An interesting article on civics education, or lack of it, from Alfie Kohen.
However, more interesting to me is the lawsuit, which I should probably research more. I’ve wondered for a while why there haven’t been more lawsuits against the education system? Not that I want or like them. But more of a case that there is so much obvious damage to kids, why isn’t the government being sued (more often)?
Of course, I don’t really want lawsuits, and in the UK lawsuits aren’t really as common as in the US. And I would fear that every day good people would end up getting harmed.
Some years ago, a group of teachers from Florida traveled to what was then the U.S.S.R. to exchange information and ideas with their Russian-speaking counterparts. What the Soviet teachers most wanted from their guests was guidance on setting up and running democratic schools. Their questions on this topic were based on the assumption that a country like the United States, where the idea of democracy is constantly invoked, surely must involve children in meaningful decision-making from their earliest years.
The irony is enough to make us wince. As numerous empirical investigations have confirmed, students from kindergarten to college are rarely permitted to shape their own education. Indeed, most American schools employ an assortment of rewards and punishments to make sure they do exactly what they’re told.
That story about the Soviet teachers came to mind recently when I read that a federal lawsuit was filed charging the state of Rhode Island with failing to provide students “a meaningful opportunity to obtain an education adequate to prepare them to be capable citizens.” The obvious question: What exactly does that last phrase mean?https://www.alfiekohn.org/article/civics/