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Raising the Bar for Civic Education

A new book, “Trendsetting Charter Schools,” edited by AEI’s Gary Schmitt and Cheryl Miller, makes the case that at a time of dwindling civic engagement and low voter turnout, teaching good citizenship is even more crucial. Rediscovering the civic mission of schooling is not at odds with the broader education reform movement, they explain. Rather, education reform can, and should, advocate for a more holistic vision, one which includes a robust citizenship curriculum that prepares students to be active participants in their communities and country.

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David Brooks on Walter Berns “Making Patriots”

Reviewing the late Walter Berns’s 2001 book, “Making Patriots” in the May 21, 2001 issue of the Weekly Standard, David Brooks commented that Berns wrestled with the problems of patriotism with wisdom and a penetrating insight. In examining and answering these challenges, Walter Berns, Brooks noted, “has done his part to help us make patriots.”

This is a vital task, Brooks notes, because “Americans still love their country, but schools no longer set out to inculcate patriotism as they once did. Indeed, it’s not just schools. Across our society, patriotism is tongue-tied, and nationalism, after all the horrors of the twentieth century, is suspect. These days, in short, patriotism is a problem. Most people just find it easiest to avoid the whole issue. They may stand at the playing of the national anthem, and they may tear up during the Olympics, but they store their patriotic emotions in the attic of their hearts. “

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The Effect of Education’s Decline on Civic Culture

In the Wall Street Journal, CUNY professor Jonathan Jacobs argues that American education does not adequately prepare students for responsible civic life, raising questions for the future of American democracy.

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AEI event watch

Here are some upcoming AEI events in the Washington, D.C. area that might be of interest to our citizenship readers. Hope to see you there!

  •  “The Story of ain’t: America and its language.”
  • “Have we become a nation of takers?” Debate between Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI, and William A. Galston, the Brookings Institution.
  • “What will the 2012 election mean for education?”
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    The relationship school

    In last Friday’s New York Times, columnist David Brooks profiled the New American Academy, a public elementary school in Brooklyn that opened in the fall of 2010.

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