Teaching Civics to Save Democracy
Teaching Civics to Save Democracy –
Ariana Figueroa discusses this issue in an article released today by National Public Radio, Ed. At a time when public perception and faith in our democratic institutions continues to erode, it becomes even more critical to work together to increase our understanding of the true meaning of democracy. States across the country are beginning to take notice of the challenges many students face; the disillusionment and apathy taking hold of young adults. As a result, many state governments are implementing programs targeting this issue to encourage greater interest in civic participation.
California, for example, recently implemented a new history and social science framework aimed at emphasizing civic learning in its K-12 schools. The California Task Force on Civic Learning, created by Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent Tom Torlakson has been working to promote civic education and engagement for over three years. According to the California State Court website, “the framework includes the basics of democratic principles, but also has examples of hands-on learning–participating in mock debates, mock trials, attending local government meetings, and volunteering in elections.” Partnerships such as these serve to motivate and empower students and lead to increased civic participation later in life.
Other states, such as Arizona, Missouri, and North Dakota have passed laws requiring students to pass the standard citizenship test before being eligible to graduate high school. Throughout the United States – nonprofits, educators, and government leaders are recognizing that there is a serious dearth of public understanding and therefore mistrust in the democratic principles that are so critical to the success of our republic.
Today’s article brings an important issue into the spotlight and serves as a reminder that with education comes understanding, leading to increased civic participation at a time when we need it most.