Author Topic: American Civics and your future.  (Read 7303 times)

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 104986
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2010, 09:15:32 pm »
Wont make a difference, because FOX et al will just tell people how kids are being indoctrinated by MARXIST LIBERAL OBAMACORP NAZI TEACHERS.

Well, more so than they do already.

You're talking about turning around an entire political and social culture which I believe was last tried in, er, Cambodia.  Of course, they may have gone about it in a slightly counterproductive way.

Jasper

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 67367
  • Pull-Start Enema Wasteland
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #31 on: July 22, 2010, 09:17:06 pm »
We're also not trying to forcefully plunge the entire nation into an "agrarian utopia" by any means necessary.

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 104986
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2010, 09:24:31 pm »
It'd do people some good, though.  Honest work, not shoving pieces of paper around an office for an hour a day, downloading masses of porn, drinking lots of free coffee and then bitching about lazy welfare bums.

But yeah, "educating a population" doesn't just, you know, mean sitting them down in a classroom, though that forms part of it.  Also there is the worry that if you can force that to work (highly unlikely), then all it requies for the Christian dominionists to gain ultimate victory is to win an election or, more likely, infiltrate a friendly, powerful political party with national clout and then rewrite the cirriculum to their liking.   In short, if you can convince people of one thing, you can convince them equally well of another.  Probably better to teach them critical thinking skills and them let the run amok then bother with any sort of civics class anyway.

I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here, but how many civics classes did any of you guys have where they discussed the cosy relationship between senators, the military, military contractors and how that contributed to the corruption of the electoral system?  And how long would a teacher who decided to follow that line of enquiry actually last in their job?  If you're not teaching how government actually works, as opposed to how it even works on paper (though I understand this is a step up from the current situation), then the subject just seems another way of reifing the current status quo, which defeats the point of the object.

Jasper

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 67367
  • Pull-Start Enema Wasteland
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2010, 09:34:08 pm »
Great point.  Institutionalizing civics would make it way too easy to institutionalize nationalistic propaganda, which is already a problem.

And yet... I still like the idea of having kids try their own hands at building constitutions and seeing how well they hold up to scrutiny.

BabylonHoruv

  • Infectious Projectile Faecalator
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 38685
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2010, 10:12:49 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.

The problem I se3e here is that you condition the kids into feeling their votes mean very little.  They are being led by someone they have no choice over, after all.  They can vote only on stuff that doesn't matter, because the teacher decides all the stuff that does matter.
You're a special case, Babylon.  You are offensive even when you don't post.

Merely by being alive, you make everyone just a little more miserable

-Dok Howl

BabylonHoruv

  • Infectious Projectile Faecalator
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 38685
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #35 on: July 22, 2010, 10:18:32 pm »
It'd do people some good, though.  Honest work, not shoving pieces of paper around an office for an hour a day, downloading masses of porn, drinking lots of free coffee and then bitching about lazy welfare bums.

But yeah, "educating a population" doesn't just, you know, mean sitting them down in a classroom, though that forms part of it.  Also there is the worry that if you can force that to work (highly unlikely), then all it requies for the Christian dominionists to gain ultimate victory is to win an election or, more likely, infiltrate a friendly, powerful political party with national clout and then rewrite the cirriculum to their liking.   In short, if you can convince people of one thing, you can convince them equally well of another.  Probably better to teach them critical thinking skills and them let the run amok then bother with any sort of civics class anyway.

I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here, but how many civics classes did any of you guys have where they discussed the cosy relationship between senators, the military, military contractors and how that contributed to the corruption of the electoral system?  And how long would a teacher who decided to follow that line of enquiry actually last in their job?  If you're not teaching how government actually works, as opposed to how it even works on paper (though I understand this is a step up from the current situation), then the subject just seems another way of reifing the current status quo, which defeats the point of the object.

I had that class (the one with the corruption) and the teacher had been teaching a long time, and had won the district several awards and grants.  he was mostly a shop teacher, but also taught contemporary world problems.  I believe he is retired now, but due to being old, not due to being pushed into it.
You're a special case, Babylon.  You are offensive even when you don't post.

