A Lesson in Civics

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

When it comes to understanding how are government works, our kids aren't prepared. That's the concern of many area teachers, so what can be done to improve the civic skills of our future leaders?

When it comes to understanding government our students are not stacking up. Roosevelt Principal Angela Carter says at least 30 Rockford students are in summer school for a second try at civics.

"I do think it's more of a struggle lately to pass those courses and I think it's because of lack of prep prior to taking those courses,” says Carter.

In a recently published article, Northern Illinois University professor Gary Glenn says the lack of education about our government is the greatest threat to our democracy.

“All of those that leads to disheartenment, disillusion, disconnection of people’s sentiments for those institutions; that can’t be a healthy thing in a democracy in a government that depends on public opinion,” says Gary Glenn.

Rockford students take U.S. History 1 in 8th grade, but most likely the next time they'll step into another history class will be junior year in high school, so teachers say they spend most of the time playing catchup.

"There are some schools that elect to have fresh take world history, world cultures and geography and at sophomore year and those students perform better," Carter.

Carter says exposing students to social studies before junior and senior year could be the right answer, but she also says teachers need to do a better job communicating the importance of our government to our future leaders.

Carter encourages us to write to the Illinois State Board of Education and to our legislatures asking them to improve on the civics skills required for students to graduate.


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