The Importance Of Education In Education

Submitted By xxsharonx
Words: 2868
Pages: 12

Unless American citizens, educators, and public officials alike increase our appreciation of educating all children not merely for literacy, numeracy, economic productivity and academic excellence but also for the more inclusive goal of democratic citizenship, we will forsake the promise of American democracy before we even begin to try. (Gutmann 2000, 80)

Though the American public school system was built on the idea of bringing up students who will participate as citizens in a democratic society, both Damon (2001) and Gutmann (2000) recognize that today's young are lacking when it comes to civic participation. This is not to dismiss the many young people who take part in community service, sports and other extracurricular activities where they interact with their peers, but rather reflect on the fading or deteriorating sense of civic conviction and enthusiasm among younger generations. Because it is difficult to pin the blame on any single entity, Gutmann (2000) focuses on the role schools play in shaping the civic identities of their students. After all, 都chools cannot help but teach values, even if they do so unconsciously, by who teaches and is taught, what is included and excluded from the curriculum, and how students are taught inside and outside of the classroom(81). Thus, it is necessary for teachers, parents, and community members to take on the responsibilities of helping to define what a 田itizenis and encouraging youth to come together to make decisions that will ultimately benefit the society as a whole. The purpose of this paper is to examine how the 澱asicskills and values that both Damon and Gutmann claim students need to learn, will help them become citizens. In doing so, it will help me compare the definitions of and attitudes toward civic education of Damon (2001) and Gutmann (2000). Both authors agree that civic education can become a priority in schools with the help of teachers, parents, and community participation. And students, if given the opportunities and tools to express themselves, communicate, and appreciate their communities, can start defining and redefining citizenship for themselves. But what does it mean to be a citizen in a pluralistic society? Who gets to decide what values are legitimate? Is it safe to assume that all the adults in that community consider themselves as citizens and participate as well? If civic education is ultimately geared for students or non-adults, civic curriculum should focus on the shared values, opinions, and experiences of all students. There should also be a reciprocal exchange of knowledge about history, domestic and foreign affairs, and other pressing issues between adults and non-adults, taking into account the various class, race and ethnic backgrounds of all people, to reflect on the current state of their community. When taking the climate of today's youth and their concern for their own citizenship, Damon (2001) is disappointed to find that many young people are not very interested in the political arena or current events. 的n fact, many of today's young show little interest in civil life beyond the tight circles of their family and immediate friends. Their lack of interest in reflected in the sorry state of their knowledge(123). Though he has not lost complete hope, as he sees that many youth are involved in activities that require them to interact with others in religious or community service groups, Damon expresses concern for the trend among young people where they are continually disconnecting from each other despite their extracurriculars (124). Something is missing. Compared to the past generations of young people who marched, performed sit-ins, and protested for great causes and movements, Damon finds that today's youth are simply without passion for civic duty and politics. Damon suggests two reasons as to why this might be so. First, that students have not been exposed to the common values and morals of the