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dickens at the national educational television network this is one of the farm's of the amish community located outside camp in michigan near the indiana ohio state line the amish of camden a family's numbering some sixty men women and children are farm good farmer their religion and way of life are based on a literal interpretation of holy scripture says the bible includes an admonition against graven images they asked us not to photograph them and we honor their beliefs however they did allow us on their far and so we are able to show something of their way of life amish transportation is by for somebody and they do not use electricity in their home they're women wear simple long dresses of blue brown and black with crisp white
aprons and bonnets the men dress in plain dark clothing with round brimmed compound acts all a beard with long hair neatly trimmed they subscribe to know daily newspaper only farm papers and magazines they submit to taxation without representation they do pay their taxes but they do not bow they have no juvenile delinquency and refuse all welfare and social security is as they are a religious sect that has retained its identity and it's simple chord of living despite sweeping technological and moral changes in america they are diligent industrious strongly imbued with moral principles drawn from the bible and these burn the gimmicks and conveniences of modern living it is extremely surprising therefore
that this active quiet gentle people should be in conflict with the law it is not a criminal case because crime is out of keeping with their way of life but because of their religious beliefs they declined to send their children to public schooling is not that they don't want their children but they are concerned about what their children learn we are not interested in having their children contaminated by modern social and cultural go and so for the past two years some twenty five children nine families have been caught in this one room range schoolhouse building located on the louis raber far the teacher is eighteen year old ruth great who has only an eighth grade education she is of course not certified to teach in the state in fact it is literally impossible for an amish teacher to be certified under state regulations since no amish child attend school after the age of sixteen when
amish teenagers reach the eighth grade basically stay there until their sixteenth birthday and on that very day they quit for the sec not only objects to non amish teachers on religious grounds but also feels that eight years of schooling is all that is necessary for the farming vocation they fall posing them is the department of public instruction which has a legal duty to police the standards in private as well as public school personally we respect and sympathize with the amish people and the state board of education certainly in norway which is mark and infringe on marriage abortion as they see fit but the laws concerning the quality of teaching in both obregon and public schools are very specific and as the public body responsible the state board of education is obliged to enforce the law as it is written at issue is whether the small sector must hire a teacher with the state approves
certificate or be permitted to continue with the eighteen year old amish girl about teaching at the one room school of modern day instance where state and church interesting to clash that army has been the controversy over hiring a state certified teacher for amish cruz's several years so it really began when the non certified punish teachers were hired out in the fall of nineteen sixty three warrants were issued against eleven amish farms the amish were cited for a violation of the state compulsory attendance small state education authority contended that the amish children being taught by amish teachers were in effect not attending school at all after considerable legal negotiations that was decidedly eleven jury trial why was first set for february nineteen sixty four
a motion to dismiss the charges were filed and the hearing and circuit court was set for may finally after more legal moves charges were dismissed june eight nineteen sixty four by judge robert w macintyre i did not decide between the conflicting constitutional issues of freedom of religious belief and the vesting of the general supervision of education and the state board of education i merely decided that since the amish community were known law abiding people not given to willful disobedience of civil authority the criminal intent was lacking and the criminal justice court was not the appropriate forum to decide the constitutional questions and therefore i directed that the criminal cases be dismissed it was at this point that the case began to generate bob biggins general public immediately chose sides and again to get into the act one of the first to flock to the amish that i was george wells former grand rapids mayor won by lieutenant governor of michigan
and a veteran political figure within the state after reading it coats of the hearing on mr stewart am i became convinced that these people into the military the amish hearing was conducted in accord with the law the amish people were fully apprised of their rights to legal counsel and to defend their position i was convinced that the amherst people were not getting a fair hearing the law requires the numbers can teach our game instruction in any non public school who does not own a certificate which would qualify him to teach and like created the public schools it also requires that children attending public school which refuses to comply with these requirements must attend a public or private school and does this law was written in the belief that it is important to get a decent minimum standards of education for our children unless the laws change the state board is required to enforce its provisions read that suppressed of music the case of the camden amish
appears confused and complicated last one knows all of the facts in the situation was confused obligation is that the controversy seems to end up what a religious belief the south back in producing not only the important american elements of religious freedom but also the basic american sense of fair play and sympathy for the underdog this combination of made it easy for the general public to sympathize with the amish car fresh fuel was added to the already flaming issue and the understated their intention to move to a nearby and more sympathetic state rather than be forced to hire a certified teacher the religious freedom but commies are going to end thus major public sympathy as ben in support of the amish with the result that the department of public instruction have become the government gets its role of dancing by many as out of relentless persecutor of about the devil religious people people believe that they are no
