RealClear American Civics: “The Importance of Civic Education in a Creedal Nation”
By Mike Sabo
In recent months, Mike Sabo at RealClear Public Affairs has been highlighting civic institutions that are working to instill a solid understanding of American civics among students and teachers, including the James Madison Program at Princeton University. The Civic Institutions Series features several programs that have partnered in some way with the Jack Miller Center in these pursuits – at the James Madison Program, JMC supports the Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship.
“Civic knowledge is an indispensable element of what it means to be a good American,” Princeton University professor Robert George maintains.
George’s paternal grandfather was an immigrant from Syria, and his maternal grandfather emigrated to America from southern Italy. His father fought in World War II, first in Normandy and Brittany and then in Germany and Austria. Despite their different life experiences, George says, they were bound together by their “allegiance to the principles of republican democracy as set forth in the Declaration and the Constitution.”
Citizens, however, can give their “allegiance to a set of principles as embodied in a constitutional order” only if they understand “those principles and that order.” George worries that too many younger Americans are “woefully ignorant not only of their national history but also of the principles and institutions of the American constitutional order,” a situation that suggests “a profound failing of civic education at every level.”…
Mike Sabo is the Editor at Real Clear Public Affairs’s American Civics portal. He is a graduate of the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College.
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