Friday, March 31, 2006

Civics Lessons.

Sandra Day O'Connor (former U.S. Supreme Court Justice) and Roy Romer (former Governor of Colorado) wrote a piece today about the need for Civics to be taught once again in schools to American children. See their piece here.

Now... If I had read this piece yesterday, I may have responded to it differently. However, I was talking to a friend (in her 50's) who told me about how she had to give a lesson to someone at her work about the Government. This other person, also in her 50's asked my friend to explain what the difference between a Liberal and a Conservative was. This lead to other questions that made my friend give almost an hour of Civics lessons to this person. This person is in her 50's and she didn't understand what the major differences were between the two major parties in American politics.

Um. I don't know... I think I'm vaguely appalled. I mean... How can an American in their FIFTIES no less, not know anything about the way our government works?

Ms. O'Connnor and Mr. Romer write a very eloquent commentary on our need in America for Civics to return to our schools. They spoke about the past, where students were required to learn about the necessity for being good CITIZENS in the United States. How to vote, why to vote, and to give the students tools with which to base their opinions.

I wasn't in this group. By the time I made it through grade-school and high school... The courses were no longer part of the curriculum. I had a course in Government (like they speak about in their article) but not anything to do with Civics. The one thing that Ms. O'Connnor and Mr. Romer talk about... About how the Government course teaches perhaps about "how a bill becomes a law" and explains the differences between the House and the Senate... Yes... I learned all of that... The one thing that the authors forgot to mention was how damnably BORING the subject was! If anything, current Government courses teach students that Government is a snooze-fest, and really has nothing at all to do with their lives. Obviously, there's something lacking in our curriculum.

I find myself agreeing with Ms. O'Connnor and Mr. Romer, we must begin to teach young people just WHY our government works, and also why is sometimes does NOT work. We need to give our young people some tools... Not just to make them better citizens, but also to make our country stronger.

That's a bit of a better solution, than waiting until their 50-something, and hoping they ask questions of a co-worker.

-- Tuckmac