Missouri’s College of the Ozarks plans to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain, starting from its classrooms.
The Midwest university has launched a new course for first-year students called “Patriotic Education and Fitness”. It will teach students on how to be patriotic, countering what Jerry Davis, the college president dubbed as anti-American sentiments that have been simmering for a few years, according to Times Higher Education.
“We can all be patriots, but we all can’t be in the military. But we need to understand each other,” Davis told Inside Higher Ed.
“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 per cent [of American citizens] that don’t serve in the military, and the 1 per cent that does.”
“We don’t need that gulf to widen — we need it to close.”
The course seems to fit the Christian liberal arts college – after all, one of the school’s five pillars is “patriotic education”.
New Graduation Requirement: Patriotism – Inside Higher Ed https://t.co/mvncLe7stp
— Exercise report (@Exercisereport) October 26, 2017
The course, which piloted last year and debuted for freshmen this year, will merge elements taken from the college’s patriotic education together with reserved officer training corps programming and physical education courses.
Students will learn how to read maps and the protocols on handling the US flag coupled with other government and civic aspects. For civic engagement, both College Republicans and College Democrat chapters have been listed as options on the college’s website.
“I want them to have an appreciation for the country in which we live. They should understand how it works, and they should understand more about the military and how it operates,” Davis said.
“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.”
“If you’re going to be a good citizen, we can’t think of a better way to prepare you than to take a class like this.”
When asked whether the course will be forcing patriotism into its students, just like how requiring National Football League players to stand during the national anthem has been accused of the same, Davis disagrees.
Inspired by Kaepernick and NFL, professors and students protest off the field https://t.co/pyuUKXL0S8 via @insidehighered
— UAHESA (@UAHESA) September 27, 2017
“We require them to take English and other things because we think it’s important,” he said. “It communicates a value, that it’s important.”
The Ozarks have said that its football team, the Bobcats will refuse to play against any team that does not stand for the national anthem. However, Davis maintains this new course is not a reaction to the recent NFL fiasco where the White House condemned players who had kneeled during the national anthem.
“The college itself has a patriotic goal. And if you look at what that goal is, we define it as [encouraging] understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country and willingness to defend it,” he said. “That’s one of the ways we do that, is with this course. It’s not a reaction to something.
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