed as the
course progressed♦
There was an extreme range of difference in the time
allotments devoted to constitution study*
This wide range
was found in the length of period, number of periods per
week, and the number of weeks used per year.
The part of the questionnaire devoted to the use of
teaching procedures revealed that a reading table, teacherled discussions, and news clippings were widely used*
Historical pictures, reports, bulletin boards, and questionand-answer lists were frequently used practices.
Those
moderately used were pupil-made notebooks, assignmentrecitation, wall or blackboard charts, cartoons, and posters.
Least popular of the procedures was dramatisation
while lectures were sometimes used.
All but three instructors had a definite aim in
teaching the United States Constitution.
To strengthen
within the pupil, ideals of citizenship was one hoped for
outcome of. 60 per cent of the replies.
Another predominating
outcome was to understand, appreciate, and know more about
the democratic principles of our government and our consti­
tution.
Seven teachers hope their pupils will better under­
stand the difficulties leading to the formation of the
constitution, while six emphasised pupil self-government.
To develop and perpetuate democracy was one of the outcomes
listed by five teachers and two teachers hoped their pupils
would learn how our government is run.
The preamble to the constitution was a required
memory selection in eighty per cent of the schools.
The
president’s oath of office must be memorized in seven schools,
while three required the powers of Congress to be memorized.
There were twelve other memory selections, each, however,
being required in only one school each.
Constitution instruction is largely confined to the
eighth grade*
The self-government phase of constitution
instruction is applied to the four upper grades in six
schools
CBMSSXmrr
THE EXAMINATIONSQUESTIONS OH THE CONSTITUTION
Each eighth grade teacher* other than those In the
cities of Chico and Qroville* giving instruction in the
United States Constitution must file their examination
questions with the County Superintendent of Schools.
These examination questions for the school year 1939-1940,
form the basis for this chapter*
Clas sif1cat1on of the questions used. A-cheelc of
the forty-five sets of examination questions showed an
extremely wide range in the number of questions used by
forty-five teachers.
to 130*
The tests ranged from five questions
^ive teachers used more than a hundred questions
and three used less than nine.
The medium number of
questions found in the tests was thirty.
Table IX shows
each set of examination papers classified according to the
different types of questions used.
Of the 1,911 questions surveyed* 47 per cent were
simple factual question.
The fill-in-blank type comprised
26 per cent of the tot%l but was used by only eighteen of
the forty-five teachers.
True or false questions were used by eleven teachers
which contributed 14 per cent of the total questions.
The
48
TABLE IX
DIFFERENT.TYPES OF. QUESTIONS IN
FORTY-FIVE SETS OF EXAMINATION PAPERS
Total.
Number of different type questions
questions Thought
True-false Fill In Multiple Factual
In:test
questions questions blanks choice
questions
5
7
8
10
10
12
12
13
14
14
16
17
19
20
20
20
20
21
25
26
27
30
30
30
30
30
31
41
47
50
50
50
50
1
3
5
5
4
2
1
1
1
1
5
1
1
3
1
2
3
4
8
10
9
1
6
2
3
1
10
4
10
10
20
9
18
20
4
1
8
5
25
3
10
6
4
35
20
4
4
8
5
5
7
10
7
13
13
16
16
16
14
19
20
15
13
15
17
26
16
24
28
17
27
14
16
36
45
1
12
TABliB
IX CONTINUED
DIFFERENT TYPES OF QUESTIONS IN
FORTY-FIVE' SETS OF EXAMINATION PAPERS
Total
questions
in itest
58
62
68
80
84
85
88
100
111
112
128
130
Total
1,911
Per cent
100
Number of different type questions______
Thought
True-filse Fill in Multiple Factual
questions questions blanks choice
questions
2
3
1
25
35
10
20
100
58
40
10
15
24
80
25
30
35
15
32
112
19
20
33
12
5
27
60
1
14
127
116
133
260
5065
7
14
26
113
899
6
47
number of true or false questions used ranged from six in a
small test to one*»hundred in a large test♦
Only seven;teachers used multiple choice questions*
These amounted to 6 per cent of the total.
