303 Comments

Been saying this for a long time - You should contact Richard Dreyfuss, the actor, as he has been pushing for reinstating civics in the public schools. You might be a good pair to push this.

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Sep 30, 2023·edited Sep 30, 2023

Let's take this a step further. A 40 hour week and taking care of the family, home business, and a coffee break once a year with a friend is about all that can fit into a 24 hour day.

I love this post but let's have a 4 day week for 40 hour pay (see studies) because quite frankly - it's not easy to get to a government meeting. Work place shift schedules etc. We need to time to participate too.

We had a government class in high school. We had it in college. It was a general class but we needed a lab to get down into the nitty gritty. How to actually pass a bill. Its not easy.

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I have long been pushing for a 30-hour week, ever since they said in the 1970s that we were headed that way. Although that did happen to some extent in Europe, along with lots more vacation, leave time & holidays (they have 2-3 times the holidays in Europe & Asia as we do), worktime for Americans actually increased since then.

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We don't come close to the many benefits Europeans enjoy as a virtue of being citizens. How do we get people to understand the higher (and more equitable) taxes yields a return that not only likely saves you money over a lifetime, but gives you the time to enjoy it?

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Great question! It's very hard to do when 1 party constantly says any taxes are bad, especially those on big business, & the other party, except for a few individuals (most notably Warren), gives very little pushback, because they're both heavily influenced by billionaire & corporate donors.

Michael Moore made a really good documentary showing the much more financially equitable societies with much greater people power & far more vacation & leave time & shorter work weeks in European countries than in the US & how much healthier & happier they are.

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Recently, they did large scale studies to prove it increase profitability. We are going to have to push harder...

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Yes, I've seen such studies. Better rested, people come to work fresher, sharper, more energetic, spirited & focused, & are therefore more productive & efficient.

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it's not rocket science. It is sad we need a study to prove something so obvious, isn't it?

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We have to do something. We are destroying our natural resources and that's not just trees - it's people too.

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Yep, I am a editor and former high school English teacher and would love to edit

anything on behalf of civics education. Mary Jane

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Kids need to know what life was like before democracy was implemented, so, some accurate history would be in order. Then maybe teach how nice things would be if it was fair and equatable (although we are moving away from equatable).

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AN editor . . . and a proofreader, too!

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Power Corrupts,

Did you get my email? MJ

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Best of luck, he's one of my heroes.

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Education is the key to maintaining our liberty. Hopefully, live-long learning will be a result of that basic education.

I benefited from being drafted into the USMC, 1969-71. I learned from fellow Marines that educational opportunities were not equal. 2 Marines with HS diplomas from schools in Florida could not even spell basic words, like Love, and I assisted them in writing letters home. What a wake up for me!

please fully fund Public Education, and stop funding alternate private 'schools' with tax payers money.

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Yes!! Public Schools and Public Education need so desperately to be revived!!

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"2 Marines with HS diplomas from schools in Florida could not even spell basic words, like Love....."

They should not have been drafted. Post Vietmam, I worked at a transfer point, usually processing medical discharges. No soldier was supposed to be illiterate, and we issued discharges to people who had a less than 80 military IQ.

We did have Project 100,000, also known as McNamara's 100,000, McNamara's Folly, McNamara's Morons, and McNamara's Misfits, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_100,000.

When in Vietnam, we were assigned "duty soldiers" who did not have a military occupational skill, and who we did not trust with weapons and would not go to the field on operations, couldn't do guard duty, etc. We hired Vietnamese to clean and perform menial tasks at our basecamp. Our duty soldiers were limited to permanent KP.

"Civics." By the time I was drafted I had HS "Problems of Democracy" where we learned comparative football systems. Even the girls in my class could spot a wide tackle six, a Penn State 4x 4 and knew rhe intracasies of the Syracuse offense that used an unbalanced line, with the "belly series" of options. I also had ROTC where I learned about the "domoino theory" that got us into Vietnam.

