For some reason, we keep expecting Americans to become more engaged in their responsibility as citizens. We scratch our heads and try to figure out why they don’t vote and why elections end up as more theater than a sobering discussion of issues.
The answer is obvious, however. When it comes to government, Americans are mostly ignorant.
This has been documented in this space so many times that I tire of doing so again. So, here. Go read the proof.
So it was heartening to read the Star Tribune article Wednesday about several lawmakers who’ve proposed that civics be required for juniors and seniors in high school.
They would need one credit to graduate. One credit. That’s not asking too much.
“We have three out of four graduating who do not understand how our government works,” Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, said. “We’ve got to do something or we’re going to lose a whole generation of people, and that’s a serious problem for our country.”
We’ve already lost several generations, as the annual Constitution Day survey reveals every year.
The school board lobbyists aren’t impressed.
“Once you start prescribing specific courses in certain grades, that takes away some flexibility and options for our districts and our students,” Kirk Schneidawind, executive director of the Minnesota School Boards Association, tells the Strib.
He said civics is already included in social studies standards in Minnesota.
It’s not working. The data is conclusive.
The Strib says the proposal has bipartisan support, which is encouraging. It’s a bipartisan problem.