Posted: September 23rd, 2020

Civic Education in Public High Schools

The impact of low civic knowledge is evident in the American context through issues such as low participation during elections and minimal trust towards political leadership. Civic education is the study about concepts which make up democratic nations including government structure, responsibilities and rights and public engagement methods. The knowledge helps people to know ways through which they can ensure a democratic government through interventions and assessing the delivery of democracy. Civic knowledge, as a result, is essential in American society to maintain the democratic culture that defines and sustains the nation. The low participation and lack of trust in the administration, however, reveals ignorance and lack of information on citizens’ rights and responsibilities towards a democratic government among adults. There tends to be a low level of foundation about citizenship during individual development that would have led to a lifestyle of responsible individuals towards a democratic government. Students should be entitled to learn their fundamental rights and responsibilities in school before they reach adulthood to strengthen the culture of citizenship.

The value of civic knowledge among students is to help them make their political environment and national better and get the utility of their education and work later in life. Although knowledge of rights and responsibilities applies to adults, students need the same in their life while working on getting value for their education. Civil knowledge helps in the control of government’s actions towards the public, including issues such as taxation, and development of other policies on areas, for instance, employment. Such power is essential to make employees get the right share of salary, and utilize the same in a conducive environment where there are peace and security. A democratic nation provides people to access opportunities based on their qualifications and rights. Such a neutral country allows people to leap from their education through employment and entrepreneurship. Education on fundamental rights and responsibilities is, therefore, important among students to help them guard their opportunities in future towards utilizing their academic skills and knowledge.

Civic education teaches about the rights and responsibilities of a citizen needed to develop civic virtues. People develop a sense of making their nation or community better when they have ethics, especially towards their duties.  Ethics serves as a driving force to act independently without coercion or external motivation. At the community level, such ethics results from socialization as children grow and participate in social activities.  However, the current community cannot teach civic virtues. Most adults are busy with their life assuming their citizenship responsibilities.  Furthermore, the limited exercise of individual rights and duties creates an environment with a low impact on children towards civic virtues. Education provides a rich environment where children can acquire civic virtues. A subject-based on legal rights and responsibilities can equip children with civic virtues similar to ethics in other professional courses like nursing.

Although there are opportunities to teach civic virtues through education, some people might argue that schools approach to learning cannot accommodate the development of such values. Schools serve as an environment for learners to equip themselves with skills for personal support in the work environment. Learners are focused on passing exams and gaining abilities essential in the work environment. Civic education among students, therefore, cannot impact virtues as learners will be focused on passing the subject to better their grade.

Parents and the general public, on the other hand, neglect the issue of education on legal knowledge among learners arguing priority on academics and immaturity of their child on civil rights. Politically related issues do not serve children’s needs and only waste their time and energy. There are so many skills for students to get such that addition of civic education which they can learn through news, constitution and parents is a burden.  Parents furthermore are children advocates hence responsible for civil rights on behalf of their children.  The argument, however, does not consider children’s future application of legal rights and limited opportunities to learn them at adulthood.

The argument that civic education among students is a burden and cannot meet the goal of imparting virtues of citizenship fails to contemplate that schools are based on moral alongside academic purpose. Although each subject and unit aims at imparting specific skills and knowledge to employ in the work environment, the curriculum takes care of individual development, especially on morals. Subjects like environmental science do not only teach how leaners can conserve the environment but also the need for the same. Through conscience and pedagogy approaches which combines real-life examples, learners develop a moral sense about their life. Civic education would work in the same way impacting knowledge and virtues at the same time.

In conclusion, education on fundamental rights and responsibilities among students is essential in developing a conducive nation to utilize their academic knowledge and skills. Civic education helps learners to fight for a country that serves interest and community needs, such as proper policies on employment. Such an environment is appropriate to utilize other academic knowledge and live well. However, it is not possible to get the civic virtues for fighting a democracy country during adulthood or within the community. The community members are limited in virtues and neglect the topic, failing to provide a conducive learning environment. Schools are based on moral principles that can equip students with civic knowledge and virtues.

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