Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Are All Civics Programs Equal?

Families, communities, states, and nations are stronger when the upcoming generation is taught appropriate and honest civics lessons. Most Americans understand that American students need and deserve better civics lessons. Jason Bedrick described civic knowledge in America as “abysmal.” Then he explained, “Fewer than half of American adults can name the three branches of government – and a quarter can’t name any branch at all.” In addition, “a quarter of Americans couldn’t name any of the five freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment.” 

Knowing those statistics could cause a person to cheer at an announcement that “a private initiative called Educating for American Democracy would award $600,000 in grants for K-5 pilot implementation projects to applicants from California, Georgia, Missouri, New York, and Wisconsin.” However, those same people would be mistaken.

“EAD is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” warns Mark Bauerlein, a professor emeritus at Emory University. In his telling, the seemingly innocuous goals of Educating for American Democracy, such as inculcating an “inquisitive mindset towards civics and history,” mask a more radical agenda. As Bauerlein explains:

Yes, [Educating for American Democracy] contains a few traditionalist elements that deflect the charge of anti-conservatism. Overall, however, the EAD Roadmap circumscribes those elements with identity politics that left-wing teachers can plunder all year long. Here is what EAD really means by ‘inquisitive mindset’: a takedown of heroes, emphasis on victims (women and racial minorities), denial of American exceptionalism, and a focus on the failing of the founding.

According to David Randall, director of research at the National Association of Scholars, Educating for American Democracy is among the worst civics education resources.

In 2022, the Pioneer Institute and the National Association of Scholars published a report titled “Learning for Self-Government: A K-12 Civics Report Card with grades from A to F. The top grades went to 1776 Unites Curriculum (A); Florida K-12 Civics and Government Standards (Proposed) (A); Teaching American History (The Ashbrook Center) (A); 1776 Curriculum (Hillsdale College) (A-), and Jack Miller Center (A-). The lowest grades went to 1619 Project Curriculum (F); Generation Citizen (F); Jonathan M. Tisch, College of Civic Life (F); Educating for American Democracy (F+). Another six programs received grades between B+ and D+.

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