Author Topic: American Civics and your future.  (Read 7351 times)

Adios

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96724
    • View Profile
American Civics and your future.
« on: July 22, 2010, 02:43:59 pm »
Objective;

To discuss ways to get civics back in the classroom.

Feasibility of starting a national campaign.

Benefits;

A future of better informed electors.

Adios

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96724
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2010, 03:07:22 pm »
At what level of education would be the best to introduce civics?
How many years should it be taught?

For most of us participating in the E-Democracy thread the underlying issue besides apathy is a lack of informed voters. Would there be better ways to try to educate voters?

Doktor Howl

  • SHIT FIXER
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 385971
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2010, 03:10:30 pm »
7th grade would be a good place to start.

Abolish the damn pledge and have the little bastards memorize the preamble.

Nobody graduates 8th grade or high school without demonstrating a basic knowledge of the constitution appropriate to their age (8th grade would be the basic form of the constitution, and what each article means, 12th grade would be far more rigorous.

LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom™
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87071
  • Internet Fuckweasel of Haunted Pork Dimensions.
    • View Profile
    • Earfatigue Productions: When it has to sound like you give a shit.
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2010, 03:15:15 pm »
I think it needs to be built into the immediate culture as soon as possible, and made to seem second nature and inevitable.

More than that, it needs to be relevant.  When I learned civics, it was as if I was studying a different country; it would still be a decade before I would actually be able to vote.  What did I care about the Electorial College, or how a Republic is formed?

Perhaps some classes or classrooms could employ a voting system in order to determine things that would immediately affect the class... seating assignments, or in what order subjects would be taught.  I would think that making the voting process something that has effects in the present rather than a nebulous future could help.

Adios

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96724
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2010, 03:16:06 pm »
7th grade would be a good place to start.

Abolish the damn pledge and have the little bastards memorize the preamble.

Nobody graduates 8th grade or high school without demonstrating a basic knowledge of the constitution appropriate to their age (8th grade would be the basic form of the constitution, and what each article means, 12th grade would be far more rigorous.

That might even encourage students to study political science in college.

Adios

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96724
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2010, 03:17:38 pm »
I think it needs to be built into the immediate culture as soon as possible, and made to seem second nature and inevitable.

More than that, it needs to be relevant.  When I learned civics, it was as if I was studying a different country; it would still be a decade before I would actually be able to vote.  What did I care about the Electorial College, or how a Republic is formed?

Perhaps some classes or classrooms could employ a voting system in order to determine things that would immediately affect the class... seating assignments, or in what order subjects would be taught.  I would think that making the voting process something that has effects in the present rather than a nebulous future could help.

My civics teacher always had us vote in elections. It was interesting.

The Wizard

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 25535
  • Here to save the world, whether it likes it or not
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2010, 03:21:29 pm »
Going off of my own classmates, if you require they study the Constitution, they'll either let themselves fail or cheat. The people who will do well are the ones who already know it. The people who don't know it, and there will be many, will mostly fail or cheat rather than learn it. I know folks who don't know who the first president was. In this case Apathy and the lack of informed voters are the same problem.
Insanity we trust.

Adios

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96724
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2010, 03:24:44 pm »
Going off of my own classmates, if you require they study the Constitution, they'll either let themselves fail or cheat. The people who will do well are the ones who already know it. The people who don't know it, and there will be many, will mostly fail or cheat rather than learn it. I know folks who don't know who the first president was. In this case Apathy and the lack of informed voters are the same problem.

How could it be made interesting enough to get kids to want to participate?

AFK

  • We all
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 73111
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2010, 03:25:40 pm »
I think it needs to be built into the immediate culture as soon as possible, and made to seem second nature and inevitable.

More than that, it needs to be relevant.  When I learned civics, it was as if I was studying a different country; it would still be a decade before I would actually be able to vote.  What did I care about the Electorial College, or how a Republic is formed?

Perhaps some classes or classrooms could employ a voting system in order to determine things that would immediately affect the class... seating assignments, or in what order subjects would be taught.  I would think that making the voting process something that has effects in the present rather than a nebulous future could help.

This is good stuff.  Today, it seems like students aren't really allowed to go any deeper than a one-off mock election.  That's cool and it makes for a good local news story, but it just scratches the surface.  I really like the idea of modeling the behavior in the classroom on an ongoing basis.  Really let them see how elections have consequences.  Maybe a mock exercise where kids are forced to make a decision about something but with only a snippet of information.  At the end of the experiment the teacher reveals the rest of the information and the class examines how not having the whole story affected the outcome and how the outcome might have been different if everyone had been better educated on the issue.  

