Students in Washington state get too little instruction on basic civics, from constitutional rights to how government functions.
…The notion that students should stand up for their weaker classmates, for the “outsiders,” harks back to democracy’s loftiest ideals, like equal justice under law, “e pluribus unum,” and “majority rule, minority rights.”…
Originally published Northwest Voices, Seattle Times Letters to the Editor on February 7, 2014 School bonds: School construction funded unfairly Posted by Letters Coordinator The article “Fast-growing school districts seek more money from voters” [Local News, Feb. 5] revealed that, next week, some of Washington’s richest school districts — like Bellevue and Lake Washington — […]
Education and nature are sacred in Washington. Yet when we build new schools, tens of thousands of trees on state trust lands are felled to fund their construction.
Seattle can do a better job developing engaged citizens by strengthening education in civics, according to guest columnists Web Hutchins and Judith Billings.
This year, educators and their fellow citizens celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ethereal “I Have a Dream” speech and his prophetic “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” The unbridled urgency of King’s passion for justice almost jumps from the page, transcending time and inspiring us today to build civically engaging schools for all our children.
As I read Frank D. LoMonte’s chilling Commentary about widespread censorship of high school journalists and newspapers (“A Muzzled Generation,” Feb. 6, 2013), I recalled U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis’ brilliant defense of free speech and dissent in his famous Whitney v. California (1927) opinion. Brandeis, fondly known as “the people’s judge,” was also an academic and he knew our profession well.
While race bias in schools is a persistent national scourge, we can thwart this problem where it lives — in the daily crucible of each classroom. Civics education is the silver bullet. It improves academic achievement for black students, minimizes unacceptable behavior and makes scarce ugly, racially charged conflict between students and teachers.
While it is unclear how many times a teenager can be forced to recite the checks and balances between the three branches of government before becoming comatose, it is crystal clear that such “lessons” still constitute the bulk of civics education in American classrooms.