Bipartisan Agreement on Need for Greater Civics Education
Monday, September 18, 2023
Gov. Chris Sununu aims to inspire a revival of civics education nationwide as surveys show Americans lack a solid understanding of just how our government works.
The governor recently signed legislation prioritizing civics instruction, which has been shown to improve school climates, increase volunteerism and the likelihood students will become voters.
Maria Manus Painchaud, interim executive director of the nonprofit New Hampshire Civics, said a better understanding of democracy helps increase civility.
"Even if I don't necessarily agree with you when you have a different suggestion, maybe collaboratively we can come up with an even better solution," Painchaud emphasized.
Painchaud stressed parents are especially encouraged to take part in the governor's free public event tonight at the Audi in Concord, where he'll discuss ways to improve our overall civic health.
Most civics education disappeared from public schools as the "No Child Left Behind Act" turned the focus to STEM education. Decades later, a majority of Democrats and Republicans said reviving civics learning could help Americans learn to communicate again.
Painchaud argued at a cost of just five cents per student, civics is a wise investment.
"We are a very fortunate nation to be living in a democracy and have the freedoms that we have," Painchaud acknowledged. "But we also need to nurture, maintain and make sure that we sustain them."
Painchaud pointed out experiential learning such as mock debates or interacting with public officials all build important life skills, such as listening or creative problem-solving. She added not only does civics education promote better students, but better future employees and, most importantly, engaged and informed citizens.
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