Civics Education is Failing Our Kids
The American education system is failing our children in far too many ways. “Teaching to tests” does a great disservice to young Americans. Sandra Day O’Connor and John Glenn suggest our children are sorely lacking in Civics education:
The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released last week, revealed that our country’s eighth-graders aren’t just failing at civics and history. They fundamentally do not understand our democratic system of government, and have shown no significant sign of progress since they were last tested in 2010.The scores from the test known as the Nation’s Report Card show that only 18% of the students are proficient in history, and less than a quarter are proficient in civics. For example, fewer than one-third of students tested knew that “the government of the United States should be a democracy” is a political belief shared by most people in this country.
Civic education cannot be an afterthought. Citizenship is a skill that must be taught over time with the same devotion we give to reading, math and the pursuit of scientific knowledge. We believe that it should be taught alongside and integrated with these subjects.
Citizenship begins long before students can vote. Civic education will help them exercise their vote, and participate in our democracy, in an informed manner. The NAEP results indicate that it’s not the students who are failing to learn, but we who are failing to teach them.