Jul 07, 2021

College of the Ozarks announces Sarah Huckabee Sanders as featured speaker for The National Symposium on Patriotic Education

College of the Ozarks announces Sarah Huckabee Sanders as featured speaker for The National Symposium on Patriotic Education
Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Registration open for free, live digital event to take place Sept. 16-17

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House press secretary, is the second featured speaker to be announced as part of The National Symposium on Patriotic Education, to be held via livestream Sept. 16-17, 2021.

The purpose of the Symposium, which is hosted by The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education at College of the Ozarks, is to revive historic American values and virtue on the eve of the 250th anniversary of America’s founding. Sanders joins other speakers, including Dr. Ben Carson, former United States Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additional nationally known speakers will be announced throughout the summer.

Sanders served as White House press secretary from 2017 to 2019. As White House press secretary, Sanders provided consultation on everything from press and communications strategy to personnel and policy. For two and a half years, she handled media relations, worked with lawmakers and CEOs, and traveled across the globe, meeting with dozens of foreign leaders. Sanders is only the third woman and the very first mom ever to hold the job of White House press secretary.

During the Symposium, participants can expect to hear from nationally known speakers, learn about patriotic education programs, connect with thought-leaders and practitioners, and access innovative patriotic education content and resources.

To learn more about this event, and to register, visit: https://cofo.edu/nspe

The Symposium will feature sessions centered around the following four pillars of patriotic education, as defined by The William S. Knight Center:

  • Pillar 1 – Liberty’s Lessons: Expand knowledge of American heritage, especially individual and religious freedom
  • Pillar 2 – Liberty’s Cost: Honor the sacrifices of Veterans and their families
  • Pillar 3 – Liberty’s Foundation: Strengthen free enterprise through hard work and entrepreneurship
  • Pillar 4 – Liberty’s Legacy: Promote public, civic, and military service

“There are many who talk about what is wrong with America,” said College President Jerry C. Davis. “At C of O, we believe there is much that is right with our country. We intend to take a leadership role in patriotic education by helping students of all ages learn about liberty, sacrifice, free enterprise, and service. Respect for these critical building blocks of our nation has eroded, and we intend to help restore that respect.”

Dr. Marci Linson, Vice President for Patriotic Activities and Dean of Admissions, sees this as a critical time for such an event.

“Today’s revolutionary battle is a fight to teach our nation’s history truthfully — the good and the bad,” Linson said. “We hope to inspire the audience by sharing our goal of understanding American heritage, civic responsibility, love of country, and willingness to defend it.

“Offering this as a complimentary livestream event increases our outreach and allows us to draw many concerned citizens into the conversation about the importance of patriotic education,” Linson said. “We trust that accessing the content of this meaningful online event will prove convenient and educational for our guests.”

Learning Liberty’s Lessons

College of the Ozarks administrators hope to affect change in our nation, providing a response to statistics noted in current culture. Many sources have documented that young Americans lack a basic understanding of American history. According to the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, only 36 percent of Americans, or one out of three, can pass a multiple-choice test made up of questions taken from the United States Citizenship Test. For those under the age of 45, only 19 percent passed the exam. This test consists of questions like “What is the supreme law of the land?” and “Who is in charge of the executive branch?”

Dr. Andrew Bolger serves as Director of The Keeter Center for Character Education and The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education.

“The issue lies within the curriculum that is being taught in schools,” Bolger said. “Students learning about American history often memorize dates, people, and document names without truly knowing their significance. The knowledge of American history is essential for citizens to value, respect, and continue the ideals that founded the country.”

Eighty-three percent of Americans cannot identify the rights protected by the First Amendment. The National Civics Scorecard identifies that 76 percent of 12th graders lack the civics knowledge and skills to be responsible citizens (NAEP, 2018). Eighty-eight percent of 12th graders lack the knowledge of American history to be responsible citizens (NAEP, 2018). There has been a loss of confidence in institutions, especially organized religion (GALLUP). Religious people have lost their influence in society (GALLUP).

“Learning about liberty is the essence of patriotic education,” Bolger said. “Learning about liberty is not limited to a set of historical dates or pieces of information. It requires that Americans cultivate a common, shared identity inspired by the ideals and heritage that formed our nation.”

More about Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Upon her departure from the administration in 2019, President Donald J. Trump described Sanders as “irreplaceable,” a “warrior” and “very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job.”

Sanders joined the Trump campaign as a senior advisor in February 2016 during the Republican primary and continued in that role through the President’s defeat of Hillary Clinton, one of the greatest and most unexpected victories in American history.

Sanders has previously worked in leadership roles for U.S. senators, governors, and presidential campaigns. In Arkansas, Sanders was a senior advisor to Senator Tom Cotton in 2014 when he defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Pryor and was campaign manager for Senator John Boozman in 2010 when he defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln. And in 2007 and 2008, Sanders helped lead her father, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, to victory in the Iowa Caucuses and seven other states as his National Political Director.

Sanders has been named one of TIME magazine’s “40 under 40” and is recognized as one of the best political operatives of her generation. She has also advised major Fortune 500 companies and non-profits, including serving as campaign manager of the ONE campaign, a global non-profit founded by U2's Bono to take action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.