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A sad reflection, Daniel. But since you have a degree in Law and a lifelong career in the Legal Profession you obviously knew more than football moves (interesting though they are) It is still sad that like me you had to learn REAL civics outside of school. As I've said before my father told me how fascism works when I was 6, I've never forgotten that lesson.

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My father gave us required reading, especially "Main Currents in American Thought," Vernon L. Parrington, and stuff like Sandberg's "Lincoln."

I didn't go to law school until after I'd tried a lot of other stuff.... Combat engineer. I was a TA., taught "Bonehead English" and a law course for undergraduates when I was in law school.

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Your father sounds much like mine. Dad figured I was never too young to learn.

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even the girls. Imagine that!

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No girls played football...all boys had it in gym, starting in elementay school. Until Title IX, virtually no girls' sports.

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"They must learn about our history of racism and of genocide — not, as Republican governors and legislatures across America have charged, in order to be ashamed of America — but to be aware of the moral challenges America has faced."

The only SHAME to be faced should be that of the GOP and their utter destruction of the Common Good.

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and misogyny

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Actually you could make a virtually endless list of things the GOP should be ashamed about.

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“A republican form of government, without intelligence in the people,” he wrote, “must be, on a vast scale, what a mad-house, without superintendent or keepers…”

That explains our republican majority in the House.

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With the Freedumb Caucus being the true "lunatics in charge".

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Jan ; and it is a questionable majority, too! Gerrymandering , the Electoral College and 'members' of Congress like George Santos. And he is probably not the only one who was helped into his seat by the dirty money! Is it a real majority? Especially with McCarthy making deals to 'water down' his authority to extremists? Working for tfg?

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Santosis certainly not the only one. That LUNAtic from Florida, aka "the female Santos" because she got into power by likewise dramatically misrepresenting herself, who'll do anything to serve her masters Gaetz, Trump & Putin, has been a leading force behind the government shutdown as well as the weaponization of government against congressional Democrats & Biden administration officials.

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Your comment about Republicans in the House doesn't hold up. They are not without intelligence. Those who vote Democratic and elect city, state, and federal leaders year after year who then reduce the Common Good are my choice of citizens "without intelligence". Such as those of you who elect leaders in Chicago, Philadelphia, or San Francisco. This won't change because as Stewart Varney has said, "It hasn't gotten bad enough yet."

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Crime rates are higher, much higher, on average, in red states.The most dangerous state in the US is Alaska, having the highest combined violent and property crime rate out of any state. Out of a population of 736,081, Alaska's crime rate was 32.14 per 1,000 people in 2022, making it the state with the highest crime rate.

When you go to San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, check out the proportion of homeless from Alaska.

E.G. murder. The Red State murder gap crossed the threshold of 40% in 2019, when murder rates in Trump states were 44% higher than Biden states, before receding slightly to 43% in 2020. Over the period studied, murder rates jumped 39.4% in Trump-voting states (6.35 murders/100,000 population in 2000 to 8.84/100,000 in 2020). https://www.thirdway.org/report/the-two-decade-red-state-murder-problem#:~:text=The%20Red%20State%20murder%20gap%20crossed%20the%20threshold%20of%2040,8.84%2F100%2C000%20in%202020).

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/3274797-we-have-a-murder-problem-in-america-especially-in-red-states/

Aggravated assault is one of the most common types of crime in Alaska, with 4,222 incidents reported. Sexual assault is a major problem in Alaska, with over 1,132 incidents reported, which is among the highest in the nation.

Maine has the lowest crime rate in America, with around 1.3 crimes per 1000 people. Like Vermont, the majority of crime is related to property theft, and there are very few instances of violent crimes such as mugging, assault, or murder.

Maine has an extremely low risk of terrorist attacks, with no history of this type of attack. The state also has a low national disaster risk, but being on the coast, it can see the occasional storm and flooding.

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Yes. Ohio’s overall murder rate where moron Jim Jordan lives far exceeds NY city and Manhattan’s alone.

