Civics is one of the most important subjects a young student can learn, although today’s youth are highly ignorant of it. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is championing a new educational program that could set an example for other states to follow to ensure that young people understand how their government works.
On July 18, Ron DeSantis announced the creation of three new “civics career academies” designed to help high school students develop skills that could prepare them to serve the public in government and other areas. During a press conference, he explained that, under this initiative, students “will be provided the knowledge base and the tools to potentially have a career in public service” with opportunities for apprenticeships and internships.
The governor continued:
“Someone that wants to go into local government and become, like, a county manager, people that wanna work in a state agency — you know, what kind of a foundation are they having? And this is really what we’re providing here: the ability for them to really excel. And, if you go through a lot of this [program] and you choose to do other stuff, this is still gonna be very helpful for what you’re gonna be doing.”
The courses taught at these academies would focus on “public service leadership, careers and communication, experiential learning, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities with local and state agencies, and a research seminar,” according to a press release.
If this plan works, it could result in a wave of young Floridians preparing for life in the public sector. Moreover, it would equip them with the knowledge to be productive citizens even if they decide not to enter politics.
Ron DeSantis Avoids Progressive Indoctrination
DeSantis is not the only politician highlighting the importance of children learning civics. Indeed, many have lamented the reality that schools no longer teach the subject in a way that enables kids to grow in understanding of the American system of government.
Lawmakers from both parties have touted the Civics Secures Democracy Act (CSDA) as a way to promote civics education in public K-12 schools. If passed, it would provide funding for a civics curriculum in the country’s learning institutions. However, some have raised concerns about the measure, arguing that it would only result in students becoming further indoctrinated in progressive ideology on race, gender, and sexuality.
Liberty Nation’s Dave Patterson warned that “[w]hat may seem like a good initiative to bring a foundational understanding of US history and civics back into the classrooms, CSDA [may turn] out to be liberal progressives’ trap to push their agenda. Particularly prominent in the CSDA is the word ‘underserved,’ as in, for a state to be eligible for the pot of grant money the CSDA is offering, a state grant request must include ‘plans to address civics and history achievement gaps among the traditionally underserved students.’”
The concern is not unfounded. The Biden administration has repeatedly suggested that more of this material should be required in K-12 schools and argued that the works of progressive authors Ibram X. Kendi and Nicole Hannah-Jones, who created the controversial 1619 Project, should be included in school curricula.
Nevertheless, civics remains a problem among America’s students. The Nation’s Report Card showed that only a quarter of students are “at or above” proficiency in the subject. The University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center conducted a study in 2021 that found only 56% of Americans can name all three branches of government. This is an increase from 2006, when only 33% could do the same – but the numbers are still abysmal. Perhaps Florida’s initiative might offer a template for other states that want to increase knowledge about the government in schools without pushing for more progressive indoctrination.