Are we teaching our kids about America?

The future of America is at stake. Are we setting up our kids to fail?
Have you ever watched a man on the street interview were people are asked questions about America? Questions like who is the president, or how many stars are on the American flag, or what are the three branches of government.
We all have laughed hysterically at the answers.
Well. We are not laughing anymore.
Most young people today don’t have a clue as to the founding principles of America, or how many stars are on the flag.
Most people today only know who the president is because almost every talk show, newscast, or headlines starts with the high price of gas. The name Joe Biden keeps coming up…… due to massive media coverage on gas prices, they know Joe Biden is the president.
But let’s take a deeper dive here. Do young people know about American history, or government or even care. As we hear the cries of burn down America and start over, it makes us wonder if young people really know what makes American government tick in the first place.
Last night I watched an hour long webinar presentation hosted by Ashbrook Center at Ashland University based in Ashland, Ohio.
The topic was the quality of civics or American government teaching in this country’s schools.
It’s not good enough.
I will not identify the teachers by name due to the current acceptance in society to demonize those you don’t agree with. Some interesting thoughts.
1. Students know more about world history than American history.
2. Undergraduate training for teachers today in American history, civics and government is woefully inadequate.
3. Students are “spoon fed” facts from “thin” and “lifeless” textbooks that have been filtered by the “politically correct” editors of the day.
4. School districts are afraid to teach the real facts for fear of retribution from parents, public, or protesters.
5. Government teachers instruct from watered down textbooks that “suck the life” out of the subject matter, which then fails to engage the students who are bored to tears.
6. Teachers don’t know what the founding documents really state, they just hand out boring text books.
Is it any wonder our kids lack even the most basic grasp of the intent of the founding fathers, or how are government actually works?
The two teachers had some interesting ideas about how to engage students. They key is “engagement”. Don’t make them recite boring data and then spit it back out on a test. Get them interested.
One teacher used an example of giving a kids a “Lord of the Flys” lesson. Pretend they are on a deserted island and have to start their own government. How do they do that? What laws do they come up with. Make them think and discover on their own.
Start them on a journey of discovery and have them process and think about it for themselves.
They said the key is to promote disagreement without being disagreeable, in other words promote civility. And realize that “PERFECT FREEDOM IS NOT PERFECT LICENSE”.
How do you promote freedom but make it fair for everyone?
One teacher said treat students like adults; not like stupid, hopeless kids. Engage them, create a high bar of expectation. Use the founding documents as a teaching tool.
Teach directly from the Gettysburg Address, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. Think about what was written and why.
His experience was that homeless kids and kids with hundred thousand dollar pickups can both learn if they are motivated to learn. Let them discover learning, make them think and not just recite facts and dates for a test.
Failure to get kids engaged in American government in the classroom will set the stage for citizens who are not engaged in real life.
Participation and engagement are key. Talk to them at their level and promote dialogue.
The future of America is at stake.

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