If It's Broken, Fix It - and Why We Need to Change Civics Education in America.
The good news is that every state of the United States requires "civics education." The bad news is that it obviously sucks.
Don't you think it's time to start over? We can't fall in love with whatever familiar, safe curriculum we're "teaching." Because if it was any good the results wouldn't be so bad. 42% of eligible voters - over 90 million "adult" Americans - didn't vote in the 2016 election. Vote! In the 2016 election! And if that election didn't engage, will any election? Ever?
Not if we keep exposing kids the same old sh*t. We're obviously not making an impact. We're like a basketball coach who can't even motivate her players to shoot the ball. Never mind the tough stuff like getting in shape, rebounding and playing defense. If we can't even get 75% (a C!) to vote, how are we going to get them to study the issues, write letters, attend town halls and knock on doors?
In 1973, I took "American Government" because it was required. Long before that and still today, this has been true for most every high school student in the country. But even if you can force young Americans into a civics class, you can't make them vote.
We've got to instill in students an intrinsic desire to affect the world. I don't know exactly how to do this. But I do know that Einstein would think we're insane. What we're doing isn't working.
Maybe we don't need civic engagement. Maybe Donald Trump and his new order will work out shockingly well. Perhaps, a hundred years from now today's haters will be labeled Luddites, and Trump's mug will be jackhammered into to Mt. Rushmore next to Lincoln or Washington.
But what if it doesn't? (My instincts, intuition, gut, spirit and soul keep screaming that it won't.) Then what?
The climate change deniers say it may not be us. It may be a natural phenomenon that's causing Miami to slowly drown. But even if you believe that, just in case it is us, shouldn't we be doing whatever we can to save the world? Just in case?
And just in case Donald Trump is not the answer, shouldn't we be doing everything we can to save the world, starting with overhauling our government classes?
Calling all teachers! (Especially all government teachers) What is your very best civics lesson? If you had just one day to teach one lesson to high school students, what would it be? What assignment, activity or experience might motivate our students to be better citizens of this country and yes, Mr. President, citizens of the world?