Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sandra Day O'Connor promotes civics education

Retired U.S. Supreme Court justice
helped initiate an online program
called iCivics because
not enough Americans know how government works.

This from the L A Times:
"It's very disturbing," said O'Connor, 81, the first woman to serve on the nation's highest court. "I want to educate several generations of young people so we won't have the lack of public knowledge we have today."

Nationwide, her work has influenced a new civics education law in Florida and pending legislation in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Civics education involves explaining the structure of U.S. government, including the meaning and influence of the Constitution and its evolution over time. Advocates also emphasize the importance of getting students to engage in the democratic process, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Philadelphia-based Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Limited knowledge about the three branches of government — executive, legislative and judicial — emerges starkly in Annenberg surveys, which also found that 15% of adults correctly named John Roberts as United States chief justice, but almost twice as many (27%) could identify Randy Jackson as a judge on the television show "American Idol."

Poor understanding of civics has persisted for decades despite increased college attendance, Jamieson said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Justice O'Conner.

As a teacher in Lexington, I'm seeing what happens in the elementary school as my colleagues are struggling to emphasize math and language arts. Social studies, in some schools, is taught as an afterthought. In others, the subject is clearly de-emphasized, another victim in Kentucky's test-driven accountability system

I hope we in Fayette County can sell Dr. Shelton on the importance of civics education. We need it nopw more than ever.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I taught under the Holliday regime. And yes at the time, science and social studies was an after thought. It was simply manipulate numbers and make every thing look good. Our students were not given the well rounded education that all students deserve and that our country deserves.

Gump, Forrest Gump

Anonymous said...

Thank you, anonymous. I have long suspected Kentucky received a lackluster education commissioner. Now we know that we have man who worships the test!

Anonymous said...

This is not a current concern, but rather one which has existed for years. I imagine more boys knew who Mickey Mantle or Bart Starr was than Thurgood Marshall. (Note the survey is of "adults" not students.).

I agree with her but dog gone it, the kids in Finland and China don't have to know this, so why should our kids - makes one wonder about the value of globalism and standardization.