Law concept - Open law book with a wooden judges gavel on table in a courtroom or law enforcement office
Law concept - Open law book with a wooden judges gavel on table in a courtroom or law enforcement office. Copy space for text

Knowledge and Civics: A Guide to a Responsible Citizenry

In a recent article, Classroom Content: A Conservative Conundrum, Robert Pondiscio argues that conservatives have placed all their faith in school choice while retreating in the battle over curriculum in K-12 classrooms. He urges conservatives to stay engaged in this battleground and not abandon educational content to the Left. Using E. D. Hirsch Jr.’s 1987 landmark book, Cultural Literacy, as his main point of reference, he notes that Hirsch concluded that a “student’s ability to comprehend a text is largely determined by the student’s background knowledge.” That is, speakers and writers make assumptions about what readers and listeners know, and “rely on them to understand references and allusions, and to make correct assumptions about word meanings and context.” But Hirsch Read More ›

We the People.
Constitution of America, We the People withAmerican flag.
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Double Down on Civics Education

How do we expect children to be productive citizens if they do not understand the reason, the importance, and the necessity of a properly-functioning republic? My experience is a case in point. When I was going through the K-12 public school system, I took one, yes one, course on the American Government. It was not required; I had to choose it as an elective. Don Nielsen, program chair to the American Center for Transforming Education, highlights one of the root causes of this deficiency in his book Every School: “Unfortunately, many believe our schools will improve with the more rigorous standards and that was one of the drivers for the development of the Common Core. But, poor performing schools, like Read More ›

kids making team gesture
team of adorable kids making team gesture
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Separate Students by Achievement, Not Ability

In an article published on Aeon, Oscar Hedstrom suggests that tracking, measuring a student’s ability to learn (i.e. ranking students as above average, average, or below average) is not a good idea. The author is right. If you believe every child can learn, as I do, then you need to take into account where a child is in their learning. Rather than tracking, what I propose in the updated version of my book Every School is simply giving kids who are behind in their learning more time (longer day and longer year) and smaller class sizes with the best teachers. That is, give them the opportunity to catch up quickly so they can rejoin the others. This is not tracking; Read More ›

Group of American activists is protesting
Group of American activists is protesting
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Civic Engagement has Led to Civic Miseducation

Students are being encouraged to oppose the government rather than to engage the established political process. The preference for protests and civil disobedience, driven by bitterness and resentment,  reflects their lack of sound knowledge about how our democratic republic operates. Bruce Chapman, Chairman of the Board to Discovery Institute, shares a shocking statistic in his book Politicians: The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government Except for All the Others: “In 2014, the US Department of Education reported (again) that all but 23 percent of eighth-graders are deficient in civics.” This is an impediment to maintaining our democratic society. As Americans we should be embarrassed. Chapman continues by summarizing how the deterioration in the study of history and civics Read More ›