With the school year either coming up or starting in many states, kids are preparing to learn a multitude of subjects: history, English, Math, and Science, to name a few.
One subject will be noticeably absent for some kids: Civics.
Civics, which is defined as “a social science dealing with the rights and duties of citizens,” can teach students about, among other things:
- The importance of voting;
- How to know who their representatives are;
- How they can be involved in the legislative process, by writing to their representatives about important issues (or calling their legislators);
- How people can use their representatives to solve a wide range of issues (provided the representative is responsive, of course);
- How to follow the affairs of the government in your city, state, and country.
Teaching kids about these things, and more, through a vibrant Civics curriculum, should be an absolute no-brainer. It promotes civic involvement and awareness of local affairs.
And yet, it seems like Civics education is often on the chopping block in school districts, states, and even federally.
When these cuts come to fruition, what this means is that many kids will grow into adults who are in grave danger of lacking awareness of the full extent of their rights and duties as citizens, ranging from voting rights to the right they have to push their representatives on major issues.
In short, hyperbolic as this may sound to some, cutting Civics is a form of voter suppression and a form of weakening our democracy. After all, if kids aren’t taught about who their representatives are, how will they know to vote for (or against) their representatives when they are adults? If kids don’t know that they can write to their representatives, what will keep a representative from going against the will of their residents, whether that will is spoken or unspoken? If kids aren’t taught how to follow government affairs, how can they cast an informed ballot when they’re adults?
For those of us who think that voter suppression and disenfranchisement starts at the age of 18, when a citizen can vote, think again. It starts when kids are taught minimal or no Civics. However, my readers (or at least readers who live in the United States) can play a role in stopping this—if you ever hear your government, whether it be your school district, your city, your state, or your country, considering cuts to Civics programs, contact your representatives and make it known just how important Civics truly is.
Please note that I will not publish a post next Tuesday, as it will be the Tuesday after Labor Day.
 Apparently, Civics was among Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s proposed budget cuts. I don’t know if this proposal saw the light of day, but the fact that Civics is so frequently on the chopping block, even at the federal level, should alarm proponents of Civics education: https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/04/03/special-olympics-funding-outcry-is-over-its-been-crickets-over-some-devoss-other-proposed-education-budget-cuts-think-civics-history-arts/?noredirect=on