Questions in­
volving. a pooling of ideas, or thought questions were used
by 70 per cent of the eighth grade teachers*
However, this
classification of the papers amounted to only 7 per cent
of the total.
Only two teachers had questions in all five class­
ifications*
One test of ten questions was divided equally
between thought and factual questions*
Only six papers had
more than five essay or thought type questions.
General content of examination ques11ons• The total
number of questions referring to various phases of the
constitution is shown in Table X*
The preamble was re­
ferred to in thirty-seven questions*
The three departments
of our government and the amendments received the most em­
phasis*
The frequency of the various types of questions
shows legislative leading the list, being referred to 501
times, executive is next with 343, and the Judicial depart­
ment with 144*
The amendments received 218.
Miscellaneous parts of the constitution received 196
notices*
questions*
To define wordsor phrases was the object of 110
The historical phase of constitution study was
51
TABLE X
treatment.
.o f ..v a r i o u s p h a s e s .o f ..t h e :..c o n s t i t u t i o n .
INFORTY-FIVE SETS O F JEXAMINATION QUESTIONS
Humber of
Questions
Per
cent
Legislative department
501
26.2
Executive department
343
18.0
General treatment of the subject
262
13.7
Amendments
218
11.4
Mlscellaneous parts of const1tution
198
10.2
Judicial department
144
7.5
Define words or phrases
110
5.8
Historical
100
5.3
37
1.9
1,911
100.0
Type of reference
preamble
Total
referred to a& hundred times, and 262 questions pertained to
a general treatment of the subject.
Treatment,of the legislative department.
The legis­
lative department was the object of twenty-six per cent of
the total questions used.
Table XI lists the frequency of
questions referring to various parts of the legislative
department.
Representative questions about the legislative
department are as follows:
a.
Name the branch of the government which was or­
ganized to make laws•
b.
The Constitution provided for what two houses
of Gongress?
c. What are the qualifications for members of both
houses of Congress?
d. The presiding officer of the House is
called
.
e.
The number of representatives from a. state is
based on: population of the state; area of the state;
political Influence of the state,
(multiple choice)
f• Congress may make a-law limiting what we may
say or print,
(true or false)
The House of Representatives and the Senate received
approximately the same number of questions or 118 and 120
respectively.
The qualification of members and the sole
powers of each house of Congress received the same emphasis,
53
TABLE XI
TREATMENT OF LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT: IN
FORTY-FIVE SETS OF EXAMINATION QUESTIONS
Type of reference
Frequency
House of Representatives
General questions
Qualifications of members
Sole ppwefs
118
75
20
23
Senate
General questions
Qualifications of members
Sole powers
79
22
19
120
How a bill becomes a: law-'
Powers of Congress
PTohibltione on 0ongre as
General questions
51
66
33
113
Total references to Legislative Department
501
54
being noted from-nineteen to twenty-three times*
Powers of Congress were mentioned sixty-six times*
This usually took the form of a request to write ten powers
of Gongress.
One paper was quite direct in asking for the
eighteenth power ©f Congress.
The prohibitions on
Congress
was in thirty-three questions*
The process of a bill becoming arlaw was referred to
~ fifty-one times*
These references took many forms*
Most
were simple factual questions asking for such information
as, by what vote must a bill pass congress, or whether a
bill must pass both houses of congress.
Others requested
a brief explanation on how a bill becomes a law*
One
teacher requested a step by step description of how a bill
becomes a law*
Treatment of- the executive department*
The execu­
tive department was mentioned in 343 of the 1,911 questions
tabulated, as shown in Table XIX.
The duties and powers of
the president were referred to sixty-four times*
Typical
questions concerning the powers and duties of the president
were as follows:
a*
Name five powers of the President*
b.
What happens to a bill if the President signs it.
c.
What is the President’s Judicial power?
d.
What are the duties of the President?
