Our democracy is broken. But our young people can fix it. If we teach them how to participate.
One of the only premises that everyone in this country can agree on is that our political process is in serious disarray. Politicians seem more preoccupied with retaining their jobs than serving the public, and the public is checked out of politics. This leads to a vicious cycle- citizens are tuning out of politics, and therefore, politicians are dis-incentivized to work for the greater good.
At the same time, and not coincidentally, civics education is failing in this country for two reasons. Either:
The problem unfolds as follows
Citizens Do Not Participate in our Democracy:
Over 80 million eligible voters did not participate in the 2012 presidential elections (More people did not vote than voted for President Obama). Congress has a 12% approval rating.
Civics Education is Ineffective:
Either schools do not offer civics education, or it is done in a rote manner. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), American students test worse in civics and history than any other subject.
Inequalities Exist in Civics Education:
African-American and Hispanic students are far more likely to experience ineffective, heavily fact-based civics instruction that starts and ends inside the classroom, while their whiter, wealthier peers participate in service activities and in-class debates.