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Two course that should be mandatory in high schools across the country.

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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:27 AM
Original message
Two course that should be mandatory in high schools across the country.
The first is Political Science or civics, is there a difference between the two correct me if there is , so many students have no clue how are government works or what the Constitution says or means. We need to educate students on the important of issues,voting, and how to seek out good factual information and not just whatever some pundit says is true. They should also be taught the basics of important legislation going though Congress.

The second is not as obvious,but I think it is very important. Philosophy, with an emphasis on logic and reason. When I was in high school (2004-2008) we were mostly taught to memorize facts and figures, but not really how to think critically about things and I think that is a huge problem when it comes to politics and life in general. I think if people are taught to think logically about issues it will open their eyes to ideas and solutions they never considered before.

What do you all think? Do you agree with these courses being added and are there any classes you think should be added?
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FSogol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. Our schools (VA) require VA/US History and VA/US Government for all 11-12 graders.
They are essentially a civics class. Philosophy is an elective in the IB program, but anyone can take it. Isn't some form of civics required everywhere?
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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Nope.
Not in Tennessee anyway. It isn't even offered in some schools here, I know it wasn't at my high school.
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The Philosopher Donating Member (621 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
3. I had government
in high school, but it was a half-semester deal. It shared the year with economics. At the time, I didn't care (it was my senior year), but now that I'm older it seems like I was screwed over. Two of the more important aspects of life are treated with less care than gym (which you need a full semester of--twice).

And I love philosophy. If I had discovered philosophy back in high school rather than in college, I would have had a more directed life. Philosophy not only teaches critical thinking (which could be taught in other fields, like literature or science), but also gives one a foundation to all the other fields, and isn't that what school really is? A foundation to the rest of your life, whatever you decide it will be--and whatever you decide it will be after you decide what it will be.



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howaboutme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
4. I agree
We need courses that stimulate both the need and desire for lifelong government involvement. I don't mean running for office or helping in elections but simply expressing a constituent opinion to their elected representatives. I know older Americans who never contact their elected officials. Even though they have opinions they lack confidence, desire, incentive, and a knowledge of this simple procedure. It would be good to have a case problem that requires every student to contact their various officials through email, phone, letter, etc if only to break the ice that they have this right and a democracy requires it.

Additionally we need a mixture of the theoretical, critical thinking and common sense
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Le Taz Hot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
5. Can I add a third?
American English. Just think if all graduating high school students knew that 2 does not equal to, too or two. Or that Ur does not equal your or you're. Of course, included in that would be the proper use of punctuation. Now, I know that these are "shortcuts" but when shortcuts substitute actual language and the user does not know the difference then it becomes a problem.. This at a time when virtually every European and Asian student is taught PROPER English. It's a New World Order boys and girls and either learn English (and preferably at least one other language) or clean their toilets. It's your choice.
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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. You make a good point.
Even I do it from time to time if I don't watch myself, because I text a lot so it is easy for me to type like that. Luckily for me, my best friend hates when people send him text messages like that, because he says it looks stupid so for his sake I type everything out which is good in the long run.
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howaboutme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. Society has unfortunately put a priority on "coolness" versus
doing it right. When did that philosophy begin? Was it Hollywood that changed us? Could be.

I would advise Americans to look back at old photos of small town America in the 1930-50s. If you take note the people were well dressed and physically fit and trim, versus today when they are fat, dressed like slobs and unmarried teens with kids out of wedlock don't give a s$%#. We were an affluent society then versus the poverty of today. It was different then and America was better for it.

We see ourselves as we think others see us. That has become a societal problem, like it or not.
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SecularMotion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
6. Money management
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 09:50 AM by SecularMotion
I agree with requiring basic civics and philosophy courses and would also suggest money management or a course in basic finances.
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Bigmack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:52 AM
Response to Original message
8. Most schools have the courses in Govt or civics ...
but by the time you go thru the history, background, the Constitution, Congress, the Presidency, the Court.... there's not much time to deal with the way the government really works. The kids have to know how it's supposed to work before they can understand how it has been subverted.

I taught it a few semesters, but hated it.... felt like I was an atheist teaching fundamentalist religion. I did my best... talked about the Court's political makup, the complete sellout by Congress to the corporations... etc , but it takes a lot more time than we could spend.

The biggest problem with Poli Sci or Philosophy or any of the "life" courses... shop, cooking, real sports that adults play...is that they're not part of the testing program. I worked with my (High School) youngest kids on math... in a history class, because they needed to pass the tests.
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mrcheerful Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Back in the day when I was in school, you know when folks did homework by candle light or the
light from the fireplace in the old log cabin, ok I'm not that old. Anyhow we had American history and civics showed how the 3 branches of government worked as well as their limits of power. Believe it or not for 3 days I had a running argument here on DU about how Obama can not just declare something he wants and it becomes law and Reid had no veto proof majority for 2 years, he had 58 D's and 2 I's. The media is partly to blame for this because they ran non stop about the power of the president, it was his fault alone, as well as blaming Pelosi and Reid for things not passing in the congress yet neither of them could pass bills alone, it was like the person didn't understand that 3 people don't rule 2 branches of government he claimed that they should have made R's filibuster the way they did on the movie "Mr. Smith goes to Washington".
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
10. All great suggestions. I wonder though if philosophy might not
backfire. It can easily be taught so that it is slanted to a particular view of life. The college I went to did that to an extent and I only added the other things because I was interested. We also do that in history/civics classes. My brother's high school teacher turned him into a rethug and he stayed that way for years. I finally got him to open his eyes by letting him read a biography of Harry S. Truman.
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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. That is a concern of mine, honestly though
I'm more scared of political science backfiring. I would hate to see what a right wing teacher could do with that class, the last thing we need are people being taught libertarianism in the classroom.
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nykym Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
12. Your post brought back memories of last years Meet the Teachers night
In my daughters History class the teacher asked all of us 'Rents, (about 12 parents)
What are the three branches of government?
I was shocked when I was the only one to answer, most of them were much younger than I.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 06:50 PM
Response to Original message
14. It isn't just having the courses... it is making them interesting and pertinent.
I was just talking with a young high school graduate about this last night, and he said he learned more from me than he did from his class.

I had the same trouble in school with history... it was taught so drily, and without any real correlation to current events.

I think some of these things can be done better.

In the meantime, we can all do our part to share some of this with young people, and in the process, forge some relationships and foster activism.

He just now informed me that he called Sen Reid's office last night, and also one of the Colorado Senators, and is going to share the information with his friends on facebook. THAT, to me, is more important, and I don't see those classes as promoting activism.

YMMV.
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