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Wed Dec 28, 2011, 05:57 AM

Only 1 in 3 American adults can name all three branches of government... [View all]

Sandra Day O'Connor promotes civics education
Retired U.S. Supreme Court justice helped initiate an online program called iCivics because not enough Americans know how government works.

By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

December 27, 2011
Only about a third of American adults can name all three branches of government, and a third can't name any. Fewer than a third of eighth graders could identify the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence.

This slim knowledge of civics and the potential risk it poses to American democracy captured the attention of retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

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O'Connor launched the effort that became iCivics in 2006, the year she retired from the court. It initially focused on the judicial branch alone, but "it became apparent pretty quickly it was needed across the board," she said.

"It's very disturbing," said O'Connor, 81, the first woman to serve on the nation's highest court. "I want to educate several generations of young people so we won't have the lack of public knowledge we have today."

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-civics-20111227,0,3247832.story


I think we need to redo the entire educational system and put civics/ethics/history on par with math and the three R's...it's an outrage that new citizens are frankly better educated in this subject than the majority of American citizens. I often run across people who put on the pretense of knowing the issues, but in actuality have very little idea how the government actually works beyond perhaps some sloganeering (Tea Party, Ron Paul people, I'm looking at you), and it's frightening how self-assured they can be. I think the propagation of general hostility towards the political superstructure of this country doesn't help; it just seems to make people more pessimistic and self-assured in their prejudice. What behaviors do you see this ignorance expressing itself in?

Teachers what do you think? Why are we failing so badly? How does this influence American life? How can we change the trend?

For the record, the three branches of government are the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial.

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