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Go ahead, look only at crime rates if you want. I am reflecting on the number of homicides, homelessness, retail robberies, etc. This leads to Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Houston, Los Angeles, Balitmore and more. Run by Democrats for decades, now with DA's put forth by George Soros and citizens who apparently believe these governments are the only solution. Most of them don't have a clue. Thinking city dwellers at all income levels are starting to vote with their feet.

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You drink the kool-aid.

The worst thing that happened re crime in the cities was the inability to charge criminals with illegal gun possession. Under Obama, crime in the cities dropped like a rock. Videos showed people carrying, and police will tell you that was the reason for the decline. Scalia's inability to read the first clause in the 2nd amendment is more a cause than anything else.

That George Soros BS is a call to antisemites to arms. Wear it proudly.

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Sorry Daniel, I predict you will go to your grave never having the satisfaction of Federal gun confiscation, and you may well be a victim of crime in the meantime.

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Not confiscation. Virually every cop I have ever met (and I'd bet a dollar to a donut I know more thaan you) agrees that every gun should be registered and a violation should be a crime.

Scalia admitted that gun ownership can be restricted. It's just that legislators have been cowed by gun manufacturers and the NRA. But those who drink the kool aie not open to reason.

I was in the field in 1967 in Vietnam when they tried to give us AR 15's to replace M-14s. No mind that they were defective. We caught "Confereates" stealing selector switches to use agains us in the coming race war at home. The highest and best use is combat. People should not be "free" to commit combat on someone else indiscrimainately. Manufactureres of combat weapons should be held to a strict liability standard when they sell it to the general public. The NRA forced the round peg in a square hole to block litigation.

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Maine is 1 of the few states I'd be interested in living in.

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A Pound of ignorance.

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I will match credentials with you any time you want.

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Facts - not credentials.

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Wait, I just read your prior posts. I am wrong and you are right. Only the market can fix our problem. And, we need aa authoritarian leader like Trump to make progress . The Constitution is in the way of scientific management practices. I humbly apologize for my impudence .

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I agree-

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Compulsory two year service after graduation (or dropping out of school) is a good idea. It would maturate the individual so he could make better life decisions. It could give them a choice: the military, a medical corps, the Peace Corps or other international organizations, Teacher Corp, the Red Cross or other disaster relief organizations, Habitat for Humanity, Forest fire prevention and suppression, or any number of organizations that exist for the common good. We need to do it, not for economic reasons, as we had to in the 30’s, but to strengthen both the participants and the country at the same time. We are floundering as a country, at odds with each other over everything. A common experience could bring us back to greatness.

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Agreed!!!

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I wonder if Dr. Reich suggested something like this to the Biden administration, they would listen & act on it. Reich has a lot of great ideas that you don't hear from others that I hope he is communicating to the political powers that be through any communication channels he may still have with them.

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I agree 95% except I would prefer non compulsory and also for a jobs program.

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Wow...How could I have just assumed that my children (now ages 39 to 48) had to take a civics or government course in high school. I know I did even in a private college prep academy and so did my husband. If this is the case across the country, no wonder our "participation" has decreased so drastically. Learning what it means to be a citizen not just a resident with privileges is essential!!!

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I had US government class in elementary school back in 1970, no civic in high school. I believe every high school student should have to take and pass the same test foreigners take to become a naturalize US citizen.

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And so should every election candidate: school board, town council, sheriff, anyone seeking election or appointment to a government position. If trump had been required to pass a rigorous (even an easy one😏)civics test, we would not have the MAGAt mess we have now.

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So can we get busy changing some laws? Like you can’t be mentally ill or guilty of crimes and trying to over throw the government and run for President?

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tRump is bottomlessly ignorant !

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I recently downloaded a copy of the citizenship exam and I would have a lot of research to do to pass. Should be a mandatory refresher for citizens

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I just had to text my kids to see...all 5 (Hartford, Wisconsin) said they did have courses. Now for the 4 grands who have graduated...one has reported back that yes she did (Walton, Florida).

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Also, in Israel the students are required to take civics and government courses in high school. As well as two years military service.

