Civic Education In America Essay

805 words - 4 pages

“In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education,” President Obama said in his 2010 State of the Union Address. A public university is so named because the benefits of higher education not only better the individual student, but better society as a whole as well. Through public research that influences social change, civic education and promoting ‘public good,’ public universities benefit society as well as students.
Part of the shared value higher education creates for all is the ‘engine of social change’ described on page 9 of Lagemann and Lewis’ What is College For? This ‘engine’ of people that become more productive because of a college education ...view middle of the document...

When one looks at problems such as poverty and homelessness, different majors and courses of study can all benefit from examining the roots of problems, as well as measuring and tracking issues throughout time and throughout the community.
One central purpose of higher education—civic education specifically—has all but disappeared, Lagemann and Lewis argue. Civic education is one of the main purposes of higher education, in that civic education prepares students, “to become competent citizens, domestically and globally,” Lagemann and Lewis, 12. Issues that face the world today—climate change, food shortages, energy supply—challenge higher education to evolve and adapt, but the authors argue that we have stopped teaching students to do just that. There has been a failure to learn about and analyze the U.S. Constitution, among other important aspects of American history, which address basic tenants of American democracy such as freedom, social justice, fairness and equality, as, “many college students would have trouble passing the U.S. Naturalization Exam,” Lagemann and Lewis, 11. The reason for this decline seems to stem from a fear of appearing politically biased, either for the liberal left or conservative right. Though the idea of reforming civic education may prompt discussion that brings up controversial issues, colleges and universities need to begin a dialogue about what needs to be done. ...

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