In the last few decades the American people have lost the knowledge of civics….and our elections and government illustrates what happens when this knowledge is lost.
I say this because of this type of report….
A recent survey found America may need to go back to civics class.
Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Civics Knowledge Survey found only 2 in 5 American adults – or 39 percent – could correctly name the three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. That figure was the highest in five years, up from 32 percent last year.
One in five adults couldn’t name any branch, the study showed.
“A quarter of U.S. adults can name only one of the three branches of government and more than a fifth can’t name any. The resilience of our system of government is best protected by an informed citizenry. And civics education and attention to news increase that likelihood.”
53% correctly said it takes a two-thirds majority of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto.
83% correctly said it was accurate to say that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a citizen has a constitutional right to own a handgun.
63% correctly said it was inaccurate to say that the Constitution allows a judge to insist that a defendant testify at their own trial.
55% correctly said that Democrats control the House of Representatives and 61% correctly said that Republicans control the Senate.
Since schools seems to avoid teaching our students the knowledge of civics…..apparently that chore is delegated to us bloggers…..
Let us start with George Washington…..and carry on from there….
In his first inaugural address, George Washington put the fate of this country’s democracy in the care of its people. “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government,” Washington explained, “are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
Yet 233 years later, civic knowledge among Americans is at an appallingly low level. What’s more, a recent Quinnipiac Report finds 67 percent of Americans think our democracy is in danger of collapse.
None of this is surprising to those of us who have devoted our lives to improving civic education in this country. Americans are finally starting to pay attention to the alarms raised. Thankfully, there are collective calls for improving civic education – not only during school years but as a lifelong endeavor for every person in our self-governing society.
The challenge for those of us in civic education is threefold: (1) there is less classroom time for civics in primary and secondary school; (2) the marketplace of ideas is crowded with misinformation coming from every direction; and (3) there are few resources designed to engage people of all ages.
The study of civics is best when we start with the very document that made this country great, the Constitution…..
When we think of the United States Constitution, we probably consider the structure it gives to our national government. We may think of its presence at the center of political controversies past and present. Or we may think of ways in which the document has been neglected.
But as we mark the 235th anniversary of the Constitution’s signing on Sept. 17, 1787, it’s worth noting the positive ways in which our daily lives as individuals – and our shared lives as citizens – are profoundly shaped by that document.
First, the Constitution is a common reference point for American civic life. The Preamble tells us the Constitution’s purpose – one that “We the People” share together. It speaks of the need to maintain our “more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” This purpose is as relevant today as it was in 1787. The founding generation certainly bore a heavy responsibility in adhering to these purposes, but each generation must do its part in the ongoing work of self-government. And each individual citizen is a shareholder in the enterprise of democracy.
We need a more thorough program for teaching civics at every level of our educational system.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”