Merely by being alive, you make everyone just a little more miserable

-Dok Howl

Juana Go?

  • Hideous and Otherworldly Attack Duckling of DESPAIR
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 65322
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2010, 10:36:41 pm »
It'd do people some good, though.  Honest work, not shoving pieces of paper around an office for an hour a day, downloading masses of porn, drinking lots of free coffee and then bitching about lazy welfare bums.

But yeah, "educating a population" doesn't just, you know, mean sitting them down in a classroom, though that forms part of it.  Also there is the worry that if you can force that to work (highly unlikely), then all it requies for the Christian dominionists to gain ultimate victory is to win an election or, more likely, infiltrate a friendly, powerful political party with national clout and then rewrite the cirriculum to their liking.   In short, if you can convince people of one thing, you can convince them equally well of another.  Probably better to teach them critical thinking skills and them let the run amok then bother with any sort of civics class anyway.

I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here, but how many civics classes did any of you guys have where they discussed the cosy relationship between senators, the military, military contractors and how that contributed to the corruption of the electoral system?  And how long would a teacher who decided to follow that line of enquiry actually last in their job?  If you're not teaching how government actually works, as opposed to how it even works on paper (though I understand this is a step up from the current situation), then the subject just seems another way of reifing the current status quo, which defeats the point of the object.
I did, too, and I live in the conservative butthole of California. He taught us both how it works on paper (pretty intensively) and mixed in how it works IRL. But that was an AP class and he liked the subject a lot, so that was why.

The thing is, I think, is that American history is tested on in schools, and civics aren't really on it, from what I remember. It was mostly names and dates. Seniors, who weren't going to be tested at the end of the year, were the ones who took civics in the school district I attended. When I was planning to teach high school, American history was going to be my subject and I planned to mix them together, because I think that's the way to do it. Spend a few days on the Constitution, spend a while on the set up, and look at how the document and human nature have interacted to create what exists IRL as we went along.

The issue with voting and trying to convince them to vote, is probably showing them statistics. Who votes the most? Wealthy, older, white people. Who benefits most from voting? Them. Don't be a statistic and gain some power.
“Call me sentimental, but there’s no-one in the world that I’d like to see get dysentery more than you.” — David Nicholls (One Day)

Iason Ouabache

  • Dark Lord of the Pit
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 77840
  • Genuine
    • View Profile
    • Twatter
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2010, 02:32:55 am »
But yeah, "educating a population" doesn't just, you know, mean sitting them down in a classroom, though that forms part of it.  Also there is the worry that if you can force that to work (highly unlikely), then all it requies for the Christian dominionists to gain ultimate victory is to win an election or, more likely, infiltrate a friendly, powerful political party with national clout and then rewrite the cirriculum to their liking.
They already did that. It's called the Texas Board of Education.
You cannot fathom the immensity of the fuck i do not give.
    \
┌( ಠ_ಠ)┘┌( ಠ_ಠ)┘┌( ಠ_ಠ)┘┌( ಠ_ಠ)┘

Golden Applesauce

  • Token Apologist
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 22325
  • Where does this text go?
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2010, 05:39:37 am »
I think that to get kids interested in these ideas, first you have to contextualize it with a story that grabs their attention.

I didn't really care terribly about civics until I learned about the personalities and stories that led up to the declaration.  For me, the movie 1776 made the whole thing a lot more interesting, but chances are a different movie should be made to appeal to kids these days, since I have bad taste.  The point is that if you introduce some "song and dance" so to speak, to grant the ideas some charisma then they'll be more interested in things like the preamble.

