Over the past few national election cycles and now with the federal government shutdown, I have been dishearted to hear and read the misinformation, and lack of information, on how our government works. I’ve also been a bit horrified to read how people don’t understand our rights and duties as citizens, as well as how some elected officials are actively working to prevent or discourage citizens from exercising their democratic rights.
The lack of information may be understandable, but at the same time, it’s somewhat unforgivable. Our education system has clearly failed us.
How many of us actually took a civics class in high school? Or even elementary or junior high?
I admit, I never took a civics class in high school. In fact, civics class wasn’t an option. Civics, when discussed, was discussed in the context of the history of this country. But it wasn’t offered as it’s own subject.
I really didn’t get civics until my political science 101 class in college. But I did because I was a political science major and it was a requirement. And, quite frankly, poli sci 101 expects you to have a basic understanding of civics because it tends to focus more on analyzing approaches to political science thinking, factors impacting politics, and underlying political structures.
Even for my friends who attended a high school that offered civics, they tell me it was an elective. Not mandatory.
And I don’t know anyone who had civics in elementary or middle school.
It seems to me that something as important as civics should be mandatory. It should be taught at all levels of education right along with English and math. We should be raising civic-minded children. [Maybe if we did, we might not see so much infighting in Congress and more cross-aisle collaboration because they might actually appreciate why they’re there.]
But I digress.
We should take our civic responsibilities seriously. Civics, more than almost every other subject, is crucial to being a citizen. So that’s why I’m going to start a new Monday series:
Let’s Talk About Civics
So stayed tuned in the upcoming weeks for what I hope will be a fun and interactive conversation about Civics.