Why We Need Civics

Is a lack of civic education partly to blame for our national distress?

April 5, 2021

Citizens & Scholars President Rajiv Vinnakota was featured in the Princeton Alumni Weekly on the importance of civic education.

From the article:

Vinnakota’s report titled “From Civic Education to a Civic Learning Ecosystem: A Landscape Analysis and Case for Collaboration” found broad, bipartisan agreement on the need to develop citizens who understand the basics of American government and history, are active in their communities, and love their country even while recognizing its imperfections.

However, there was less agreement about whether — and how — to teach the skills and values necessary to be a productive citizen. “Knowledge about our political institutions,” the report stated, “is of little practical value to people who lack the social and emotional skills to interact productively with their neighbors. … Many people fail to associate acquiring and practicing skills like active listening, negotiating, critical thinking, and compromising with civic education.”

Civics, Vinnakota adds, is more than just a set of facts, dates, and rules. It is also “a set of habits and norms, and engaging together towards a common good.” Those are things to be learned in school, but civic education neither begins nor ends there. It also, he emphasizes, “needs to come from home, your community, online, at work, and at church.”

Read the full article

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