Why is civics no longer taught in most schools in the United States? Some people will probably say ‘funding’, some people will say ‘it’s not “required” for graduation’, some will say ‘kids aren’t interested’.
To me, it all comes down to the ability to influence and control people. Those that are well-informed and educated about the true processes of government are those more likely to employ that knowledge – either to make changes that they want or to resist changes that they disagree with.
We were founded on the principles of equality and self-governance, and yet we have always had a faction that believes that ‘common people’ are not to be trusted with self-governance. These are the ‘elitists’ that believe that only a ‘special few’ deserve to be in positions of leadership, authority, or power. Then there are those that take for granted the premise that everyone is responsible for and capable of, their own governance. I’m sure that most people can see where this divide is reflected in contemporary politics. This has led to the rise of the ‘permanent political class’ found throughout the political landscape today.
By not teaching the structure, rules, and mechanisms of the US ‘civic’ government, people are kept ‘ignorant’ of the full extent of their rights, responsibilities, and privileges. This, in turn, means that its easier for those in power to manipulate, distort, and promulgate the rights, responsibilities, and duties of governments and citizens as they see fit.
If someone takes issue with this, then we have a moral, social, and ethical obligation to take some sort of corrective action. It is said that society is a structure of common acceptance of agreement on certain acceptable values and norms, What is missing from this equation is the dichotomy of beliefs and viewpoints. In reality, society must accept a common structure, true, but who defines the structure? Those in ‘power’. Thus, attempting to persuade those currently ‘in power’ that changing whether Civics should be taught in public schools is most likely going to be a short-term exercise in futility since the status quo is most likely advantageous to them. Making a change on a societal level requires time. So, what action CAN we take to fulfill that moral, social, and ethical obligation while working to make a change on a societal level?
The same steps that those who want to pass their heritage onto their children when it isn’t taught in school – teach it at home. Get involved. Give your children ‘Civics’ lessons in the kitchen, or dining room, or living room. There are a tremendous number of free resources available today, covering everything from the Declaration of Independence to the Amendments, the Federalist Papers to Plato, Locke, Hobbes, Descartes. Supreme Court cases and decisions are freely available, as are the minutes of Congressional activities. In the Information Age, it is easy to watch our government at work in real-time.
Before puberty, our children are given the constitution to read, with no follow-up questions or tests on the most important document that applies to the people on the land in the united states of America. Shortly after puberty is when the adolescent brain begins rewiring itself and learning logical thought patterns. This happens to coincide with a middle school for the vast majority of students. What better time to start them on the path of ‘higher thinking’?
Ignorance = control. Until enough people get concerned and involved with bringing Civics back to the school curriculum as a separate, required course. Concerned parents need to get involved and teach it independently.
*Note – Funny thing about teaching youngsters Civics – those doing the teaching often learn things they didn’t know, either.
What is civics and why is it important?
Civics are the things people do that affect fellow citizens, especially when that relates to the maintenance of urban development.
Civic education is the study of the theoretical, political, and practical aspects of citizenship, as well as its rights and duties. Civic education empowers us to be well-informed, active citizens, and gives us the opportunity to change the world around us. It is a vital part of any democracy and equips ordinary people with knowledge about our democracy and our Constitution.
Civics.. that branch of fiscal philosophy dealing with duties and personal rights of citizenship; academically, it often includes government studies, so students can learn how our political and economic systems are supposed to work and what their rights and responsibilities are as citizens. The constitution is there to keep government constrained.