not only prevents what they are required to bring up their children in the new yorker and the ottoman egypt the moral support and that they are responsible before the law and if we are to believe in practice this constitutional freedom of religion in this country it is time that we start taking these people are unfortunately we only have approximately seven any decisions these people have never asked for any assistance they're not on the welfare they have no juvenile delinquency and all they have and it is the bare necessities such as their home there followed and what we should do is furnished them with a certified teacher the amish of our state are currently under attack arab imprint them fully because they believe in those principles which made our country so great that kind of school of economics the name is a matter of concern only themselves the average an agricultural people are not a burden on anyone i think that the laws
can be made more flexible to allow the countess more autonomy foundation of the zimbabwe was late people were driven out of their homes came here seeking religious liberty now leap ripples that drive these good law abiding and industrial centers of the statement the public judge indicated primarily on its emotional aspects of wind up behind the underdog now as a candidate gain momentum hundreds of letters poured into the superintendent's office and they do the editor departments of the state's news why does the state superintendent of public instruction take it upon himself to pass judgment on the amish people who wish to keep their own schools this is a free country and access to oceans as they can educate our children and worship of conscience with
their own stilts while saddened that the superintendent of public instruction well michigan is lucky to have such people as the amish living here these people will move rather than change to the degree which the superintendent and has approved teachers and go to another state where they can live according to their own consciences and that state will be the winner and michigan will be the loser signed disgusted i say in heaven's name believe the amish to their eighth grade education with only that they're smarter than the highly educated officials to put them on trial what happened to the good ole american right to say i don't want to owe the superintendent of public instruction of relevance of city after city in michigan with the problems with the legal team that he waste his time and our money left in his god fearing law abiding amish people it's downright disgusting way the amish people are being persecuted they
asked nothing of the taxpayer all they ask is a place a good common sense talking children why can't we let them alone but by far the strongest support for the amish came from what was to many people of the state an unexpected source in an extraordinary departure from his state of the state address governor george romney the mormon appealed to the legislature to exempt the amish for michigan certified teacher report in its most important aspect inherent character a wife among are few amish families his model and wellness that the myers an amendment specifically exempting them from the writer teacher require even the educational profession itself is divided on the case the board of directors of the michigan education association has taken a stand in support of maintaining minimum standards for the certification of teachers without any exceptions and has adopted a resolution to that effect regulations of the
state of michigan's these donors clearly in sight michigan citizens a charge the superintendent of public instruction with their enforcement the basic educational opportunity do each michigan child and the importance of uninformed people in the preservation of our way of life the man that our basic educational standards be held firm at their present levels and that the progression continued to raise standards the michigan education association of firms in support of the state regulations and finds an older friends for any exceptions a former dean at harvard university once said he was a major secretaries the final since neither party has faced in the caliber of the nba he says the field of fire ruin the campaign finance case stand taken by the michigan education association with regard to the amish patient is not an easy one to do it since it involves these fine people in hillsdale
county where those cells made many sacrifices to maintain their beliefs and way of life in a world that is conformist an unsympathetic when architecture really concerned however it is that children who guide our decisions teaching standards are established to provide for the needs of american children like his freedom for the individual it is gravely wrong to prevent these people from educating their children in the manner in which they so choose to do the amish are not imposing any standards and anyone else what is the emmy afraid of perhaps their drive for certificates by requiring teachers to take a while is of education places the merits of which are debatable they had missed important and really variable instruction in michigan that features the nea is doing a disservice to the teaching profession our state the country and the amish people from taking effect
we feel that's holding firm on minimum certification standards as an obligation we must carry out it is unfortunate that to a great extent the case of the camden nominee has been tried in the newspapers of the state he often emotional sometimes satiric and usually sympathetic point of view taken by some journalists as don it's sharon creeping up the emotional or fortunately there's also been responsible journalism which has attempted to focus on the real issues at the gates as much as we're taken by the amish community and their sixteenth century god fearing ways we cannot join their cause the governor's proposed special legislation appears clearly unconstitutional in the now famous gideon case jack you know black wrote in many cases of this court has looked at the fundamental nature of the ritual bill of rights guarantees to decide whether the fourteenth amendment makes an obligatory and the states explicitly recognized to be of this fundamental nature and therefore made immune from state invasion on the first amendment freedoms of
speech press religion and the first amendment says congress and therefore states show make no law or requesting an establishment of religion legislature can no more make a special word for the amish that i can give to host a blue eyed brunet of the college graduates to purchase or not the point is and it has been overlooked by those web rushed to the defense of the underdog amish with the army's position amounts to a demand that only they should decide what proper education standards are for them that is why it is important for the state superintendent of public instruction to enforce the law equally for all groups rather than wink at it as is done in some other states the case of the cannonball nation is now in a state of suspended animation resolution has been introduced asking the superintendent of public instruction to be for any action until the legislature he's had a chance to look at the laws and possibly change the
