Posts

Action Civics Is Teaching Our Kids to Protest

Many young Americans seem to have a growing disdain for our country. According to a Gallup poll, pride in our nation has declined, especially among young adults.

Young adults are taking to the streets and not merely protesting but wreaking havoc, rioting and looting, tearing down statues, and shutting down anyone who doesn’t share their perspective.

One reason this is happening is what our children are being taught in school. And that doesn’t mean only in college. We all know college campuses have become centers of radical indoctrination, but now it is happening in K-12 as well, through something called action civics, a new movement in civic education.

As educator Thomas Lindsay explains, action civics was born in 2010 when six organizations set out to redefine civic education. Dissatisfied with traditional civics, which depended on book learning, they wanted to create a new civics that was more experiential. They wanted kids to engage, get involved, get active.


When the elections end, the work begins. Learn what the election results mean for the future of America now >>


The problem is that without a solid understanding of why the Founders were so deliberate in designing our self-governing republic, with its separation of powers to prevent any one branch from becoming tyrannical, or establishing the rule of law so that we would not be subject to the whims of any one person, we risk falling into the same traps of other, less just regimes.

Indeed it is no accident that today’s protests are looking more like the French Revolution, with its guillotines and beheadings, than the American Revolution, with its debates and deliberations.


>>> To learn more about action civics, watch “How Action Civics Teaches Our Kids to Protest,” the Oct. 28 webinar featuring educator Thomas Lindsay held by The Heritage Foundation. To read his study, published in September by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, go here.


Robert Pondiscio, himself once a proponent and teacher of action civics, wrote that it has grown into “a manipulative and cynical use of children as political props in the service of causes they understand superficially, if at all.”

Indeed a study published by the National Association of Scholars found that action civics projects essentially teach students to protest for progressive political causes.

As Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, pointed out, the “new civics” is in fact a form of anti-civics. It does not teach students how our government works or, even more importantly, their critical role as citizens in a self-governing republic. Rather, it simply teaches them how to be activists.

For many today, it feels as if our country never has been more divided and the ideals of our Founders never more at risk. That is due in no small part to what is being taught in our schools.

Parents must step up and take a more active role in their children’s education, carefully watching what their children are being taught. The good news is that with the COVID-19 crisis and the prevalence of online learning, it is easier than ever before for parents to keep an eye on what is being taught to their children.

But what parents do with that information is what really matters. They must engage with schools, school boards, teachers, and principals to ensure that students are taught more than simply how to protest.

COMMENTARY BY

Katharine Gorka is director of the Center for Civil Society and the American Dialogue at The Heritage Foundation’s Feulner Institute.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Podcast: Can Young Adults Learn to Love the Free Market?

Trump v. Biden: 2 Candidates, 2 Starkly Divergent Stances on Abortion

I Visited DC on Eve of the Election. This Is What I Saw.

ICYMI: Hunter Biden Emails, Texts Raise Questions That Need Answers


A Note for our Readers:

When the election ends, the work begins.

Join Heritage Foundation leadership for a tele-townhall on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 2:00pm ET for an in-depth analysis into what the election results mean for the future of America.

LEARN MORE »


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

1776 Initiative Is Helping Turn Civics Education Around

Entrepreneur and civil rights movement veteran Robert L. Woodson Sr. believes that American civics can help save our country—and that’s the mission of 1776, a major initiative launched earlier this year by the Woodson Center, which Woodson founded to give local leaders the training they need to improve their communities.

Featuring essays by notable scholars and writers such as Clarence PageJohn McWhorter, and Carol M. Swain, and eventually a curriculum and multimedia resources, 1776 offers “perspectives that celebrate the progress America has made on delivering its promise of equality and opportunity and highlight the resilience of its people.”

A recipient of the Bradley Price and the Presidential Citizens Medal, Woodson began 1776 to counter The New York Times’ 1619 Project, a series of essays launched a year ago this month with a very different focus: It teaches that America is defined, now and forever, by slavery. As Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote in the 1619 Project’s lead essay: “Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.”