TABLE XIX
TREATMENT OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT IN
FORTY-FIVE SETS OF EXAMINATION QUESTIONS
Type of reference
President
(General questions
Election:
Duties and powers:
QQalifloations
Term of office
Oath of office
Presidential succession
Cabinet
Vice•President
General questions
Total references to Executive Department
Frequency
212
47
36
64
33
20
3
9
52
28
51
343
e . Give til© duty/of the executive department of
the governments
The election ofthe president was the concern of
thirty-six questions* Most of these were for factual parts
■ ,s
^,
of the' election procedure. Included here were questions
concerning the majority vote* number of electors, qua!ifIv
4 > i'
cations of voters, and when the presidential election takes
place.
However, the complete story of a presidential
election was covered in various questions dealing with the
election from the convention primary to a possible.selection
in the House of Representatives.
The qualifications for the presidency were referred
to thirty-three times, and the term of office of the presi­
dent received twenty notices.
Nine questions referred to
presidential succession.
The cabinet was dealt with in fifty-two questions.
Here again the difference in type of reference was broad.
A sampling is as follows:
a.
There are _____ — departments in the president’s
cabinet•
b.
How are the Cabinet members chosen?
c • Give the names of the present members of the
President’s Cabinet, their departments and some of each
one's duties*
The vice-president was the object of twenty-eight
questions.
Most of these referred to his constitutional
duty of presiding oyer the senate.
Treatment of the judicial department#
Afcthird of
the Judicial department’s 144 questions were about the
Supreme Court, as presented in Table XIII.
These mainly
concerned the number of Judges* their salary, how they
obtain office and the purpose of the court.
The make-up of the Judicial department was in thirteen
questions and were concerned with the Jurisdiction of fed­
eral courts.
That the Judges are in office for life or
during good behavior was questioned eleven times.
There were fifty-nine general questions about the
Judicial department.
a.
Typical of these were:
Of what use is the Judicial branch of our govern­
ment?
b.
The three divisions of government are
- •
c.
and
«
»
What Federal Courts are there besides the Supreme
Court?
d.
in
The Judicial power of the United States is vested
the President— -Supreme Court-- Congress— -the
President’s Cabinet.
Treatment of the amendments.
gives the following tabulations.
Table XIV, page 59*
There were 218 questions
TABLE XIII
TREATMENT OP JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT IN
FORTX-FIVE SETS OP -EXAMINATION QUESTIONS
Type of reference
frequency
General questions
59
Jurisdiction
12
Supreme Qourt
49
Make-up of department
13
Term of Judges
11
Tdtal references to Judicial Department
144
TREATMENT OF AMENDMENTS IN FORTY-FIVE
SETS OF EXAMINATION QUESTIONS
Type of reference
Frequency
General questions
25
Bill of flights (first ten amendments)
65
Amendment XI
8
Amendment XII
5
Amendment XIII
14
Amendment XIV
18
Amendment XV
9
Amendment XVI
8
Amendment XVII
4
Amendment XVIII
8
Amendment XIX
15
Amendment XX
33
Amendment XXI
Total refarenoes to amendments
8
218
about the amendments.
The first ten amendments, or the
Bill of Sights, received the most emphasis with sixty-three
questions.
The following questions are illustrative of
the requirements of the different teachers on this topic:
a.
What religious freedom do the people have?
b.
The Bill of Bights are stated in the —
Why?
first
ten amendments— -Preamble— -Articles of Confederation.
c.
What is the first amendment to the Constitution?
d.
What is the Bill of Rights?
e.
Name ten specific rights quaranteed under the
first ten amendments.
Underline the five rights in
the above which are limited within reasonable bounds
in order to protect the rights of individuals.
The twentieth, or Lame Duck amendment# was the object
of thirty-three questions.
These concerned such items as
inauguration ofthe president add when Congress meets.
Mdefinition of a citizen in the fourteenth amendr
ment was referred to eighteen times.
Women suffrage
granted in the nineteenth amendment was the object of
fifteen questions.
