Sadly, what used to be considered a critically important subject in school, civics has been neglected of late. In 2018 it was reported that only one third of Americans could name the three branches of government. One third of Americans could not name a single one of the branches. Less than 20 percent of Americans are able to name a single justice of the United States Supreme Court. More sad than that, roughly 10 percent of college-educated people reportedly thought that Judge Judy was on the Supreme Court.
More than three-quarters of eighth graders are testing as less than proficient in civics, as reported by the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Core civic knowledge is woefully missing these days. Just 18 percent of four-year colleges require what is recognized as foundational course work in U.S. history or government. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni reports that at 70 percent of top colleges today, not even history majors are required to study any U.S. history.
More disappointing still, young students are being taught that the founders were bad men, that this country is not exceptional, and that they should be ashamed to call themselves American. Our "educators" are purposely leading students astray with these teachings. This is damaging in the extreme, and it must end. We must instruct properly if we are to avoid creating citizens who are more than willing to discard our founding principles.
The decline of instruction in American civics has definitely begun to erode our republic. A majority of college students now say that protecting free speech is less important than making people feel welcome on campus. The importance of the liberties upon which this nation was established? We spend little to no time instilling an understanding of just how important liberty is in all of our lives.
Ronald Reagan famously said in 1964 that "freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. ... It must be fought for, protected, and handed on." Reagan continued on to warn that it is possible that "one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
So what can be done to turn this situation around? Luckily, there are resouces available to help instruct people about the precious gift that is the great American experiment. Here are listed a few.
Civics, then, provides all of us with a core understanding about our system of governance. It is able to answer some key questions that everyone should be able to answer.
Here we note that there are four references to God in the Declaration of Independence: