“An especially noteworthy conclusion of the (Brown) report is that “strengthening the social studies teaching workforce is particularly important at a time when many Americans are wondering about their country’s civic and political well-being – and are wondering about what schools could do to help.” ASPA members—both academic and practitioners—have a vested interest in a well-informed and engaged citizenry need to consider what our profession can do to “keep our republic” as well.”
Richard T. Moore
For any of you that may follow my own postings, you will note that the entire conversation regarding the weakened state of our own “Civic Knowledge” should be one of our greatest concerns. We’ve been told. The scholarship is there. The trend has been going on for a number of years. The Brookings Institution 2018 Brown Center Report on American Education is just the latest in a series of warning signs pertaining to our collective deteriorating knowledge of civics and more importantly our civic responsibilities. Richard T. Moore’s review of the “Brown Report” and the state of civic education is right on. His essay is noteworthy and should at the very least be required reading for those responsible for curricula development at both the K-12 and undergraduate levels.
The reasons behind, and the workings of, the American system of governance should be intrinsic to each and every one of us. It is as important, if not more important, to any applied set of skills needed to be competitive in the job market. This is especially true for those working in and around the public service. Without it our focus becomes inward, more inclined to revolve around ourselves and arguably at the expense of the greater community. Contrary to our romantic notion of rugged individualism, we are in this together. A reprioritization of placing value on civics may just be one step in rebalancing the scales, a way to maintain our democratic principles through our republican form of governance. A prophetic discourse at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention sums it up–“A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, ‘Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?’ With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”