Civics and politics have always been excluded from our edification, despite America’s efforts to epitomize democracy to the world. Yet politics are always the conversation of news and debate in America, so why is this not taught as a class?
In order for today’s younger generation to become active citizens, it is crucial that the youth knows about their boundaries and powers as citizens. If our only knowledge regarding civics is derived from the news, our perspectives will tend to be relatively biased and prejudiced towards certain political positions. In fact, detrimental effects to our society are directly correlated with a lack of educational efforts in civic learning. People who are uneducated in politics are often overzealous with their power in citizenship.
Civic learning in the classroom is not a new idea, but it has been an idea that has failed to be implemented in America’s education system, having been pushed aside by “standardized” classes like math and science. Although some students will not use knowledge from classes like math and science in their future, all individuals in America should learn how to actively participate. It is important that people know the context of civics and politics in America before they contribute. The better people understand the fundamental aspects of our government, the more likely people will actively participate as citizens with the necessary knowledge.
There are very few classes that teach civics and politics in the high school environment. One rigorous class that teaches politics and engages students in a governmental domain is a class called Government or AP U.S. Government and Politics. This college level class introduces key political concepts, interactions, and behaviors that characterize the constitutional system and political nature of the United States. Students who take AP Government gain better insight in their political positions and roles. I would strongly recommend that students take AP Government, especially in senior year, when students aren’t that cramped with Advanced Placement tests.
I asked my AP Government teacher, Daniel Loh, how the class alters students’ perspectives on political roles, and he said the change was substantial. Loh said that because students gain better insight into how the government works, they become wiser with their future vote and inspect the system more carefully. Additionally, Loh engages students in real life government practices. For example, he created the “Larchmont Star”, in which students run campaigns to get as many votes as possible. “By implementing actual practices in real life, students understand the many factors that are incorporated in the voting system,” said Loh.
It is crucial that students receive the necessary education of civics and politics. Without a class on this subject, students will not be able to understand how the foundation of America works. Understanding this basis is crucial to citizenship and an individual’s duty as an American.
Timothy Lee, Grade 11
Larchmont Charter High School