Students Don't Understand Government?!

Bernadette's picture

The SF Chronicle reported today that less than half of US students tested had proficient knowledge of how our government works!

In fact, some of the statistics were as low as 22% proficiency rates!

This is so alarming, especially for a country whose Revolutionary War helped spark many other famous revolutions in the 1700s. How can we keep our country a bastion of democracy when our students, the future leaders of our nation, are struggling with the basic tenets of our government?

In fact, they do not even have to become presidents and senators to necessitate working knowledge of our government; they need to be well-informed to make good decisions when voting and even when making decisions about what type of eggs to buy (you vote with your wallet, too, right?).

We need to make sure that students understand the importance of what they are learning in government class, so that they will take it more seriously. It is not just a grade on a report card. Government class holds the keys to greater understanding, success, better participation, and even simply better livelihoods in the real world. How can students enact change in their nation if they do not know the different methods of enacting that change?

Furthermore, it's even more vital for K-12 students to gain a strong understanding of their government because when they reach college, they're not really going to be required to take classes about civics and government.

What if they completely forget what they were taught when they are beginning to gain more power as citizens (through being old enough to vote, making their own money that they can spend on supporting political organizations they are passionate about, etc)?

Alyssa Sittig's picture

Political Apathy in San Francisco

One thing I have never been able to understand is when I hear a friend or family member say that they really don't care much about politics.

To me, politics are so entwined with every aspect of my life -- my education, my safety, my health and my overall quality of life. Not caring about these things seems impossible. We need to fundamentally re-vamp and revitalize how politics and the political process are taught to our students in San Francisco.

Knowing when the Declaration of Independence was signed is grand, but politics are happening all around us, everywhere, everyday!

Dwight A's picture

We Don't Understand

I completely agree with this article because being a student myself, I have noticed in schools today there is a great lack of education around and about politics. Of course Arithmetic and grammar are important, but as the future of this nation we, as students, can't go without learning about how our nation runs.     


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