The fact that the slaves were freed by the thirteenth
amendment was used fourteen times in questions and giving
negroes the right to vote in the fifteenth amendment was
used nine times.
The eleventh, sixteenth, eighteenth, and
twenty-first amendments were each used eight times in exam-
lnation questions.
Amendment twelve concerning the election
of the president was used five times and the seventeenth
amendment was referred to four times.
There were twenty-five general questions about the
amendments•
Treatment of miscellaneous Questions on the constitu­
tion.
The question of changes or how to amend the consti­
tution was used thirty-eight times, as shown in Table XV.
Typical of these are:
a.
How may the Constitution be modified?
b.
How may an
amendment to the
Constitutionbead­
opted?
c.
All amendments require a___________ majority
vote to pass each house,
d.
Who sets the time allowed for amending?
Impeachment was the topic of twenty-seven questions.
These concerned who may be impeached and what happens to an
impeached officer.
The privileges and duties of citizens
concerned twenty-one questions.
Here were included many
thought questions such as:
a.
What are the duties of citisens?
b.
Why have a
Jury trial?
c.
Why should
cltlsens of one state be entitledto
the rights
and of another state?
TABLE XV
TREATMENT OF MISCELLANEOUS FARTS OF THE CONSTITUTION,
IN FORTY-FIVE/ SETS OF EXAMINATION QUESTIONS
Type of reference
Frequency
How amended
38
Impeachment
2?
Privileges of citizens
21
Supreme law of the land
20
Treason
12
New states
11
Ratification
11
States rights
10
Checks and balances
9
Religious test for office
6
Natural!zat1on
6
Compromises in constitution
5
Miscellaneous
Total references
20
196
63
Reference to the supreme law of the land was made
twenty times.
Treason was the subject of twelve questions.
Inquires about treason concerned what it was, who declares
the punishment, and how may a person; be proven guilty.
The addition of new states and the process of
ratification of the constitution each were found in eleven
questions.
The rights of the various states were noted in
ten questions, while the checks and balances of our form
of government was the object of nine questions.
The matter of a religious test for office and
naturalization were mentioned six times each, and the
compromises in the constitution were requested five times.
Treatment of history of the constitution. When and
where the constitution was written was asked twenty-five
times.
Table XVI gives the tabulations in the treatment
of history of the Constitution in forty-five sets of exam­
ination questions.
The Articles of Confederation were
referred to thirteen times.
These references mainly con­
cerned what kind of government was used before the consti­
tution and why did the Articles of Confederation fail.
The various leaders in the Constitutional Convention
were requested nine times, and in addition, James Madison
was individually referred to eight times.
as *The Father of the Constitution*.
Madison is known
TREATMENT OF HISTORY OF THE CONSTITUTION IN
FORTY-FIVE SETS OF EXAMINATION QUESTIONS
Type of reference
Frequency
When and where written
25
Articles of Confederation
13
Leaders- in the Gonvention
9
Madison: Father of Constitution
8
Continental Congress
5
Deelaration of Independence
5
Miscellaneous
Why needed or made
Total references to history of constitution
2?
8
100
There were eight questions concerning a need for ai
constitution.
Questions about the Declaration of Independ­
ence were asked five times.
Content of an average test.
Based on an average of
forty-three questions to each test.
content of an average test.
Table XVII shows the
This examination list would
have one question about the preamble.
The legislative de­
partment would come in twelve questions.
The president and
the executive department would be the object of eight
questions, and the judicial department would be covered by
three.
The amendments would be alloted~five questions, while
two questions each would be devoted to history, definition
of terms, and miscellaneous parts of the constitution.
This average test would close with six questions concerning
civics in general.
Continuing with the type of question to be used,
nearly half or twenty-one of the questions would be factual
and eleven would be of the fill-in-blank type.
There would
be six true-false and two multiple choice questions.
Thought or essay type questions would be limited to three.
Summary.
There was considerable difference of opinion
as to the number of questions needed in testing pupils on
the Constitution of the United States.