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Update: 2 other grands - one in Beaver Dam, WI, other in Juneau, WI

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I agree with all you state regarding education and service. There really is no way to preserve a democratic republic if the citizenry is ignorant at best or hostile to education at worst.

It will take a protracted effort to overcome our current polarization to make this all happen. The forces of fascism and white supremacy are terrified of legitimate civic education and of course an honest study of history. My hope is that we will stand up at the voting booth over the next few years and create the type of momentum that makes pursuing these goals possible.

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When I started college in '68, you went to get an EDUCATION. A foreign language was required. This is where students were exposed to ideas that they may not previously been exposed to. For me, in the "60's, there was a big switch away from a general education to that of one based on science and math so we could compete with the Commies. I took my first social science courses in college and it opened my mind to a whole new world. You would then go on to grad school the start to focus on your "career." Today, from what I see, you go to college to get a job ad make more $. Just look at what DeSantis has done to education in FL, especially at New College. I remember: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country." Sad days ahead, I'm afraid.

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One of the ironies of DeSantis's stances against real education is that he is a graduate of Yale and of Harvard Law School. Somewhere along the way, he taught at a prep school in Rome, Georgia, where he reportedly berated the students for their lack of rigor. Talk about twisted.

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What an evil asshole! I can believe his wife married him and had his children.

Lots of therapy in their future.

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Really? She's as bad, if not worse, than he is. She thinks of herself as Jackie Kennedy to his JFK.

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Sorry I meant can’t!

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The little man in Tallahassee took a wonderful school and trashed it!! I hate it for the students that loved New College and had to go elsewhere to finish their degrees!

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I live in Florida, where civics minded teachers have the "freedom" to leave the state.

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I started college in '63, dropped out, had kids, went back, and graduated in 1979. During that time, a year of "American History and Institutions" was required of college graduates. In fact, I think my daughter, who graduated from college in the early '90's, had to satisfy that requirement too. Usually it was a year of US History but it could be other classes too. But maybe that was just a California requirement.

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I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in History in 1986. I think it was near the very end of what used to be called a classic liberal arts education. At that time you were able to get an entry level job in a variety of industries because of the broad knowledge this type of education provided. Soon, the Business Schools began their ascent, and people stopped attending college to learn and expand their thinking and went for the learning. It became all about career preparation and less about education.

There isn't anything wrong with that, but it seems to me that these types of professional schools should exist at the graduate level. Of course, undergrads could take courses in preparation, just like they do for medicine and law, but also have a significant portion of their education in other areas.

I often think that in addition to increasing my knowledge of US History, with English close behind, the most important thing I took away from my undergrad experience was that I was taught how to think, not what to think. It has served me well.

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Well said. You have a 15 year update on what I said. It seems very few are interested in an "education." New College WAS trying to provide an "education" but DeSantis decided to end that.

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Ron deshitus is trying to make himself into a clone of 45 to pull from the base of magaidiot voters. In the process he is dragging FL down on so many levels. As an elder wise man commentator on 1 of our local channels reminds us gently & often..Floridians only have themselves to blame for electing him & the morally corrupt FL legislature.

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A STEM is not any good without the proper roots.

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Chauncy Gardener agreed: plant the roots deep.

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Well said!!!!

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Two years is not a lot to ask and two years fly by. We very much need to get back to being community minded and get out of our cult like ways.

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Two years after ten years on the job is good idea,too!

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I's a septuagenarian, educated in public schools. We took three years of mandatory Civics classes starting in 8th grade. I recall learning that Thomas Jefferson said "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." Today, the pubic school students in my city do not take a Civics class until their final year of high school. That's too late.

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Yes their minds have already left school and moved to whatever they think is their next venture.

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One of the main problems with the people who live within our boarders is they have lost touch with the reality of how this country operates. Without an understand of what make things work they have no idea of the difference between right and wrong. Example, Biden is correct Trump is wrong. A simple appraisal of what is dividing this country and our people. If our schools would teach its students the correct way this country works Trump would never have been elect in the first place. When you look in a mirror everything is in direct opposition to how we view ourselves. Trump is the mirror image of how this country views itself, everything the man stands for is the reverse of how we have grown accustomed to living. If students had been educate on how things should be they wouldn't have voted for a man that wants to burn it all down. To teach civics as a part of a normal secondary education is a must. The problems we are experiencing today could have been partially elevated by simply teaching our children the truth about how this country works. Bring back "Civics."

