I wrote an article that was just posted this week. It's called Why America Should Revisit Civic Education. I sincerely believe we're going to pay a severe price if we do not resurrect civic education.
Learning about one’s country and what makes it a distinctive nation, learning about this nation’s ideals and achievements past should be a key part of an American youth’s upbringing. And it used to be, but not so much anymore. Yet learning to act like a citizen does not just happen.
Survey after survey demonstrate that each generation of American citizens understand less of what it means to be a citizen, as opposed to simply a subject. We no longer grasp the essentials of republican government, we can’t list president’s names, let alone explain who did what and why it was important. Worse, as a culture we no longer have a clear sense of what it means to be an American, which creates problems for us at home—for example, the immigration issue—and abroad—for example, knowing who and who not to befriend.
Civic education that once played a prominent role in elementary and secondary education needs a transfusion of support and passion. We need to help our youth rediscover the beauty of America’s founding ideals. We need to help them reinvigorate the hope that it is possible to design a government in which free and thinking people can decide what is best and pursue it.
Without this effort, at risk is a nation of, by, and for the people. Without meaningful civic education, at risk long-term is life, liberty, freedom of worship, and the pursuit of happiness.
To me these ideals are too rare and too precious to risk them further. We must teach America’s wonderful heritage. This is not civil religion. It’s civic education for the good of all.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012
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