Hans Zeiger in National Review: “How We Lost Our Civics Education — and How We Can Get It Back”
JMC president Hans Zeiger writes for National Review on passing the American political tradition on to the next generations:
The week of March 6 is Civic Learning Week, spearheaded by the civic-education network iCivics and marked by a gathering of civics educators and organizations in Washington, D.C. Not only is civics education a worthy cause — it is a critical one. Our nation depends on thoughtful and active citizenship for its very existence.
In a time when so much of our public discourse focuses on what divides us, it is worth remembering that we are all a part of the American political tradition. Left, right, and center — we would all do well to reflect on the tradition that makes us shareholders in a great, diverse, and idealistic nation, and why we should each do our part to keep this tradition alive through civic education. As a self-governing people, we must promulgate and reinforce the central ideas of America at every level of education and in every community.
Yet we have neglected civic education for a generation or more.
First, the progressive movement of the early 20th century challenged traditional American concepts of self-government. Instead, progressives celebrated the administrative state as a solution to the increasing complexity of society’s problems. Rather than solving problems through representative democracy, progressive leaders delegated problems to bureaucracies, and so there arose a professional expert class of civil servants. The knowledge of governing increasingly became a matter for specialized expertise…
Hans Zeiger is the president of the Jack Miller Center and comes to the organization with a background in state and local elected service, and has written and spoken extensively on topics related to American history and civics. Hans previously spent a decade in the Washington State legislature, including service as chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee and ranking member on the House Higher Education Committee. He gained a reputation as a bipartisan collaborator, being named by the National Institute for Civil Discourse as co-recipient of the Gabrielle Giffords Award for Civility in State Governance in 2015. Following his legislative service, Hans was a member of the County Council for Pierce County, Washington State’s second largest county.
Hans led the Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute from 2012 to 2020. He was an adjunct professor of political science at Seattle Pacific University. He was also a Leadership Fellow of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and a Rodel Fellow of the Aspen Institute.
He previously served as a public affairs officer in the Washington Air National Guard. He deployed in support of Operation ALLIES WELCOME, taking part in the resettlement of Afghan refugees in 2021.
Hans holds a bachelor’s degree from Hillsdale College and a master’s in public policy from Pepperdine University. He also studied American politics at Claremont Graduate University.
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