The largest test
TABLE XVII
CONTENT OF AN AVERAGE TEST COMPETED. FROM
FORTY-FIVE SETS OF EXAMINATION QUESTIONS
Division of content
Preamble
Legislative department
Number of
questions
1
12
Executive department
8
Judicial department
3
Amendments
5
Miscellaneous parts of constitution
2
History
2
Define words or phrases
2
General treatment of subject
6
Average questions used
43
type of questions used
Number of
questions
Thought questions
3
Time-false questions
6
Fill in blanks
Multiple choice
11
2
Factual
21
Average questions used
43
67
contained twenty-six as many questions as the smallest*
the examinations were complete In their coverage of the
factual material in the constitution.
Questions based on the facts found in the constitu­
tion made up half of the total questions used, while distinct­
ly thought questions amounted to only seven per cent.
'. j
The
type of questions as classified were true-false, multiple
choice, and fill-in-blank.
The three departments of our government were empha­
sised with the legislative being the basis of the largest
number of questions.
The historical phase of the subject
received only five per cent attention.
CHARTER VI
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
World War II has drawn the attention of the entire
world to forms of government*
The destruction* of certain
forms of government has been widely circulated as war alms*
Being a foremost world power the United States government
has received its share of praise and denunciation*
With
our country being drawn nearer to actual participation, the
educational treatment of the federal constitution becomes
mor^ timely.
In 1924 legislation in forty-three states required
instruction in the United States Constitution*
This was
an aftermath of the World War with its slogan, ’Make the
world safe for democracy'.
Constitution teaching is a part of civics in the
social studies field.
Because It is a small part of the
social studies program, it has been somewhat over-looked
In the many surveys of instruction*
A national survey and a study of related literature
indicated that the purpose of elevating the constitution
to a place in the curriculum has not been achieved.
It was
still a memory exercise with very little expected as to
the meanings between the lines*
Schools have always stressed patriotism but only
sine© World War I has the constitution Been prominently
featured in civic instruction*
California school law re­
quires instruction in the United States Constitution in
the elementary school.
I . SUMMARY
The purpose of this study was to determine the status
of instruction in the United States Constitution in the
seventh and eighth grades of the Butte County schools*
The
findings of this study were obtained through the use of at
questionnaire and a study of United States Constitution
examination tests used by the Butte County teaehers.
With respect to constitution instruction, the
questionnaire sought the following information:
(a) loca­
tion of the instruction in the curriculum; (b) basis of
instruction and amount of time devoted to it; (c) use made
of certain teaching procedures; (d) memorization required
and grades and pupils participating in the Instruction;
(e) outcomes hoped for in constitution study; (f) any
additional information not covered by the above.
There were fifty-seven questionnaires sent out and
thirty-eight replies were received for a return of sixtyseven per cent.
The replies represented 93
cent of the
Butte County seventh and eighth grade pupils receiving
United States Constitution instruction*
The reason for
this high per cent of pupil coverage was due to only the
very small schools not returning the questionnaire*
The forty-five sets of examination questions were
obtained from the office of the Oounty Superintendent of
Schools where they had been filed by the teachers*
About one-third of the Butte County elementary
schools taught the constitution as a separate course.
The
remainder combine the instruction with a:social studies
unit or civics.
The basis for such work was generally the
teachers plan or outline together with reference material.
A text for each pupil was used by only fourteen teachers.
The time devoted to constitution study ranged from five to
thirty-six hours per school year with a medium of twentyone hours.
According to the questionnaire the most commonly
used teaching procedures were the reading table, teacherled discussions, and news clippings.
Frequently used
procedures were historical pictures, reports, bulletin
boards, and question-and-answer lists.
The preamble was a required memory selection accord­
ing to thirty teachers or seventy-seven per cent of the
questionnaire replies.
The president’s oath of office was
required memory work by seven teachers.
All but three teachers responding in the survey had
definite aims for constitution Instruction.
The dominant
71
theme of these aims was to instill ideals of citizenship
based on the democratic priciples of our government as
provided for in the constitution.
The examination tests ranged from five to 130
questions with a medium of thirty.
