If schools exist to train citizens—and not just future employees—then advocates of civics reform have a point: Many schools aren’t doing their job.
As the first section of the Civics Learning Act of 2021 points out, only a third of Americans can even identify the three branches of government. While STEM gets a yearly $50 per student from the federal government, civics education gets only 5 cents. The Civics Learning Act is supposed to address that funding gap by directing grant money toward “innovative civics learning and teaching.” But you don’t have to read any fine print to know that the bill doesn’t deliver on its promise—it’s enough to read the bill’s text. Instead of training students for citizenship, the bill would work to