And as I mentioned in the other thread, media literacy I think is a key.  Understanding the different ways messages are crafted by politicians and also by groups who are sponsoring a certain initiative.  Understanding how messages are conveyed overtly, but also how messages are conveyed in less obvious, but no less influencing ways.  

I draw the parallel to the BIP.  I think the endgame is about building not just awareness but the skills of being aware.  
Cynicism is a blank check for failure.

Adios

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96724
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2010, 03:26:58 pm »
I think it needs to be built into the immediate culture as soon as possible, and made to seem second nature and inevitable.

More than that, it needs to be relevant.  When I learned civics, it was as if I was studying a different country; it would still be a decade before I would actually be able to vote.  What did I care about the Electorial College, or how a Republic is formed?

Perhaps some classes or classrooms could employ a voting system in order to determine things that would immediately affect the class... seating assignments, or in what order subjects would be taught.  I would think that making the voting process something that has effects in the present rather than a nebulous future could help.

This is good stuff.  Today, it seems like students aren't really allowed to go any deeper than a one-off mock election.  That's cool and it makes for a good local news story, but it just scratches the surface.  I really like the idea of modeling the behavior in the classroom on an ongoing basis.  Really let them see how elections have consequences.  Maybe a mock exercise where kids are forced to make a decision about something but with only a snippet of information.  At the end of the experiment the teacher reveals the rest of the information and the class examines how not having the whole story affected the outcome and how the outcome might have been different if everyone had been better educated on the issue.  

And as I mentioned in the other thread, media literacy I think is a key.  Understanding the different ways messages are crafted by politicians and also by groups who are sponsoring a certain initiative.  Understanding how messages are conveyed overtly, but also how messages are conveyed in less obvious, but no less influencing ways.  

I draw the parallel to the BIP.  I think the endgame is about building not just awareness but the skills of being aware.  

Excellent idea!

The Wizard

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 25535
  • Here to save the world, whether it likes it or not
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2010, 03:29:12 pm »
Well there's bribery, which is how the school gets people to read, but I don't think we should be giving kids shit to learn about their own country. Dok Alphapance had a pretty good idea. Use voting to determine classroom such and such, though you'd have to be willing to deal with the consequences of putting power into the hands of asshole teens.
Insanity we trust.

LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom™
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87071
  • Internet Fuckweasel of Haunted Pork Dimensions.
    • View Profile
    • Earfatigue Productions: When it has to sound like you give a shit.
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2010, 03:30:03 pm »
Going off of my own classmates, if you require they study the Constitution, they'll either let themselves fail or cheat. The people who will do well are the ones who already know it. The people who don't know it, and there will be many, will mostly fail or cheat rather than learn it. I know folks who don't know who the first president was. In this case Apathy and the lack of informed voters are the same problem.

How could it be made interesting enough to get kids to want to participate?

In-class elections that are modeled after the electoral college, with real-life consequences, and require knowlegde of the constitution/civics.  And to keep it interesting, quarterly elections.

Perhaps the outcome of the elections have some sort of consequences such as status, privilege, or other incentives.  If you also include the impeachement or constitutional amendment processes, it could make for a rousing class.

Adios

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96724
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2010, 03:30:34 pm »
Well there's bribery, which is how the school gets people to read, but I don't think we should be giving kids shit to learn about their own country. Dok Alphapance had a pretty good idea. Use voting to determine classroom such and such, though you'd have to be willing to deal with the consequences of putting power into the hands of asshole teens.

Then they would also need to write rules of law to govern their behavior.

Adios

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 96724
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2010, 03:31:43 pm »
Going off of my own classmates, if you require they study the Constitution, they'll either let themselves fail or cheat. The people who will do well are the ones who already know it. The people who don't know it, and there will be many, will mostly fail or cheat rather than learn it. I know folks who don't know who the first president was. In this case Apathy and the lack of informed voters are the same problem.

How could it be made interesting enough to get kids to want to participate?

In-class elections that are modeled after the electoral college, with real-life consequences, and require knowlegde of the constitution/civics.  And to keep it interesting, quarterly elections.

Perhaps the outcome of the elections have some sort of consequences such as status, privilege, or other incentives.  If you also include the impeachement or constitutional amendment processes, it could make for a rousing class.

Add in campaigns among the students and it would be a blast.

LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom™
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87071
  • Internet Fuckweasel of Haunted Pork Dimensions.
    • View Profile
    • Earfatigue Productions: When it has to sound like you give a shit.
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2010, 03:32:31 pm »
Finally, a situaton where a large class size would be beneficial!