Civic Education, Politics, and an Uninformed Populace

Certain dates are standouts, like February 14, October 31, and December 25. But what about September 17? It should be a standout, too, but it’s not. In fact, most of us don’t give the date a second thought; we certainly should, though. That’s because it’s not just another day; it’s Constitution day, set aside by Congress back in 1952 to foster civic engagement.

To institutionalize the day, back in 2005, Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia promoted legislation that would mandate recognition of Constitution Day in all schools and colleges that receive federal monies. Unfortunately, six years later, Congress stripped civic-education funding, and that, says Education Week‘s Ross Brenneman, sent the message that civics is important, but not worth federal dollars.

And so it goes.

As a people we are sorely uniformed about American history and the workings of our government. Indeed, many are not even sure who … Read More