Only 7 per cent of the
total questions used were distinctly thought or essay type
questions.
Simple factual questions comprised nearly half
of the 1,911 total.
Use was made of multiple choice, fill-
in-blank, and true-false types of questions.
The three department plan of our national government
was stressed.
The legislative department was referred to
in SOI questions while the executive and the Judicial de­
partments together had about the same number of questions.
The Bill of Rights or the first ten amendments were
referred to sixty*three times out of the 218 questions
concerning the amendments.
To define words or phrases was
requested 110 times, while the historical phase of the
document was the subject of one-hundred questions.
Reference
to the preamble was made thirty-seven times.
II. CONChUSIOBJS
1.
United States Constitution Instruction in the
elementary schools of Butte County, California, is quite
individualized.
This is to be expected in view of the
individualistic character of the rural school, coupled
72
with the broad curricular recommendations of the Butte
County Board of Education.
2.
The questionnaire was not returned by 46 per cent
of the one-room school teadhers while only 5 per cent of
the larger than one room failed to make a return.
This
would seem to indicate that teachers in one-room schools
are not too interested in this type of curricular research
work.
3*
The use of state texts for social studies as a
basis for constitution teaching was probably due to the
inability ofthe small districts to purchase more pertinent
material.
This is evidenced by the use of the state text
in small rural schools, while the only schools to place a
book devoted exclusively to the constitution, in the hands
of each pupil were the two city school systems.
However,
the smaller schools were supplied with numerous reference
books by the county library.
4.
The amount of time used in constitution study
was difficult to determine because of the many ways the
work was correlated with other studies.
The results clearly
indicate a considerable difference of opinion existing as
to how much time is necessary.
Although different groups
of children do not have the same needs, this difference of
time allotments is obviously traceable to the Individualistic
teaching philosophy of the elementary teacher.
73
5*
It was to be expected that most of the teachers
would use most of the listed teaching procedures some of
the time*
The extensive use of news clippings shows an
attempt to portray the constitution as a modern instru­
ment of government rather than a historical document.
6.
The teachers realisation of a need for mature
guidance in presentingthe United States Constitution to
pupils at the eighth grade level, was probably the reason
for common use of teacher-led discussions*
was used very little.
Dramatization
This would require considerable
time, preparation, and special ability on the part of the
teacher.
7*
It was a prevailing practice in Butte County
to devote a short period near the close of the eighth year
to an intensive drill of the constitution*
This was in
addition to other correlating work that may have taken
place earlier In the school year*
The reason for this
drill session may be due to the anticipation of sending
to the Butte County Superintendent of Schools the set of
examination questions which the eighth grade graduates
must satisfactorily complete.
This may account for the
apparent conflict between the ideals of citizenship as
aims of the instruction, and the factual-studded examin­
ation tests*
8.
The examination tests indicate the pupil is
74
expected to know the factual material from*the preamble to
the twenty-first amendment.
The thought or essay type
questions expect the pupils to have some interpretative
opinions; hut not much judging from the few used in the
examination tests.
9.
Patriot ism.:and citizenship is the predominating
theme which induced the legislating of constitution in­
struction into the schools. - The Butte County eighth
grade teachers seem-to agree as to aim.
The outcomes
they hope for in constitution study stress democracy and
the ideals of citizenship.
Thus perpetuating the American
way of life is the generally accepted reason for a study
of the United States Constitution.
10.
According to the questionnaires, the Butte
County teachers base their instruction on modern practices
and procedures.
They have correlated the study with other
socializing areas of the curriculum.
They vitalize their
study with such current events as naturalization sessions,
trial accounts, congressional happenings, radio programs,
and general news concerning the government.
They adapt
their instruction to the child through pupil organized
groups.
11.
Thus the status of United States Constitution
instruction in Butte County has two distinct phases.
is revealed by the questionnaire.
