We believe that the key to a better democracy is through educating people to be good citizens.
One of the things that makes a democratic government successful is accountability. The officials that people elect tend to perform better if they know that they will be held accountable for bad decisions and poor stewardship. Public records are a great mechanism for keeping government actions transparent. You can learn more by asking about public records at libraries. Information about government activities like spending, contractors and statistics are available to anyone that requests it. Individuals and the media can access government data to see how their representatives are performing. This helps voters choose better candidates in elections which results in improved governance.
Another key component to a successful democracy in America is to teach the ideals, values and history that formed the country and make it great. The current education system does a very poor job of teaching civics to its students. This is made clear by looking at how poorly high school graduates do on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration test. A recent Pew Research Center study found that only 4% of high school could pass the immigration exam.
An innovative way to address the lack of knowledge found in students is the Civics Education Initiative. It’s a proposed piece of legislation that would require high school seniors to take the same U.S. Citizenship and Immigration test that people wanting to become citizens need to pass. Some states are implementing the proposal as a way to improve civic education.
The Civics Education Initiative is just one idea among many on how to improve civics education in America. It’s clear that the education system has to do a better job of teaching civics if America hopes to have a great democracy in the future.