What Happened to Civics Education?

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, recently had an article in Minding the Campus which explains in some detail how civics classes have been hijacked to undermine American-style democracy. Going under names like "the New Civics" and "service learning," it makes civics classes in particular and, wherever the SJWs can, any and every class from K-Ph.D. into courses in progressive propaganda and activism.

I've seen this myself, and agree that it is ubiquitous, though the power the SJWs have varies greatly from school to school and department to department. Schools of education are eaten up with it.

I highly recommend the whole article if you are interested in American education today. If you do, remember the name Paulo Freire; I'll come back to him in a future post.

Here's an excerpt from the report Wood discusses:

National Findings: Traditional civic literacy is in deep decay in America. The New Civics, a movement devoted to progressive activism, has taken over civics education. “Service-learning” and “civic engagement” are the most common labels this movement uses, but it also calls itself global civics, deliberative democracy, and intercultural learning. The New Civics movement is national, and it extends far beyond the universities. The New Civics redefines “civic activity” as “progressive activism.” The New Civics redefines “civic activity” as channeling government funds toward progressive nonprofits. The New Civics has worked to divert government funds to progressive causes since its founding in the 1960s.

The New Civics redefines “volunteerism” as labor for progressive organizations and administration of the welfare state. The new measures to require “civic engagement” will make this volunteerism compulsory.  The New Civics replaces traditional liberal arts education with vocational training for community activists. The New Civics shifts authority within the university from the faculty to administrators, especially in offices of civic engagement, diversity, and sustainability, as well as among student affairs professionals. The New Civics also shifts the emphasis of a university education from curricula, drafted by faculty, to “co-curricular activities,” run by non-academic administrators. The New Civics movement aims to take over the entire university. The New Civics advocates want to make “civic engagement” part of every class, every tenure decision, and every extracurricular activity.


Texan99 said...

In about 2000, we got involved in our Houston suburb's neighborhood civic club. Serving on the board, I had to learn about Robert's Rules, which I found a revelation. I was only vaguely aware of them before. They're an incredibly valuable tool for keeping group dynamics reasonably fair while maintaining the group's ability to execute decisions. They're surprisingly ingrained in the public consciousness as a fair way to approach things, a way to get a crowd invested in an orderly manner for resolving public disputes. Our experience with the civic club, and the neighborhood's successful battle to prevent its being converted into a mandatory home owners' association with rigid rules enforced by a foreclosure power, woke me up to local politics and, in turn, to politics and self-rule in general.

Grim said...

When I was in the 7th grade, I took Agriculture. The entire second six weeks were taken up with Roberts Rules of Order, so you could join the Future Farmers of America if you wanted and understand what was going on.

At the time, I thought that was a ridiculous dragooning of the public school into a private organization's agenda. But, as often happens with conclusions drawn at 12 or 13, it turns out I was wrong. It was a tremendously useful introduction to practical freedom.

Tom said...

I think one possible way to fight the politicization of civics is to require teachers to allow any civics-minded program to serve as the service learning component of the course. So, FFA, Scouts, a local church group, NRA, etc., could fulfill that course requirement.

douglas said...
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douglas said...

Yes, the High Schools are largely requiring service hours to graduate (probably mainly because it's advantageous on admissions forms to have given service, so thereby benefits the school to possibly have more graduates placed in 'better' universities). Fortunately, things like Scout projects and helping out at your old elementary school count.

When the kids started school, we joined PTA and soon I was Parliamentarian. Had to pick up Robert's Rules and get familiar quick. Being involved in the local PTA was worthwhile in many ways, but I'm glad the younger one is almost done with sixth grade and will be leaving the school, especially because of all the new found free time my wife will have!