Instead, a $19.95 order buys “A More Perfect Union,” a movie DVD created by Mormon-run BYU in 1989 depicting the 1787 Constitutional Convention, as well as an accompanying teacher’s guide, a poster, and a pocket-size version of the Constitution.
Bill Norton, the Tea Party Patriots leader in charge of the group’s “Adopt a School” push, gives seminars for the National Center for Constitutional Studies. He says the BYU movie was endorsed 20 years ago by the federal Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, proving its educational merit.
“It has the stamp of approval of this federal entity,” Norton said, adding he’s not demanding schools use it. “It’s just a suggestion.”
But not everyone is convinced the film and study guide are the best resources.
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David Gray Adler, who directs the University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy Research, said some of its assertions—that “Americans’ confidence in republicanism stemmed largely from their shared commitment to Christianity,” for example—exaggerates religion’s impact on the framers while neglecting European enlightenment figures who shaped early American views on government.
“Give them [the Tea Party Patriots] credit for urging adherence to the federal law,” Adler said. “But there are many other, better, more scholarly documents on the Constitution.”
Another constitutional education group, the federally funded Center for Civic Education in Woodland Hills, Calif., suggested those unhappy with the Tea Party Patriot’s choice of educational materials should promote alternatives.