Civics is Alive and Well in American High Schools

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Tom Edsall quotes some guy complaining that people are stupid these days because high schools don’t teach civics anymore. “The students don’t know about civics, they don’t know about our history, our government, our constitution. Politicians say they are going to give people things for free to get elected.” Atrios comments:

It’s certainly possible it’s true in some sense, in that there’s no course of study actually called “civics” but it’d be nice if Edsall provided some judgment about whether this guy is just mainlining Limbaugh or if he has an actual point.

Say what? No course of study called civics? I took senior-year civics from Mr. Avis back in 1976 because I had to if I wanted to graduate, and the California minimum course requirements continue to include “a one-semester course in American government and civics.” Ditto for Pennsylvania. Here’s a PDF describing the civics requirement in detail for all grades, including high school.

Looks to me like civics is alive and well, and continues to be called “civics.” So what’s the problem?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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