Heritage Survey Exposes Civics Education Crisis: Parents and Teachers Must Play Greater Role to Help Students Understand America’s Founding

Heritage Survey Exposes Civics Education Crisis: Parents and Teachers Must Play Greater Role to Help Students Understand America’s Founding

Jun 14, 2021 2 min read

WASHINGTONToday, The Heritage Foundation released a report exposing the dire state of civics education in American schools and the important role parents and teachers must play in strengthening civics curricula.

The survey, which examined responses of 1,003 teachers and 1,012 parents, comes as the radical left is forcing the discriminatory principles of critical race theory into students’ lesson plans under the guise of civics education.

The survey revealed that two-thirds of parents and nearly three-quarters of teachers share a strong desire to see greater emphasis on civics education. High school had the largest interest with 63% of parents and almost 74% of teachers saying civics education should be more emphasized.

Interest in civics education among parents has increased substantially over the past five years. However, only around one-third of each group are satisfied with the type content included in their schools’ civics education.

Finally, 79% of parents and 74% of teachers said that they would be open to spending more time with their children/students to ensure that they receive a civics education.

The survey results were first published in The Federalist.

Angela Sailor, Feulner Institute vice president and report co-author, said of the report:

“Heritage Foundation research, data, and analysis have found that parents are willing to help to improve the quality of civics education that their children receive, and to foster an appreciation for the nation’s founding principles, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

“Parents and teachers believe that students benefit from civics education that teaches them the core functions of government. Both parents and teachers agree that the most important function of civics in modern-day America is ‘practical information and guidance on how to carry out the duties of a citizen.’ Both groups also agree that civics curricula should focus primarily on ‘the rights and duties of citizenship’ rather than on critical race theory—the ideology that teaches that people are either oppressed or oppressors, depending on the color of their skin.

“Focusing on the pursuit of the truth in civics education and building a coalition of informed and involved parents offers a very promising road map to a flourishing civil society for all Americans.

In order to improve civics education and meet the needs of families, the report’s authors recommend specific actions that states should take, including:

  • Direct school districts to use civics and history materials that teach students the duties of informed citizenship;
  • Prohibit the application of critical race theory in public schools;
  • Allow alternative teacher certification;
  • Require public schools to make pre-K–12 materials publicly available; and
  • Create and expand education freedom.

Lindsey Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy and report co-author, said:

“Parents want access to education for their children that engages in the pursuit of truth, equipping them to be productive members of a free society. Educational institutions are increasingly tacking toward illiberal ideas and even putting into practice affinity groups, ‘equitable math,’ and spending on DEI consultants—extensions of critical race theory. Parents are longing for the opposite: civics education that teaches their children the rights and duties of citizenship and functions of government.

“Schools should recommit themselves to teaching history and civics that educates students on the duties of informed citizenship. They should also be maximally transparent to parents about the content taught between the four walls of the classroom. And most importantly, states should make sure every child can exercise education freedom, choosing a school or learning environment that is the right fit for them.”

Read the full report and survey results, HERE.

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