Common Core Does Not Help Civics Education

Photo Credit: Hayk Martirosyan

An article in the Los Angeles Times notes the decline of civics education and one of the primary causes but then misses the mark. 

Patrice Apodaca writing for The Times summarizes the problem:

One national study circulated at the time found that only 23% of eighth-graders were proficient or better in civics. According to another report, just 13% of high school seniors had a solid understanding of U.S. history, and less than half saw reason to become involved in state and local issues.

Ignorant, disinterested kids turn into adults who are equally apathetic. A 2016 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, for instance, found that only 26% of Americans can name all three branches of government — a significant decline from previous years.

She also notes that civics education is not just bad, but abysmal and she is right, it is. 

She reports that educators pin the blame on standardized testing:

Educators have blamed the decline in civics education largely to the outsized importance placed on standardized testing scores, which resulted in students being drilled in math and English while other subjects were given short shrift.

But then the wheels fall off the bus:

But with the change to Common Core State Standards underway, the time was seen as ripe for revamping civics instruction to align with the new emphasis on critical thinking over rote memorization.

Common Core doubles down on standardized testing and it is all part of the workforce development philosophy of education that emphasizes STEM above all else.

Let’s not pretend Common Core it in the slightest helpful in reestablishing civics education. 

I’ve stated this time and time again; you can’t think critically about a subject that you do not know. You need content, you need facts. Otherwise, you’ll crank out opinionated student activists who do not have a clue.

Because that’s what we need to keep our Republic.