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Valley News-Column: Civics Fight Social Collapse

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“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choices are prepared to make wise choices. Therefore, the true protection of democracy is education.”

Franklin D. Loose Belt

“The church is supposed to command the government. The government is not supposed to command the church. That is not the way our founding father intended it.”

Lauren Boebert (R-CO)

These two statements provide clear evidence of the American educational crisis. Our knowledge and confidence in civil society is at a very low level.

“Citizen” is generally defined as a study of the structure and institutions of government and the rights and responsibilities of its citizens. Such studies have traditionally been an integral part of civilization from ancient Greece and Rome.

In the United States in the 19th century, Horace Mann advocated civic education with a free public system as needed to integrate heterogeneous student groups. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, educational theorists, the most notable and progressive John Dewey, expanded the concept and the importance of learning through relevant experiences rather than simply learning factual information. Added.

Throughout the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, civilian and government research has been a staple of the curriculum, primarily focusing on passively learning government structure and mechanisms with obligatory pledges and patriotic songs. I did. The lyrics and melodies of my 1950s and 60s patriotic songs are far more durable than any constitutional knowledge and show both the power of music and the essential role of learning through experience. Note that there are some cognitive concerns.

From the late 1960s, civic education was integrated or replaced by a more general social studies curriculum. This was partly due to divisive skepticism about the democratic system, sharpened by the Vietnam War and concerns about civil rights. Since then, civic education has declined. In recent decades, the Annenberg Public Policy Center has investigated the knowledge of its citizens, and the results have revealed a surprisingly sharp decline, with only a slight increase in the last two years.

Lauren Boebert is not alone.

In a recent interview, Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) said: As you know, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Government Officers. ”

A mock exam conducted by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in 2018 revealed that two-thirds of Americans failed to pass the US Citizenship Test. To make matters worse, 81% of people under the age of 45 failed.

60% do not know how many judges are sitting in the Supreme Court. Only 24% know why settlers fought the British. And because of humor, 2% believe that climate change caused the Cold War.

Statistical evidence of decline is exacerbated, with deepening ideological rifts and persistent attacks on the public education system itself. The ideological rift is illustrated by the contrasting approaches embodied in the 1619 project and the 1776 curriculum.

The 1619 project is based on the book of Nicole Hannah Jones, and the related curriculum is New York Times.. The purpose of the 1619 project is to “reconstruct the history of the country by putting the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the United States.”

The 1776 curriculum was created by the highly conservative University of Hillsdale in response to the 1619 project. The 1776 curriculum rejects the assumptions of the 1619 project, reaffirms the idea of ​​American exceptionalism, and seeks to delegate slavery and racism to the epic and noble narrative sidebar.

A major ideological battlefield presence, Hillsdale College is behind a network of mushrooms at the Hillsdale Classic School. Currently, there are about 70 ambitious expansion plans. This statement from their website clarifies their position:

“But in many educational institutions today, instead of learning Euclidean, Rock, Shakespeare, Churchill, Lewis, and Reagan, we educate our students about microaggression, cultural appropriation, victims, gender identification, safe places, and more. I am. “

For those who continue to live on the edge of American society, the noble language of virtue and aristocrats gives little hope that conservative civic education addresses the need for equity in diverse societies.

There is no intention to directly associate the schools in Hillsdale with Russia in Vladimir, and this paragraph recently New York Times The article is interesting and appropriate.

“From first grade, students from all over Russia will soon be attending weekly classes featuring war films and virtual tours of the Crimean Peninsula. On topics such as” geopolitical situations “and” traditional values. ” Lectures will be given steadily. In addition to the regular launching ceremony, lessons will be presented to celebrate Russia’s “revival” under President Vladimir Putin.

Replaced “Russia” with “US”, removed “Virtual Tour of the Crimean Peninsula”, “Russia’s” Rebirth “under President Vladimirputin” “Make America Great Again Under President Donald J. Trump” Change to “Yes”.

“Starting in first grade, students across the United States will soon sit in weekly classes featuring war films. Steady lectures on topics such as“ geopolitical situations ”and“ traditional values ​​”. .. In addition to the regular launching ceremony, lessons will be presented under President Donald J. Trump to celebrate making America great again. “

Civics can prepare and teach children. The difference is important.

If we believe that public education must be a united force to establish a common foundation for exercising autonomy, as Horace Mann begged us, we face serious problems. I am.

Given that we are so deeply divided about the truth of the past, it is difficult to imagine a consensus about our future potential.