What is Civic Education?
The Civic Education we strive to implement is the teaching of American history, government, and civic values through the prism of the Enlightenment Era, which introduced protection of the individual, the people of a nation being the highest political power, due process of law, equality of rights and opportunity, rights of freedom of expression and worship, that were revolutionary in history.
Civic values such as civility, clarity of thought, and the importance of dissent are not inherited at birth. The ideas must be taught, and the younger the better. In light of the changing demands on the education system due to an increasing focus on Science, Math and other academics, civics has seen its allocation of time greatly diminished resulting in younger generations having little connection to our founding documents and political system.
In order for our children to be effective citizens, they must understand the development of America so they know how our political structure is unique and exceptional. Additionally, future generations must be taught how to understand all sides of an issue, thoughtfully develop an opinion, and discuss that opinion with civility and reason. We must not shy away from, but embrace teaching the controversial issues and events throughout our history that have shaped the current standing of America. The Dreyfuss Civics Initiative plans to educate citizens on the power they have as well as giving future generations the skills they need to be intelligent citizens. Responsible citizenship is dangerous in its absence and unknowable unless taught.”
What Makes America Unique?
The United States of America was one of the first political bodies that gave its subjects distinct individual freedoms, which are outlined in the Bill of Rights. Built from the ideas of the Enlightenment, America was constructed as a nation dependent on the sovereignty of the people, a breakthrough in a world full of monarchies and tyrannies. Our political system emphasizes the power of the individual by granting citizens the distinctive ability to be part of a sovereign body that elects representatives and impacts policies.
How is America Not Fulfilling its Potential?
Despite having a political system that highlights individual freedom and responsibility, we fail to provide individuals with the skills they need to successfully fulfill the role of citizenship. It is quite apparent that civic values have been absent in certain events of our country’s recent history. We have experienced conflicting political parties unable to compromise, violent protests that have showcased a government unable to foster peace, and new generations that are falling behind its peers in education rankings. Extremism has plagued our government and caused shutdowns, fostered resentment between political parties, and generally caused inefficiencies. The lack of civility in debate that has been seen in our political bodies is destructive and needs to be addressed. On top of that, the average American citizen has a poor understanding of civics and the nuances of our political structure. Civics must be taught so that our future leaders have the skills they need to run our country effectively, and future generations have the skills they need to be informed, active citizens. This foundation of properly educated students will help address the problems we are experiencing today and begin to create the successful future we desire for our posterity.