Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Global Civic Literacy

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the National Civic Literacy Board warn that American institutions of higher education are failing this country:

The report concludes with five recommendations aimed at improving undergraduate learning about America's history and institutions:

* improve the assessment of learning outcomes at the college and university level;
* increase the number of required history, political science, and economics courses;
* hold higher education more accountable to its mission and fundamental responsibility to prepare its students to be informed, engaged participants in a democratic republic;
* better inform students and their parents, public officials, and taxpayers of a given university's performance in teaching America's history and institutions; and
* build academic centers on campuses to encourage and support the restoration of teaching American history, political science, and economics.

The Institute's unabashed conservative agenda aside, many universities and colleges state civic engagement as part of their mission. I share the Institute's concern, but not in a way they would support. We need to stress civic education at the regional and global scales. The more traditional local/national framework is no longer sufficient for informed citizenship.

Locals deal with more and more issues of globalization, but their education did not prepare them for these problems. I'm less worried about students understanding American history than macroeconomics. I stress geopolitics and international law in my classroom, empowering students to make changes at the global level. I suspect regionalization would benefit from a similar type of restructuring, enabling citizens to leverage more powerful geographies.

1 comment:

John Morris said...

I did a post a ways back on my semi defuct rant blog a while back that I think relates.