I agree with this post.  Honestly, I didn't get interested in civics at all until we got to the Federalist papers.  They were interesting because instead of the teacher just telling us how great democracy was we got to read actual people arguing about it and making the case for a Republic.  Also, surprisingly, Latin class - reading the translations of Cicero and other orators shocked me by how little political rhetoric has changed in thousands of years.  "Hmm, we need to win this election ... what do people like ... they like winning wars ... who don't we like that we can beat ... Carthage!"  Also the various letters between various provincial governors and emperors, because then you get to see what kind of advice politicians in a different political system would give - get a real insight into how other kinds of government work.

Perhaps a course focusing on the civics of a the great empires of history (or at least the ones who wrote everything down) would be more effective than one just trying to ram a single document down an apathetic class's throat.

I do remember one particular lesson as being effective - after a few lessons on warrants, probable cause, reasonable suspicion, and whatnot, the teacher brought a real police officer in and we more or less went over when a police officer can search your car (pretty much whenever) when they can force you to take breathalyser (also pretty much whenever) - things that were of real interest to highschool students who had recently gotten licenses to drive but weren't legally allowed to drink yet.

The #1 thing, though, is for people to be able to critically evaluate arguments - and most importantly to notice when a persuasive argument is occurring.  They aren't always labeled "Op-Ed."

Also, before you teach them the constitution, have them try to write one.  That would demonstrate to them how smart those guys were, and perhaps even leave them in awe.  I think that's a desirable perception to cultivate.

One of my teachers made us do this as part of a (very long) group project about the settlers and colonization of America.  Nobody else in my group could be bothered to do it, so they let me write the constitution ... and they got a constitutional monarchy with me in charge.  Apparently, this was the Wrong Kind of constitution.
Q: How regularly do you hire 8th graders?
A: We have hired a number of FORMER 8th graders.

Jasper

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 67367
  • Pull-Start Enema Wasteland
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2010, 05:55:07 am »
Hahahaha!  That'll teach them to casually defer their freedom to a trusted proxy.

SuuCal

  • The Goddamn Industry Professional Who
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 177135
  • Heartless and regal murderess of the intertubes.
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2010, 05:59:12 am »
Before the NCLB bullshit, I was taught Civics in 7th and 8th grade within my social studies curricula. In high school I had an actual American Government class, but I do remember doing extensive work on other types of government as well, including socialism, communism, republics vs democracies, etc. So it wasn't JUST American government.

I think it's fucking ridiculous that it was cut out of schools. This is knowledge that everyone NEEDS to know to be a functioning adult in a county in which there is a governing body.
Sovereign Episkopos-Princess Kaousuu; Esq., Battle Nun, Bene Gesserit.
Our Lady of Perpetual Confusion; 1st Church of Discordia

"Add a dab of lavender to milk, leave town with an orange, and pretend you're laughing at it."

LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom™
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87066
  • 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 #41 on: July 23, 2010, 01:41:19 pm »
Probably better to teach them critical thinking skills and them let the run amok


Gordian Knot, meet Alexander.

I would support the implementation of an ongoing critical thinking class from kindergarten to 12th grade 100%.

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 104986
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2010, 03:07:40 pm »
OK BH and HC I take your points.  However, can you successfully see that being pulled off at the national level, for any length of time?  Me either.

Hell, pushing critical thinking skills would probably be hard enough, and that's without most of the associated political and social baggage that surrounds something so contentious as civics.  You'd probably have to label it something like "Study Skills" and hope like hell no-one paid attention to the actual subject matter.

AFK

  • We all
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 73111
    • View Profile
Re: American Civics and your future.
« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2010, 03:18:39 pm »
Critical Thinking and (Imma gonna beat this one into the ground) Media Literacy (TV, print, social media, etc.)

Both are skills and concepts both sides of the spectrum would embrace if you pitch it correctly.  And I agree critical thinking should be there from K to 12. 
Cynicism is a blank check for failure.

LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom™
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87066
  • 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 #44 on: July 23, 2010, 03:31:45 pm »
Sadly, I just realized that "Critical Thinking Class" should really be called "Raising Your Kids Right."



Apologies for not giving credit to my dad, who got did it the right way.  Also, shame on me for farming out to the public school system that which should be done at home.