One
It is socialized in­
struct!on, aimed at developing ideals of citizenship*
other phase is pictured by the examination tests*
The
This is
a sincere attempt to observe the legal requirements, and
as a content study of the constitution it seems to be
successful*
BIB&IOGH&PHY
77
BIBLIOGRAPHY
A*
BOOKS
Bennett, Arnold H., The Constitution In School and Colleges*
New York: <K P* Putnam*s Sons, 1935• 315 PP*
Bloom, Sol, The Story of the Constitution* Washington,
D.0.: United States Sesquicentennial Commission, 1937*
19a PP*
Coe, George A., Educating for Citizenship* Hew Yorks
Charles Scribner1s Sons, 1932* 205 PP*
Educational Policies Commission, The Purposes of Education
in the American Democracy* Washington, D.C.: The
National Education Association, 1938* 157 PP*
Eriksson, Erik McKinley, and David N. Rowe. American
Constitutional History* Hew York: W. W. Horton and
Company, 1933* 527 pp.
Eriksson, Erik McKinley, and T. H* Steele, Constitutional
Basis for Judging the Hew Deal* Rosemead, California:
Rosemead Review Press, 193®* §7 PP
Read, Conyers, editor, -Historlografcphy and the Constitution.
the Constitution Reconsidered* New York t Columbia
University Press, 1936 * 424 pp.
State of California, School Code * Sacramento: State
Printing Office, 1937* 193 PP*
Willis, Hugh Evander, The Constitution of the United States
at the End of One-hundred Fifty Years* Bloomington,
Indiana: Indiana University, 1939* 72 pp.
B*
PERIODICALS AND BULLETINS
Bennett, Arnold H*, "Education and the Constitution, Ah
Issue Evaded," Progressive Education. April 1937*
p* 268.
Bond, George H*, "The Foundation of American Liberty," Hew
York State Education. 28:298-301, January, 1941.
Donnelley, Russel L., “Making the Constitution an Outline
for a Timely Lesson on History,” Grade Teacher,
September 1936, p. 44*
Custard, Leila R*, “The Sesquicentennial of our Bill of
Rights,” Social Education; 3:601-8, December 1939*
Kenworthy, Leonard S*, “Adolescent America,” Education*
September 1937# P* 47*
Knowlton, D* 0., “The United States Constitution in the
Schoolbooks of the Past," The Social Studies* 29:7-14,
January 1936*
Mitchell, Waldo F*, "The Constitution," Teachers College
Journal. 8:17-23, November 1936*
Monroe, W* S*, “Dependability and Value of Survey Types of
Investigation, School and Society* 38:517-22, October
1933 *
Muller, Edgar E., “Teach the Constitution,” Sierra Educa­
tional News, 37:44-5 # January 1941.
Murphy, Frank, "The Meaning of Civil Liberty," American
Teacher, 24:13-15, October 1939.
Page, Isabel, “Modern Objective Tests: the Constitution,"
Grade Teacher* 57:70, September 1939*
Posander, A* C*, "A Quantitative Study of Social Attitudes,”
School Review* 43:614-620, October 1935*
State of California, "Biennial Report of the California
State Department of Education," Department of Education
Bulletin. No* 6, March 30, 1939*
Sturges, Elizabeth, "A Test on the Constitution for Middle
and Upper Grades," The Instructor. 50:24, November 1940*
Venable, Katherine, “The Constitution: a simple interprets**
tlon of its essential features," Grade Teacher* 58:56,
September 1940*
Watrous, John, "American Institution, Material for use in
Studying the Constitution,” Grade Teacher. September
1937, p. 36*
APPENDIX
80
Biggs, California
May 1940
Fellow Educators:
Inclosed is a questionnaire, the purpose of which is to
survey present practices in teaching the United States
Constitution*
A copy of the results of this study will be furnished
you by noting your name and address on the returned
questionnaire or upon receipt of a separate request.
A self-addressed stamped envelop is inclosed for your
convenience in returning the blanks. As this is not a
case study it is unnecessary for you to sign your name.
I hope for an early reply and wish to thank you for
your attention to this matter.
Sincerely yours,
E. A. Hendrix
Biggs, California
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