In Woodson’s view, the 1619 Project inculcates the “diabolical, self-destructive” idea that “all white Americans are oppressors and all black Americans are victims.”


How are socialists deluding a whole generation? Learn more now >>


“Though slavery and discrimination undeniably are a tragic part of our nation’s history,” Woodson notes, “we have made strides along its long and tortuous journey to realize its promise and abide by its founding principles.”

Woodson continues: “People are motivated to achieve and overcome the challenges that confront them when they learn about inspiring victories that are possible and are not barraged by constant reminders of injuries they have suffered.”

He points to the surprising number “of men and women who were born slaves” but “died as millionaires,” the existence of famous black business districts in cities such as Durham, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the midst of oppression and segregation, and heroes like baseball Hall of Fame slugger Hank Aaron as powerful examples for black uplift.

And it’s a lesson that Woodson knows firsthand.

Born in a low-income Philadelphia neighborhood, he rose up beyond his circumstances through hard work, the support of his family, and a good peer group. He entered the U.S. military, where he flew aircrafts for the space program; attended the University of Pennsylvania; and worked for the American Enterprise Institute, before starting the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in 1981. (It was rebranded as the Woodson Center in 2016.)

The Woodson Center’s mission is to seek out “individuals and organizations” already present in communities and help them “build their capacities,” in part by helping them “in linking to the resources they need.”

The center has helped more than 22,000 adults reach financial literacy and has trained over 2,600 grassroots leaders in 39 states, helping them “attain more than 10 times the funding expended by the Center.”

Though the center works on the “whole range” of issues associated with the “problems of poverty,” Woodson notes a “particular emphasis on those dealing with youth violence,” since “the restoration of civil order is a necessary foundation for civic health.”

In “The Triumphs of Joseph: How Today’s Community Healers Are Reviving Our Streets and Neighborhoods,” Woodson writes that low-income black communities are “dying from self-inflicted wounds.” He calls it a “moral free-fall,” one that “penetrates beyond all boundaries of race, ethnicity, and income level.”

In light of violent protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Woodson has been active in print and on television, arguing that though Floyd’s killing was unconscionable, the violent protests that have ensued are “devastating the people in whose name they demand justice.”

Another way the Woodson Center combats civic breakdown is through its Violence Free Zone initiative, which aims to reduce youth violence by providing mentors to young students to “encourage their personal, academic, and career success.” The center reports that this initiative has led to a 50% reduction in crime, a 23% reduction in truancy, and a nearly 10% improvement in both student GPA and graduation rates.

Woodson views the 1619 Project and Black Lives Matter as major contributors to the growing belief that the foundations of America itself must be torn down. Against what he sees as defeatism and a denial of moral agency, Woodson preaches an ethic of self-reliance and personal resilience.

As Woodson sees it, “Nothing is more lethal than a good excuse for failure.”

His vision, a deeply American one, should be heeded by his countrymen of all colors.

Originally published by RealClearEducation

COMMENTARY BY

Mike Sabo, formerly a research assistant for the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation, is the editor of Real Clear Public Affairs: American Civics. Twitter: .


A Note for our Readers:

Democratic Socialists say, “America should be more like socialist countries such as Sweden and Denmark.” And millions of young people believe them…

For years, “Democratic Socialists” have been growing a crop of followers that include students and young professionals. America’s future will be in their hands.

How are socialists deluding a whole generation? One of their most effective arguments is that “democratic socialism” is working in Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway. They claim these countries are “proof” that socialism will work for America. But they’re wrong. And it’s easy to explain why.

Our friends at The Heritage Foundation just published a new guide that provides three irrefutable facts that debunks these myths. For a limited time, they’re offering it to readers of The Daily Signal for free.

Get your free copy of “Why Democratic Socialists Can’t Legitimately Claim Sweden and Denmark as Success Stories” today and equip yourself with the facts you need to debunk these myths once and for all.

GET YOUR FREE COPY NOW »


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.