Springboro School District to Allow Course in Constitution Featuring David Barton

Speaking of David Barton and the Constitution, I learned yesterday that the Springboro School District plans to offer a summer course on the Constitution taught in part by Barton via video.

Here is the brochure advertising the course:


John Eidsmoe was Michelle Bachmann’s mentor* at Oral Roberts University and Ricki Pepin runs something called the Institute on the Constitution. Pepin’s website leaves no doubt about the type of course being offered.  She says she provides “educational opportunities for learning about your American and Christian heritage.”  Here course is different from other courses, which just teach the Constitution.  Her course teaches kids how to think biblically.

GROUP CLASS DISTINCTIVES – Why are we different from other Constitution courses?

Restoration begins with education.  The root meaning of the word “education” is to “pour in and draw out.”  We pour information and knowledge in, but unless we understand and know how to practically apply it (draw it out), true education has not occurred.  Educated activism, therefore, is the key to restoration of America to her principled roots.  For this reason, our Constitution course teaches you how to USE this document, not just learn its contents.

Other Constitution classes – Hillsdale College, National Center for Constitutional Studies, Heritage Foundation – are good entry level classes to learn the basics of the Constitution, to set the foundation.  But, when we build a house, the foundation is just the beginning.  If we build no house on top of it, the foundation is unused and will never fulfill its intended purpose – to provide a home and shelter for a family.  Likewise, if we are to restore Constitutional law to this country, we DO have to lay the foundation, but then we have to BUILD upon it until we learn to USE it for its intended purpose – to protect and defend individual’s right to life, liberty and property.

The IOTC class is a 12-week course on the Constitution, with three important distinctions from other Constitution classes:

First distinction – We begin with history.  It has been said that history is to a nation what memory is to a person.  If a person has amnesia, they are living in absolute confusion.  They don’t know who they are, where they came from, what they believe in, what’s important to them, what their hopes and dreams are for the future.   The same confusion reigns in a nation where citizens don’t know their history.  It’s where we are today as a nation, lost and confused, not knowing where we came from, or where we’re going or what vehicle to use to get there.  Our Constitution classes will show you.  We teach the history of law and government as it originated from God as recorded in the Bible. Going forward, we trace the progression of this foundation through Columbus, the Pilgrims, our founding fathers and we study their belief systems.  As students learn these foundations, they begin to see our nation’s history as part of who they are.  They begin to see it as their HERITAGE, their inheritance.  It’s truth.  It’s powerful.  It’s motivating.  It gives individuals a sense of their purpose and destiny as Americans.

Second distinction – We teach how to USE the Constitution.  After laying the historical foundation, we do teach the Constitution, but we don’t just teach about it.  We relate its principles to current events during class discussions.  There is much interaction and many, many opportunities given for application of what the students are learning. Because of the first distinction – their knowledge of their heritage and ownership of this nation – many, many of our graduates get very involved in their local communities.  Some of them are running for offices we didn’t even know existed before like Precinct Committee Chairmen.  Others are attending various city, county, state board meetings, and offering Constitutional solutions to the problems discussed at these meetings, not just venting another opinion.  Still others are starting up citizen action groups to hold their elected officials accountable.

Third distinction – We teach students HOW TO THINK.  While teaching the Constitution, we help the students turn on their brains.  We show them how to reason through current events from a Biblical and principled foundation, so they will not be deceived by the media or anyone else. How do we do this?  By introducing them to the Principle Approach to education (the method used by our Founding Fathers).  Defining our terms from Noah Webster’s original 1828 Dictionary, asking leading questions, using primary source documents, what the founders themselves wrote, not what somebody wrote about them.  This method of learning is incredibly thought-provoking and exposes principles and truths that are then applied to our modern-day government situations.

Won’t you join us in this movement of educated activism?  – The Constitution cannot defend itself.  We the people must do it.  No matter who we elect, educated patriots must hold our leaders at every level of government accountable to the Constitution.  We can’t do that if we don’t know what it says.  Join me and other IOTC graduates in the cause of preserving our God-given liberty and restoring our Constitutional Republic.   If you don’t, who will?

When the state of Ohio passed a law requiring schools to teach about the founding documents, I wondered if the stage was being set for the introduction of Barton’s materials into the classroom.  These summer courses are supposed to be evaluated for use in the school system to help meet the requirements of the law. There is another one day course apparently written by Cleon Skousen (one of Glenn Beck’s favorites) which will also be evaluated.

It is clear from the promo material and the teacher’s website that the course establishes one particular religious view under the guise of the public school. Furthermore, as regular readers know, the accuracy of the content is questionable given Barton’s video sequences used to reinforce the Christian nationalist teaching.

