Negotiamini Media
Truth is Powerful

Opinion: A shop-like class needed to educating citizens

24

“As Congressman Abner Mikva was fond of saying, ‘Democracy is a verb.'”

Guest Columnist A dangerously low percentage of Americans understand and trust our democratic institutions, according to a new report from Educating For American Democracy.

“The relative neglect of civic education … is one important cause of our civic and political dysfunction,” it reads.

I teach at Ohio State University, where our motto is Disciplina in civitatem — Education for citizenship. As a political scientist, I took for granted that my courses contributed to this mission. But over time, I came to question what exactly an education for citizenship consists of?

New investments in civic education will come with costs in terms of money and instructional time. So it seems worth pausing to consider what is most essential to the task.

Many on both the left and the right worry about public schools inappropriately indoctrinating students under the guise of civic education, preferring that teachers stick to “just the facts.”Of course, students should know the functions of the three branches of government, the five freedoms guaranteed by the first amendment, and so on. But such rote learning alone does not get to the heart of the matter. It is like memorizing vocabulary […]

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