The New York State Bar Association says there has been “a shocking level of decline” in Americans’ understanding of democracy and its framework and is calling on state education leaders to renew emphasis on civics and put it on a par with math and science.
In a report, the association’s Law Youth and Citizenship Committee says social studies has become a “secondary curriculum” in schools.
“Children who are taught the fundamentals of democracy grow up to be more active and engaged adults,” said State Bar President David M. Schraver.
The committee cites a 2011 poll by the Brennan Center for Justice that found only 58 percent of New Yorkers could name either of the state’s two U.S. senators and that only two out of 10 respondents considered themselves very familiar with the U.S. Constitution.
Only three out of five knew that the legislative branch of government makes laws and a third did not know that the president is in charge of the executive branch.