Jefferson once wrote that we must “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” In supporting public education he spoke of the need to train people to be the guardians of their own liberty. A recent Case foundation report, Citizens at the Center, indicates that the average American is not equipped with the knowledge, literacy, and analytical skills needed to assess the issues that we face today. Yet, without the participation of these citizens, our solutions will be ill informed and incomplete. How do we infuse Americans with the skills needed to meaningfully contribute to dialogue? What role can our system of education play in building this dialogue and promoting ongoing engagement? Who has the responsibility to ensure citizen engagement? Who benefits when citizens don’t have the skills to engage in dialogue?
October 28, 2008 at 5:51 pm
It is vital to restore and strengthen the teaching of Civics in high school. It should be a required course in every school. Perhaps the college entrance examinations should have a segment on Civics, and then everyone would take it seriously.