resolution was not passed word referred to the committee on health policy the fact that such a resolution exists even though it is not as simple as the department of reconstruction to be for any action the attorney general's office has also refrained from handing down and he really is in the meantime two bills have been introduced into the legislature both amanda public that israel two of nineteen twenty one which provides that the supervision of private and parochial schools shall be under the superintendent of public instruction bill twenty one ten would permit the superintendent of public instruction to issue a special certificate to any person to teach in a private school which is operated by a recognized religious group when the superintendent is satisfied that the person is while you're twenty four eighty four says substantially the same thing but with minor exceptions both bills are in the house education committee the final disposition of them is up to speculation
i feel my bill i will never be on the house education committee although this bill failed we reported favorably from the house committee on education center on one operative in the senate as an amendment to a senate bill after which it won senate approval upon coming to the house the bill was referred to the committee on education which recommended that the sanitation be deleted from the basic and june twenty second the house voted by a narrow margin to confirm the committee recommendations the basic bill since been returned to the site and it remains to be seen whether the senate will or will not insist on the bill as they recently asked if not then the issue will be dead for the sheer on the other hand if they insist on the bill as it pass the senate the matter will go to a conference committee were the differences between the house and senate will be worked out how bills twenty one ten and twenty four eighty four will fair when and if they get out of committee is also
up to speculation the committee by a large majority has turned down this legislation at camps have also been made down the house part to a man the educational bales and in each instance had been rejected we still stand ready to cooperate if a solution which would not jeopardize our statewide certification can be solved education will endeavor to seek an answer to the problem which appears to exist in several of our state the standards of our society and civilization are such that every child must receive as much education as possible and he's going to remain an active good citizen in our society and i do not believe that parents have the right to deny no good physical health nor deny to the children as much education as they can get regardless of their religious belief or affiliation in mid may and an emotion like
senate session amanda was introduced by sen john bowman permitting the religious group to educate their children with non certified teacher it was tacked onto a routine education will buy up twenty to sixteen vote and was approved by the same art although not specifically naming the amish the amendment was aimed at helping the small group i've read in private schools permission to employ non teachers certified persons as teachers in grades one through eight manmade law is not necessarily right and just the law if we took this attitude toward make inroads in mississippi and alabama if you don't like opponents immediately moved to reconsider the vote charging that the exception amendment would subvert teacher certification violate the rights of the amish children to the pursuit of happiness and open the door to any group calling itself religious to get around education require the question here in this amendment
should we look at the cold light of logic not a motion we have rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness when educational opportunity is limit the right to pursue happiness islam and this is saying the amish child cannot be a lawyer or a doctor or an educator or whatever you may wish to pursue a life that is saying he is indentured for the rest of his life the amended bill then went to the house where the amendment they bring a small amish community was killed in the house education committee this leaves bill's forty one ten and twenty four eighty four still in the house education committee it is not the purpose of this program to editorialize but rather to attempt to prevent all of the known facts in an objective manner are several important point standout are worthy of summation and clarification the amish object to are public school
because they do not with their children to be contaminated by modern social and cultural goals but there are basic contradiction within the amish way of life on the one hand the amish expressed dissatisfaction with our society and its modern conveniences yeah due to the fact that they will they hire another citizen of our society to transport them by automobile the user neighbors tell a poll or a public health or c you have a gasoline engine on their farm they use the facilities treatments and robert why are medical doctors and hospitals prosecution that says the state considerable probably some irresponsible journalism charged that the amish have been found they like that picture of a conformist educational simon legree facing a little life over the i suppose of contemporary first fact this is a story
for you they also have been perpetrated that amish family were leaving the state to the persecution and pressured by the state department of public instruction the school conflict have been only part of her difficult another reason for the meeting and one that have received almost no publicity is that many of the amish are leaving the state because of differences between members within the group regarding amish leadership and the leaks the supporters of the amish across base their arguments on the religious aspects of the case of the amish families of camden have lived in this area for approximately ten years forty eight of the ten years they follow them all the state by hiring certified teachers but the ranks of the amish settlement are dwindling in terms of numbers a recent va centers within this act regarding amish leadership and believes has called the number of amish in this particular community to drop a number of where they feel they can no longer financially afford to hire certify
then we're really going if possible solution has been suggested whereby financial aid has made available so that the amish can hire a certified teacher pt basic education and allowing conservative religious other although some oppose a solution as a dangerous precedent to set others point out just a summit since the amish pay their taxes and receive little in return to their beliefs but even this solution does not seem possible that the amish have indicated they were refusing certified teacher even if one has provided that they expect and many people have lost sympathy with the amish for what seemed to be an uncompromising stance boil the amish contend that eight years of schooling are all that is required for their simple way of light to carry out their farming duties and this may be true but it is also true that a percentage of the young amish as they
