To the Editor:
As suggested in a recent opinion column, current American politics has taught us we need a renewed emphasis on civics education in society, particularly our schools.
Webster’s defines civics education as the study of the theoretical, political and practical aspects of citizenship, as well as its rights and duties, including the study of civil law, civic codes and government. Civics is often included and described within the general category of social studies, but the importance of civics demands a renewed emphasis as a separate course in high school.
Our young people have a right to wonder and question if our democracy is working. They have witnessed Charlottesville, seen armed terrorists invade schools and places of worship, seen politicians evade responsibility, seen lies and blaming others, seen fearmongering and racism rather than honest debate. Yes, America remains a country of contradictions, inconsistencies and hard truths, challenging our democracy and our next generation.
The Center for American Progress reported only nine states require high school civics to graduate.
Locally, our Beaufort County School System is required to follow S.C. Code 43-234, which requires three units of social studies to earn a high school diploma. Civics education is imbedded within these three units but not necessarily taught as a separate course.
A local commitment to renewed civics education in our schools would remind us of our challenging historic commitment to equality, expressed in our Constitution. It would remind us that the Founding Fathers enshrined our freedoms in law, in order to build a democracy for all.