*Eidsmoe says he deplores racism but has spoken to white supremacist groups. See this article for more…

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  • Mary

    At first glance, I read the title of this post as an institution offering to give David Barton a course in the constitution. Too funny.

    • William Birch

      So did I, and I thought to myself, Finally!

    • ken

      🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Mary

    At first glance, I read the title of this post as an institution offering to give David Barton a course in the constitution. Too funny.

  • Sharon

    Warren, I know it’s a thankless task, but I appreciate you keeping watch over this. Any ideas how we can encourage this school district to think twice, and/or how we can help make this sort of thing less likely to occur? (By “we” I mean “me”, living here in Godless SoCal(tm), where this is less likely to happen — although orange county is the one place out here where the Barton/Beck dynasty has some influence.)

    The utter unconcern they seem to have with clearly saying this (publicly funded) course is to help make you a “Godly American” is astonishing and scary to me — I really like the first amendment, dangit!

  • Stuart

    Letting David Barton approach children under the guise of teaching them is a serious issue.

    It’s not education, it’s outright child abuse.

  • bman

    Stuart: “Letting David Barton approach children under the guise of teaching them is a serious issue. It’s not education, it’s outright child abuse.”


    What do you think he would say that you find so offensive?

    • Stuart

      A course on the Constitution is to be ‘taught’ by a man who is on record numerous times as saying that the both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution contains word for word, direct quotations from the bible.

      For example, the concept of the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) originated from the bible. Isaiah 33:22, a passage that more explicitly implies all three branches being controlled by the same authority, not three independently operating equals.

      And did you also know that the separation of powers as written in the constitution was inspired, not by witnessing the abuse of power by the British authorities of the time, but by Jeremiah 17:9? “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

      The offense comes from this guy passing his own constitutional illiteracy onto children who do not know better, and are likely to believe him.

    • Christian Lawyer

      A large portion of what Barton “teaches” about the Constitution and about Constitutional law is either outright incorrect, false or misleading by material omission, or distorted by a combination of statements and omissions. A prime example is his explanation of the seminal case of Marbury v. Madison, which confirmed that the Court has the power of judicial review. Among other problems, Barton makes it sound like Mr. Marbury won and actually states that Pres. Jefferson ignored the Court’s order to give Marbury the judicial commission to which Marbury claimed he was entitled. In fact, Marbury lost because the Court struck down as unconstitutional the portion of the federal statute that purported to give the Court authority to issue the order Marbury wanted. So, not only did the Court not order Jefferson to do anything, it ruled that it could not do so.

      I’ve seen (and replayed) the episode of Barton’s American Heritage series (that he still sells) that discusses Marbury and listened to (and replayed) a youtube video of his (entire) presentation to a Tennessee judicial “reform” conference last year where he also discussed Marbury. I’ve also read the discussion of Marbury in his book 1996 Original Intent, which makes some of the same points, although his written presentation is less bad. What’s so bizarre is that each version has different errors, including bits that are (somewhat more) correct in Original Intent that he later misstates in the two more recent video presentations. (Unless the 2010 copyright version I have made corrections to earlier versions that are not acknowledged.)

      This is just one example, and even within this example, the errors are legion. It isn’t a matter of simply differing interpretations or analysis. It’s a matter of untruths and distortions. I find that offensive.

      • bman

        Christian Lawyer: “A prime example is his explanation of the seminal case of Marbury v. Madison…”


        Can you provide an actual quote from Barton on this?

  • bman

    BTW I agree with others that the title could use editing.

    • Mary

      Oh! I don’t think the title needs editing at all!

      • Tom Van Dyke

        It’s not strictly accurate: the school district is NOT offering the course, a private entity is.

        • Tom Van Dyke

          New Headline:

          Springboro School District to Allow Course in Constitution Featuring David Barton

          Strictly accurate. Well done, Warren.

          • Christian Lawyer

            But the school board sent out an email to district parents advertising the course and one of the school board members is quoted in the first link Warren provided as saying this, which makes it sound like the Board brought the group in:

            “They complained because the courses weren’t evaluated and now they’re complaining because we’re opening them up for evaluation. … ” [School] board Vice Pres. Jim Rigano.

            This may not quite add up to “offering” the course, but it’s a lot more than just renting out the space to an organization. They may still have themselves an establishment clause problem. I’d love to see the “instructional materials.” I wouldn’t have so much problem if it was just offered to the parents to get their feedback, but I do have a problem with the School Board inviting students.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    I estimate the course is not formally part of Springboro High School, but that a private group* is using/renting the school’s facilities.

