Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Far Right and Far Left agree

Far Left and Far Right agree

What do Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch agree on?  Turns out that as with Anton Scalia and RBG the right and the left can come together and even do!

This current issue is the almost complete absence of civic studies in our public schools.   Why is that?   One of the reasons that is often advanced for the provision of a free education at public expense is that a democracy depends on an educated electorate.  However, it turns out that as we have been spending  more and more time preparing for standardized testing in areas students will seldom use, we have squeezed out what they desperately need and that is an education in how our democracy works.  And what their responsibility is as a citizen in that democracy.

It is pretty sad that while we are testing our kids on algebra II, Justice Gorsuch said that only about 25% of Americans can name all three branches of government and 33% can’t name ANY branch of government.   And, showing the power of the media, 10% of those surveyed THOUGHT JUDGE JUDY WAS A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE!!!   I wonder how they did on their algebra test.  Justice Gorsuch has made a plea for civility, making appeals to decency and good faith in both his legal practice and when speaking in public forums.  He has demonstrated these behaviors since being appointed to the Bench.

Justice Sotomayor believes that it is well-documented that the shift toward science and technology has left out civics.   Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has made the teaching of civics a mission of hers since she left the Court in 2008.  She founded a non-profit iCivics that provides elementary and secondary schools with digital resources and lesson plans to cultivate citizenship responsibility. This past fall Justice O’Connor announced she was leaving public life due to a diagnosis of dementia.   Justice Sotomayor will be taking her place on the Foundation leadership.

Why are our school systems ignoring this pressing need to educate our children?   The extreme partisanship of today’s politics has made all of us vulnerable to lies and half-truths.   If we knew more about how our government was supposed to run perhaps we could recognize when politicians are working to make us dysfunctional.  If Justices Gorsuch and Sotomayer can get it, why can’t the rest of us.  Hopefully everyone exercised the most important lesson of civics- vote!

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