Don’t Know Much about Civics Education?
Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” Of course, in order to do that, it helps to know a little something about thine own self. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in America who know little about the United States. These people could never pass the civics test required of immigrants seeking citizenship. We can begin to remedy that by making civics education a national requirement for primary and secondary school students.
How bad is the problem? A recent study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania shows a staggering level of ignorance among average Americans when it comes to basic civics. Only 36% of those surveyed could name all three branches of the U.S. government; a frightening 35% couldn’t name a single one. Only 27% knew that it takes a two-thirds vote of the house and senate to override a presidential veto, and 21% incorrectly believed that a 5-4 Supreme Court decision has to be sent back to Congress for reconsideration.
It is no wonder our nation is in such bad shape. We complain about and disapprove of a government that many of us barely understand, and we are baffled as to how our country ended up in the shape it’s in. We the people can blame only ourselves.
So, what should we do to remedy the problem? Grown-ups can always google and study the civics questions used in the citizenship test, or they can take a free Hillsdale College course. Our children are a different matter, however. We must insist that public and private schools spend less time teaching them about masturbation and how to have a great sex life and more time teaching the civics education needed to understand America and its government.