    Judging by Sharon’s comment above, it appears your phrasing of the headline and blogpost has left many of your readers with what may well be a false impression, that the school district itself is teaching Bartonism as curriculum.



    “Institute on the Constitution (IOTC) is an educational effort sponsored by the Law Office of Peroutka and Peroutka of Pasadena, Maryland.

    Their educational program is intended to reconnect Americans to the history of the American Republic and to their heritage of freedom under law.”

    • Tom – According to some media reports, the district will be evaluating the course for use in schools. I have contacted two school board members to address that part of the issue. One has not answered and the other has said she is looking into it.

      • Tom Van Dyke

        I would certainly oppose it being offered directly by the district. I do believe that the headline and post give the impression the district is offering the course, which you confirm is not the case.

        Perhaps you’ll suggest Hillsdale College’s Constitution course instead next time you speak with them.




        “Our district makes every effort to be a full community partner in permitting and encouraging the responsible use of school facilities for purposes that serve the community,” school district officials said in a statement. “For example, the district has agreements with area churches, civic groups and sports organizations for facility use as well.”

        This fits.

  • A visitor

    I’m sorry to speak off-topic, but I felt I needed to alert you to this.


  • Stuck in the Boro Bubble

    Since I am resident of Springboro, I thought I could share some insight to this situation. The Springboro BOE President, Kelly Kohls, is also the Warren County Tea Party President. She formed a “conservative alternative” BOE called The Ohio School Board Leadership Council (OSBLC) and removed our district from the State of Ohio BOE and placed it into the newly formed OSBLC. Springboro had been a founding member of the State of Ohio BOE). Of course, she is also the President of the OSBLC, the board of directors are from various Tea Party orgs across the state, and two of the OSBLC’s sponsors are American’s For Prosperity and the Tea Party Patriots.

    The National Center for Constitutional Studies, one of the orgs that the BOE has proudly sponsored and endorsed, is being promoted by the Tea Party Patriots in their “adopt a school” program. The main idea is to get it into the public school system. The NCCS is a religious/political based org that was founded by Cleo Skousen and promoted by Glenn Beck.

    The Institute on the Constitution from The American View is co-founded by Michael Peroutka, a member and on the board of directors, of the League of the South. I have attached a few links that might be interesting. The LS 2012 Convention ends with “Let’s now sing our national anthem” in which they all sing “Dixie.” The other clip is shorter in which Peroutka manages to include evolution in with his religious/political slant of the founding documents.

    http://www.theamericanview.com/evolution-is-anti-american/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPhRtS0WdcU

    A minority BOE member stated at our last BOE meeting that the BOE’s decision to bring in these groups was not unamious. He stated that it had been vaguely mentioned in 2012, but that he was surprised to see that it had been approved and notices sent to the community without being vetted. The State of Ohio had passed Senate Bill 165 requiring the teaching of the “original texts” of founding documents, and has laid out on the Ohio Department of Education information on meeting those requirements. The Springboro BOE majority has taken that and devised their own interpretation of the law to bring in these 2 groups that are consistent with their religious/political beliefs, with the plan to try an insert it into the curriculum.

    A parent at the last BOE meeting asked for Kohls resignation based on her conflicts of interest. http://www.fox45now.com/shared/news/top-stories/stories/wrgt_vid_14334.shtml and the FFRF, ACLU of Ohio and AU have also sent warning letters, to which, as of to date, the BOE majority has not changed its plans. http://www.secularnewsdaily.com/2013/06/ffrf-fights-religious-right-in-ohio/

    We have recently been speaking up to the BOE majority on their plans to insert creationism vs evolution into the curriculum. Kohls feels that evolution is “just a theory” and the students should be able to see that there are alternatives. Some of her “experts” emails that she has sent to me include: Ray Comfort, Karl Priest, and the Kolbe Center.

    The majority BOE is blatantly ignoring the voices speaking out in the community and are proceeding with their own agenda over the civil rights of others. We will continue speaking out. Thanks!! Stuck in the Boro Bubble

  • Chris C

    I really can’t believe it kind of school would teach such nonsense to kids by bringing in David Barton. I wish real Historians would come in to challenge Barton’s falsehoods.

  • James Ferguson

    Since when is Barton or any of these yahoos qualified to teach persons, especially young impressionable persons, on the Constitution. He has a degree in religion education for god’s sake, not Constitutional law. I find it utterly appalling that guys like these are being legitimized with special courses.

  • penguintruth

    David Barton isn’t a historian, he’s a proven fraud.

  • Corey Meyer

    I wish people would stop calling and referring to Mr. Barton as a historian. He is NOT! That would clear up a great number of things to start with.