The American public is seriously ill-informed, if not ignorant, about our system of goverment and individual rights under the U. S. Constitution. The former president’s 2016 election and his four years in office made this painfully apparent. To make matters worse, political hucksters have exploited this Constitutional ignorance with outright disinformation campaigns intended to put democracy in America at risk.
It’s almost as if we no longer teach Civics or American Goverment in our schools. Well, guess what! We don’t!
According to a 2018 report from the Center for American Progress, “The State of Civics Education,” only nine states require one year of Civics or American Government. The national average AP U. S. Goverment exam score is only 2.64 out of 5.0. Most colleges require a score of 3.0 or 4.0. According to a 2016 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, only 26% of Americans can name all three branches of government. (One commentator suggested, “the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Nina.”)
The Center for American Progress report suggests that Civics and American Goverment classes have been pushed out by math and science classes. That’s probably the case. But I also wonder if it’s not purposeful . . . state legislatures reducing funding so we’re smart enough to run the machines but not smart enough to realize our democracy is been taken from us, as comedian George Carlin once noted.
Constitutional law can be complicated and nuanced. But the basics aren’t. So I’m doing my small part with short explanations of Constitutional issues written in plain English so everyone can understand what’s happening in our country.
Please read and share. Thanks!
Dan Cofran, J.D.