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At one point during the Republican debate Nikki Haley threw an insult at Vivek Ramaswamy. She told the out spoken Trump lover that because of what he just said she felt dumber because of it. That response was rehearsed and stored away in her repertoire of darts to be thrown at precisely the proper time in the direction of poor Ramaswamy. She doesn't possess the mental prowess to come up with a verbal assault off the cuff the way she did. It was so contrived the idea lost its sting the moment the thought left her lips. But that's Nikki Haley.

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Same with Chris Christie's "Donald Duck" & most of the rest of what they said (almost none of them answered the questions given them), but how did curtains enter the debate & become such a heated argument between Nikki Haley & Tim Scott? No practical ideas ever come from Republicans but I suppose their "debates" have some entertainment value.

Sadly the only winner of that debate was Trump. Their most decent (least indecent?) candidate, Will Hurd, hasn't made the cut because almost no Republican has the sense to support him, so the debates have been totally void of any reason.

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Jaime--The entire thing was a show that should have been shown.

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It started with Reagan and wasn't limited to civics.

Teaching was supposed to be my profession. I was lucky enough to attend and graduate from Boston University to become one.

I watched with what at the time was disbelief as Art, Music, Drama, and yes civics too virtually every class deemed " extracurricular" were whittled down to Math, Science, English, History and sports and no longer offered at all.

A tragedy of tremendous proportions that never received the pushback it should have gotten.

Now it's even worse as it's not just the creation of undereducated and well rounded and informed students but the actual indoctrination of lies about history and the ideology of white supremacy. That's why you have proud boys on the board of education in Florida.

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Sorry but John Silber was the DeSantis of his era. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Silber

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MLK went to BU

And so did AOC, Leonard Nimoy, and a score of others.

I received a stellar education there. Silber may have been the President of BU but not the President of the United States that gutted public education.

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Robert, Iove this idea. I've also thought that 2 years of service for young people would be what is needed. Like the military, young people could offer 2 years of service in many fields. Of course, they would receive training. This would be in many different fields in which they might be interested. Forestry, nursing, farming and land usage, overseas service, teaching in low income communities, and many others. The list of needs for service to mankind is endless. These young people would be provided housing and paid, just as a new military member going through boot camp. The training would likely be converted to college credits.

Now, for those who choose not to be subjected to this service, parents could pay to have their sons or daughters absolved. They would probably need to pay somewhere between 30 and 40 Thousand dollars, a year. I can hear the screams of UNFAIRNESS now.

A side light is that some fields might involve foreign travel. While I was in the military, I traveled to several countries. That is an experience that really opens one's eyes to the benefits we enjoy as Americans. And even in Europe where life is good, being in a country where the signs are in German or Japanese, or Thai, and distance is measured in kilometers is broading, to say the least.

The training to begin a young persons will also give them a start on beginning their careers. A short boot camp, classroom study, selection of a program, and the rules for their stay in the service would then lead to a specific training course. Much like the CCC my dad did in the late 1930s, this would be a great service to our country.

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Excellent insights throughout--all of which remind us that Americans’ understanding & protection of the common good are essential to the preservation of our democracy.

(Note: “high school degree” should be “high school diploma”; a “degree” is conferred only by a college or university.)

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Sounds like that kind of education - teaching tolerance and morality would lead to a lot more Democrats and a lot fewer Republicans! It's obvious why it's not supported by Washington.

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Educational policy is a local matter, which is why it varies so much from place to place. Under the George HW Bush administration, there was a big push to standardize instruction around a theory called cultural literacy promoted by E.D. Hirsch. A lot of money was spent, but my sense of it was that it was Eurocentric and somewhat elitist and never took hold.

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