Focus Point - The Death Of CivicsCommentary by Pete du Pont
May 25, 2000
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. If you're, say, 35 or older, I want you to think back to your early schooling. Did you have civics, or social studies, or some similar class? Sure, and so did most others your age or older.
No more. In fact, it's gotten so bad, education professionals and others have formed the national alliance for civics education to help return instruction in American government to school curriculums.
The most recent national tests of fourth-, eighth- and twelfth-graders revealed a quarter of them couldn't even show a basic understanding of the political process. Others weren't much better off, and it's hardly a surprise why. Only half the states require any civics education in their schools. But how many classes are more valuable than those that explain to students their roles as citizens?
With civics ignored, is it any surprise that many young people are clueless about -- and therefore uninterested in -- the political systems that determine their lives? Chalk up another one for public education?
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, a language lapse.