mature this i believe the ways and teachings of their fathers and grandfathers to accept our society many people feel that since they will be entering our society they should be educated to participate in and the question remains and we have the right to deny be citizens and education while applying them for participation in the modern world why many educators claim that the legislation being introduced do so mostly written that raises these questions one power who will determine what is a religious in other words the black muslims jews who was close by our present law qualify does this automated association qualified to on what basis do you determine whether a person is in the granite certification point many educators also feel it present legislation being introduced for a minority who will ultimately affect
the entire state and that citizens in the following ways eight it will open the dark or non certified teachers in all recognized religious groups as well as the amish be it would encourage all religious groups despite their own school see it paves the way toward removal of church support in schools from president educational standards i set up for public schools such as health and safety standards are comparable courses of study or whatever the outcome whatever the decision in the case of the camden amish one thing is clear the facts of the controversy and the decision will be significant and far reaching education has been under considerable fire in recent years ranging from johnny can't read accusations to criticisms of teacher education and educational standard generally but the fact that not being ignored that education is one of the foundation stones of the
democracy and democracy can exist only we have an informed elect but the cannon amish case has instigated a new wave of negative and distorted accusations with education as the park many do the official position taken by the state education authority as a boxing up open in security barrier an effective institution even if the state education loans are no effective this feeling how the animosity on the part of the school supporting public will be felt for years if the army's position has upheld education within the state will receive a tremendous setback for not only made many is whether schools bring up and the general educational standard top as a consequence but also a certain segment of the children of this state will be sentenced to receiving the inferior education that come from little or no policing of education of that either way it's a litany
many many years later because he's been at the national educational television network
Local Issue
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An Amish School House
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Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
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Episode Description
For the past three years there has been a conflict between a small Amish community located in Camden, Michigan, and the state education authority. The controversy concerns a schoolhouse operated by the Amish group. They believe that eight years of schooling are all that are needed for their simple way of life, and they want an Amish girl with an eighth grade education to serve as their teacher. This is in conflict with the state education law which requires certified teachers for both public and non-public schools. The controversy has been in and out of court, and has now reached the state legislature where resolutions and two separate bills have been introduced, but have not as yet been passed. This episode traces the controversy from an examination of the Amish way of life, through their educational beliefs, into the courts, and through the newspapers and the public response to the conflict and into the legislative chambers in an attempt to re-define and clarify the issues at stake. Featured in the episode are: Michigan Governor George Romney; Alexander J. Kloster, Acting State Superintendent of Public Instruction; Judge Robert W. McIntyre, County Circuit Judge, Hillsdale County; State Senators George S. Fitzgerald and Charles N. Youngblood Jr.; State Representatives Mrs. Lucille H. McCollough, Frederic J. Marshall, and Claude Burton; Dr. E. Dale Kennedy, Executive Secretary of the Michigan Education Association; George W. Welsh, former Lt. Governor of Michigan and a veteran state political figure; State Senators Gerald R. Dunn and Edward J. Robinson; State Representative Donald E. Holbrook; Mrs. Austin Lamberts, City Commissioner of Grand Rapids; Mr. Theodore N. Hopps, school board president of Camden; Mrs. Lilliam Early, retired teacher; and Mrs. Carleton J. Dack, former teacher. AN AMISH SCHOOLHOUSE: Produced for National Educational Television by WMSB, East Lansing, Michigan. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Series Description
In this series several of National Educational Televisions affiliated stations take a close look at controversies in their own areas that may greatly affect the entire nation. Each of the local problems is presented from the points of view of those who have been involved in it, or who have watched its gradual development. The 32 half-hour episodes that comprise this series were originally recorded on videotape. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
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Local Communities
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Associate Producer: Ingram, Kay
Director: Ingram, Kay
Executive Producer: Weston, William
Narrator: Arnold, Dick
Producer: Rowland, Bob
Producing Organization: WMSB
Writer: Rowland, Bob
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Library of Congress
Identifier: 2107170-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2107170-2 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 1 inch videotape: SMPTE Type C
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2107170-3 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2107170-4 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Master
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2107170-5 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Copy: Access
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Chicago: “Local Issue; 9; An Amish School House,” 1965-08-29, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 14, 2024,
MLA: “Local Issue; 9; An Amish School House.” 1965-08-29. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 14, 2024. <>.
APA: Local Issue; 9; An Amish School House. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from