The immigration debate has featured numerous appeals to uphold America’s traditional values. But here’s a problem: young people aren’t being taught about those traditional values in school. So what are these values pols are calling upon in an effort to pass legislation?
Christina Hoff Sommers calls for the restoration of American history and civics to the curriculum in a must-read piece in The American:
Herein lies a paradox: supporters of the DREAM Act — which would give high-performing children of undocumented immigrants an opportunity to attend college — defend it as the highest expression of Americans traditions. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan urges its passage as a means of giving “hard-working, patriotic, young people a shot at the American Dream.” But once in college, these very same students may well enroll in courses that treat the American Dream as an illusion at best and a nightmare at worst.
I am not suggesting we return to a time when our past was whitewashed and presented in a naïve or jingoistic way. But all students need instruction that acquaints them with the key figures, events, and doctrines that make up our collective identity. And that instruction should foster understanding, pride in country, and civic attachment. Our national sins should be frankly acknowledged, but the grandeur of the American experiment must shine through. This is simply not happening today.
Many in the education establishment recoil at the idea of reviving a patriotic curriculum and do all they can to thwart it. Should members of the House or Senate try to address the blight of civic illiteracy, they will meet ferocious opposition. ut they should know that there is at least equal strength on the other, less vocal, side. Dozens of established, mainstream civic education groups could provide leadership and concrete guidance on how to restore the nation’s history and civics curriculum.
Read the entire piece.