Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Top 5 Reasons to Study Civics in U.S. Classrooms

In light of the recent election, many people are asking some very important questions about the U.S. government. Some of these include: what exactly is a democracy, and how is it different from other forms of government? What is the process for electing officials to various positions in the U.S. government? What rights does the U.S. Constitution give to U.S. citizens? As these questions abound amongst the voting population, as well as future voters, we can look to the subject of civics to give us the answers. Civics is the study of civic (i.e. of a city, citizens, or citizenship) affairs and the duties and rights of citizenship. In many educational systems, civics has been cut out of the curriculum, leaving these crucial questions abandoned. There are numerous reasons to study civics, but here we give you the top 5 reasons why this subject should be essential in U.S. classrooms across the nation. 

  1. It's important to know what your rights are as a U.S. citizen.
    Many students grow up never fully understanding what the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence really are, let alone what's contained in these all-important documents. While a brief outline of the formation of these writings may be covered in a U.S. History class, most of us only know about them on a surface level. Not only does an in-depth study of these papers that form our nation's beliefs instill gratitude at the freedom that our forefathers fought for, but it also can be extremely useful to know what rights you have as a citizen, such as freedom of speech, which will then impact the role you play in the nation. 

  2. Civics education assists you in determining what your duties are as a U.S. citizen.
    Everyone knows that being a citizen allows you certain inalienable rights, but did you know that as a citizen of the United States, you have specific responsibilities as well? Every citizen must pay taxes to keep up our roads, schools, and other public institutions. We must also obey the laws of our federal and local governments. If called upon, we must also serve as a juror to our peers on trial. The country is counting on you to participate in certain activities that keep the country moving, and it is important to know when and how you may be called upon to do so.

  3. Studying Civics helps you become an informed voter or future voter.
    Voting is one of the basic rights afforded to citizens of the United States. It is a liberty that many countries do not have, so you should take advantage of exercising this right. It is important to make decisions on what policies you agree or disagree with, and decide what stance you take on issues, so that when you head to the polls, you will be able to make educated choices on your ballot. Civics will outline different current issues that are the backbone of candidates' platforms, which in turn gives you a broad spectrum of how electing officials impacts the country, as well as show you how your vote matters. If you are not old enough to vote, it's never too early to start shaping your understanding of politics and making determinations on where you stand on crucial topics, so that you will be a well-informed voter when your turn comes!

  4. Decisions made by the government impact almost every area of life.
    Many economic, ecological, and social policies are created by the government. Once you understand which branches of government make decisions on these issues, and how they make decisions, you will then understand how to make your voice heard and shape the policy of the country to reflect your needs and the needs of those around you. If you see a problem in your community that you would like to help solve, it will be helpful to know which channels to go through in order to get effective results. 

  5. Grow the country by thinking freely!
    Knowing what the policies your governmental officials make actually mean, what the function of the branches of government is, and what the laws they implement mean for you is of the utmost importance. If you are fully aware of the effects the government has on your personal life, as well as the nation at large, you will know whether something is true or false when presented at a school debate, shown on political ads, and when reviewing platforms of candidates running for public office. You can also use the knowledge you gain to educate others on the important issues facing our country today. Teaching others what you know will start a chain reaction that can make a big difference in our nation!

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